Slovakian PM disputes apology request from media watchdog

March 3, 2018

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, right, gives a media statement, with Minister of Interior Robert Kalinak, left, after a silent protest march in memory of murdered journalist Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova in Bratislava, Slovakia on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. Investigative journalist Kuciak was shot dead in Slovakia last week while working on a story about the activities of Italian mafia in Slovakia and their alleged links to people close to Prime Minister Robert Fico. (AP Photo/Bundas Engler)

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia’s prime minister has denied being asked by the head of Reporters Without Borders to apologize for his insults of journalists.

Prime Minister Robert Fico is known for numerous attacks on the media.

Reporters Without Borders chief Christophe Deloire met with Fico in Bratislava on Friday, days after Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova were shot dead. Afterward, Deloire said he told Fico “you should express regret and apologize for having insulted journalists on several occasions.”

Fico on Friday denied that any such request was made.

Deloire told The Associated Press “I’m really surprised, because I said it twice during the meeting without any ambiguity. He perfectly understood. The second time he answered ‘I will consider this.’”

Deloire said other media watchdogs at the meeting can confirm the comments.

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