04 Apr 2018

Journalists asked not to wear #ALLFORJAN badges on air

The editor in chief of the Slovak public broadcasting service RTVS asked reporters not to wear badges  as a show of support for their murdered colleague, Ján Kuciak.

Ria Gehrerová
Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia
Source: Denník N
Journalists asked not to wear #ALLFORJAN badges on air - NewsMavens
#All for Jan, Wikicommons.

Why this story matters:

Can a journalist wear a badge in support of Ján Kuciak on the evening news? By wearing it, are they showing their support for freedom of press, or are they showing their anger at the ruling party, Smer?

These are both valid questions to spark a debate, but the editor in chief of the pro-Smer broadcasting service RTVS, Vahram Chuguryan, has come to one-sided conclusion when it comes to his staff: they are not allowed to wear the badges, and if they do so it's to protest against the current government.

RTVS reporters responded by posting selfies with the badge on Facebook.

Chuguryan's answer was to remind his staff of the rule that stipulates that political symbols are forbidden on air, but his arguments fell on deaf ears.

For Slovak journalists, ALLFORJAN is more than a political symbol -- above all it is a show of solidarity. And, as the reporters forcefully pointed out to their boss, broadcasters are allowed to wear symbols showing support for social causes.

media, protests, politics

Details from the story:

  • Many Slovaks have started wearing badges with the hashtag #ALLFORJAN
  • The #ALLFORJAN hashtag was created by the reporters of Aktuality.sk, where murdered journalist Ján Kuciak worked.
  • Politics are a sensitive issue in public broadcasting. The head of RTVS is elected by the parliament and therefore by the ruling party or coalition.
  • The current director of RTVS is Jaroslav Rezník.
  • Prime minister Robert Fico has alluded to a conspiracy theory claiming that said the badges appeared "too fast" after Kuciak's death, and that they had been prepared in advance as as a plot against Smer, his party. 
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