Bratislava, March 2 (CTK) – Reporters without Borders (RSF) Secretary General Christophe Deloire called today on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico to apologise for having offended journalists, daily Dennik N wrote after their meeting today, but Fico later dismissed such a call having been addressed to him.
Fico (Smer-Social Democracy) received Deloire, along with representatives of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, in the wake of last week’s murder of Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak.
Deloire called on Fico, on behalf of the RSF, to express regret and apologise for having repeatedly offended journalists in the past. He recommended that Fico defend the work of investigative journalists, Dennik N wrote.
“I am sorry about the contents of our meeting being misinterpreted. No call for [my] apology to journalists for statements addressed to them in the past was made at the meeting,” Fico said in a press release later today.
Fico’s relations with the media representatives have been tense for a long time.
In 2016, when the media wrote about a suspected overpricing of some of the events held within Slovakia’s EU presidency, Fico branded journalists dirty anti-Slovak prostitutes.
Flutura Kusari, from the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, asked whether the Slovak state had failed in a situation where Kuciak pointed to the threats addressed to him by a controversial Slovak entrepreneur.
Fico said the police had not assessed this as a real threat but as a rift between Kuciak and the entrepreneur.
Kuciak wrote on social networks last year that he had filed a criminal complaint against entrepreneur Marian Kocner and that not even after 44 days was the case assigned to a concrete police investigator to deal with.
After the murder of Kuciak, Kocner dismissed having threatened him.
The Government Office said after the meeting today that Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak informed Deloire, Kusari and the OSCE representative about the steps Bratislava has taken to clear up the murder of the journalist and his girlfriend, and that the Slovak police are cooperating on the investigation with foreign experts.
Fico has asked representatives of the journalists’ organisations to do their best to help clear up the case, the Government Office said.