On our last day in Bratislava, a few classmates ventured to RTVS (Radio and Television Slovakia) to speak with the director of news and sports, Lukáš Diko.
Diko was a journalism major at Comenius University in Bratislava and has been a professional journalist for the past sixteen years. Before taking his job with RTVS, Diko worked at places like SME, Slovakia’s largest newspaper, as well as BBC World News in London. Unlike many of his colleagues at RTVS, Diko is a “new journalist” in Slovakia, and has only been a journalist after the fall of Soviet rule.
RTVS, where Diko now works, is a public channel whose funds come primarily from licensing fees, advertising revenue and government spending. However, since licensing fees have not increased in the past ten years and the government has limited each show to seven minutes of advertising per day, Diko and RTVS are depending more and more on government funding.
Normally, you would expect this to put pressure on a journalist. Diko, however, does not feel that pressure.
Diko believes that under his direction, no journalist at RTVS will ever have to feel undue pressures from the government. If those in power have a problem with a reporter, Diko says that the reporter can always be brought to court under Slovakia’s criminal defamation laws.
Though many are critical of the criminal defamation law in Slovakia, Diko doesn’t see an issue. With so few cases brought against journalists in the past, and even fewer convictions that resulted in jail time, Diko says that this law cannot really hurt journalists so long as they adhere to ethical and professional standards.
The biggest issue Diko sees facing Slovakia’s media presently is that the younger journalists are not being educated properly, not taking responsibility for their mistakes and thus creating a mistrust between them and the public. In a perfect world, Diko believes that older journalists need to come to educate younger journalists and that younger journalists need to start running corrections for their mistakes. It should be noted that Diko is currently working on his Ph.D. in journalism so that he himself can teach the next generation of journalists.
After speaking with Diko, the team noted that as a new generation journalist, Diko sees many different issues with Slovakian journalism than old journalists do. While old journalists are stuck on criminal defamation laws and ownership issues, Diko is focusing on making ends meet financially as well as creating the next crop of ethical and professional Slovakian journalists.