International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says that hostile relations
between the Slovak government and some of the country's media may be about to
ease following a meeting in Bratislava
today between journalists' leaders and Prime Minister Robert Fico.
delegation of the Slovak Syndicate of Journalists led by Aidan White, IFJ General
Secretary and of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), pressed Mr Fico
to address the crisis facing journalism and to open up a new dialogue with
to suggestions that it was time for a change of approach, the Prime Minister offered
a new dialogue with journalists' leaders - particularly on how to change Slovakia's
controversial media law, which has been heavily criticised as potentially
damaging to press freedom.
was a doubly unprecedented event - the first time the Prime Minister has met
with journalists' leaders," said Aidan White, "and the opening of a new chapter
in relations between government and media."
the past three years Fico has fiercely attacked his media critics, accusing
them of being unprofessional or of representing only opposition opinion. He
told the delegation that negative reporting of the current economic crisis was
his major concern.
Prime Minister is not likely to tone down his criticism of journalists anytime
soon," said White. "But we made it clear that confrontational and intemperate
attacks create an intimidating atmosphere that makes it impossible to discuss
and resolve problems."
said that he shared the aspirations of the IFJ's Ethical Journalism Initiative,
which aims to strengthen quality in media and build new structures for dialogue
on the role of media in society.
Slovak Syndicate of Journalists aims to test his commitment to a new approach
in the coming months and will work with the IFJ and the EFJ and other national
journalists' groups in the region on actions to improve media quality.
White addressed a conference organised by the Slovak Syndicate on ethics in
journalism. He said that journalists should develop a new solidarity in the
face of the challenges posed by intolerant politicians, economic crisis and changes
in the media industry.
journalism is not a marginal concern in an over-connected, under-informed
world," he said. "When market forces or politics dictate what can be published,
when there is no time for analysis, when there is no real information, only sensation
and random facts, democracy becomes impoverished. Journalists need to build a
new solidarity built upon quality and high standards to answer this challenge."
For further information
contact IFJ on +32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 123 countries worldwide