Bratislava sees thousands protest overhaul of national broadcaster

Thousands head to the streets in Bratislava to protest media overhaul
Thousands head to the streets in Bratislava to protest media overhaul Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with AP
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Bratislava sees thousands protest overhaul of national broadcaster.

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Thousands gathered in central Bratislava over the weekend to protest the overhaul of the nation's public broadcaster RTVS. Protesters fear that the reform will put the channel under governmental control.

The reform plan is to rename RTVS into STaR ("Slovak Television and Radio") and to dismiss most of its top management, including the head of the channel. A new boss is to be appointed by a council, elected partially by the Ministry of Culture and partially by the parliament, where the ruling coalition has the majority. 

People gather to take part in a protest against the government in Bratislava
People gather to take part in a protest against the government in BratislavaJaroslav Novak/Tlacova agentura SR

600 workers of RTVS signed a declaration against the reform.

According to protesters, this is a direct violation of EU law, namely the European Media Freedom Act of 2022, which demands the transparent and impartial appointment of public broadcasters' management and clearly prohibits to fire already appointed functioneers before the end of their term.

Michal Šimečka, leader of Progressive Slovakia (one of the parties who initiated the protests) claimed that this is exactly the way "all autocrats follow" and if Slovakia goes down this route, it will end up like Hungary, or even Belarus.

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