Why this story matters:
Although RTVS has become an open battlefield, most of the journalists in question did not expect to be fired after writing an open letter. After all, they were among the most recognized faces of the channel.
For most of the past two years, the evening news on RTVS was considered the most dependable news source in Slovakia. Their editors would even give interviews on how to gain the trust of viewers.
However, a series of conflicts between journalists and the channel's management has stained this impeccable reputation.
When a new director was elected in June 2017, many experienced managers left the station. They were replaced by new managers, most notably Vahram Chuguryan and Petra Stano Maťašovská, who previously worked as spokespeople for state institutions. They are widely perceived as unprofessional by their staff.
Until recently, we Slovaks believed the main issue with our TV and radio outlets was the influence of powerful oligarchs. Now it seems as though the state itself has taken to meddling in what its citizens get to see and hear.
Details from the story:
- Four journalists were fired after they signed an open letter that expressed their concern about the channel's new management. Later, two more journalists left their jobs as a sign of protest.
- RTVS was able to fire so many journalists at once because many of them were not employed on long-term contracts. Even after years of working for RTVS, some had to sign a new contract every month.
- The parliamentary committee for culture and media will examine the case.
- RTVS's new head, Jaroslav Rezník, has yet to explain why so many journalists were made to leave.