Slovakia's president-elect Zuzana Čaputová, pictured talking to the press outside a polling station in Pezinok on March 30. CPJ and other rights organizations are calling on the newly elected leader to ensure the safety of journalists. (AFP/Vladimir Simicek)

Calls for Slovakia's new president to respect press freedom

By Gulnoza Said/ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator on April 2, 2019 12:27 PM ET

CPJ and a coalition of eight other international press freedom groups today called on the newly elected president of Slovakia to respect press freedom and ensure the safety of journalists.

In a joint letter to president-elect Zuzana Čaputová, the advocacy organizations, led by the European Center for Press and Media Freedom, said they were confident that Slovakia will secure justice for the February 2018 murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak, whose alleged killers, including a mastermind, have been apprehended and are awaiting trial.

The letter called on Čaputová, a lawyer and anti-corruption civil rights activist who was elected Slovakia's first female president on March 30, to use her authority to ensure the safety of journalists in light of increasing rhetoric against the press, including verbal attacks by former Prime Minister Robert Fico.

It also asked that Čaputová not approve proposed amendments to the press code. CPJ has previously called on Slovak parliamentarians to drop the proposals, which would expand the right of reply mandate to include politicians and public officials, and could increase self-censorship.

Read the letter here.

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