Home Featured Slovakia’s Fico plots to dismantle the free press – POLITICO
Slovakia’s Fico plots to dismantle the free press – POLITICO

Slovakia’s Fico plots to dismantle the free press – POLITICO

by host

Shortly after beginning his fourth term as prime minister last fall, Fico and his government ceased communicating with four respected independent media outlets that he deemed “hostile,” including TV Markíza — the nation’s most-watched station, with a 27 percent market share — as well as the dailies Denník N and SME and the news site Aktuality.

Fico’s return to power has been accompanied by “an open assault on independent media,” according to Matúš Kostolný, editor-in-chief of Denník N.

“Since the first day after the election he has attacked journalists, calling us rats … Fico has always attacked journalists, but now he is taking an even harder line, calling us his enemies and committing the entire government to doing the same,” Kostolný said.

In 2018, investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová were murdered, | Vladimir Simicek/AFP via Getty Images

In 2018, investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová were murdered, sparking the largest protests in the country since the 1989 fall of the Communist regime and leading to Fico’s resignation as PM, mid-way through his third term.

According to Kostolný, the tragedy has steeled Slovakia’s journalists to fight state oppression all the harder.

“Slovakia still has plenty of independent media and courageous journalists, but Fico is trying very hard to silence them and intimidate them,” Kostolný said. “Having had the experience we did in the 1990s under [then Prime Minister Vladimír] Mečiar, I believe we’re better prepared now than our colleagues in Hungary, for example.”

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