Slovak Media Fears Government Crackdown After PM Assassination Attempt

By Jose Resurreccion

May 17, 2024 04:43 AM EDT

Slovak Media Fears Government Crackdown After PM Assassination Attempt
Newly elected President of Slovakia, Peter Pellegrini speaks to the media in front of the Faculty Hospital and a clinic of F. D. Roosevelt while being watched by numerous police guards on May 16, 2024 in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia. On Wednesday, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot outside a building in the town of Handlova, where he had been attending government meetings. PM was admitted to the Faculty Hospital and a clinic of F. D. Roosevelt in the town of Banska Bystrica.
(Photo : Zuzana Gogova/Getty Images)

In the aftermath of the assassination attempt of Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, journalists in the country expressed concern over the prospect of a government crackdown on independent media, which could possibly result in a further polarization in Slovak society. 

The Guardian reported that senior politicians from Fico's ruling coalition, including interior minister Matuš Šutaj-Eštok, Smer Party MP and deputy parliament speaker Ľuboš Blaha and Slovak National Party leader Andrej Danko, accused independent media and opposition lawmakers for the assassination attempt. 

It was previously reported that Fico was in a serious condition after he was shot in the town of Handlova earlier this week. 

The Associated Press quoted Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalina when he told reporters Thursday (May 16) that Fico was expected to survive. 

On the other hand, President-elect Peter Pellegrini called Slovaks to unite amid the very deep political division the country experienced in recent months.

READ NEXT: Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico Shot Multiple Times in Assassination Attempt

Push to Replace Slovak Television and Radio 

Media freedom has been a hot-button topic in Slovakia in the past few weeks since Fico proposed to replace the country's current public broadcaster RTVS. 

According to a report by Politico a few weeks ago, the proposed replacement called the Slovak Television and Radio (STVR) would become what the Slovak government called a "state institution," which could be equated into a state-owned media outlet due to the government's oversight over the hiring of the channel's senior executives. 

In response to the proposal, local journalists and senior editors feared that it would undermine media freedom, civil society, and the opposition parties, especially after the assassination attempt. 

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