Political vice tightens
The trial of those accused of murdering investigative reporter Ján Kuciak and his fiancée in 2018 began in January 2020 and two of the defendants, Miroslav Marček and Zoltán Andruskó, have already been found guilty. The investigation revealed a close link between Marian Kočner, the controversial businessman accused of masterminding Kuciak’s murder, and key political and judicial figures, including judges and the former prosecutor-general. Kočner also had around three dozen journalists placed under surveillance, using personal data from police databases.
Former Prime Minister Robert Fico, along with Luboš Blaha, who is one of his colleagues in the Smer-SD (now the second largest parliamentary party), and a number of other politicians often attack journalists verbally, using an anti-media rhetoric that is reproduced in certain media and, above all on websites specializing in disinformation. Slovak media that were previously owned by leading international media companies have been acquired by local oligarchs. In 2019, the biggest Slovak TV channel, Markiza, was bought by an investment group controlled by Petr Kellner, one of the wealthiest Czech businessmen. The independence and professionalism of the public radio and TV broadcaster RTVS has been questioned since several dozen of its journalists left in 2018 because the new management was close to the ultranationalist SNS party. They have been replaced by younger, less experienced journalists, some apparently sympathetic to SNS leader Andrej Danko.
35 in 2019
23.58 in 2019