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16 May, 2024 20:59

UK’s Sky News accused of ‘justifying’ Fico shooting

The outlet has been called out for saying the attempted assassination of Slovakia’s “pro-Russian” PM was “not surprising”
UK’s Sky News accused of ‘justifying’ Fico shooting

British broadcaster Sky News has drawn criticism for suggesting that Wednesday’s attempted assassination of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was to be expected, given the politician’s controversial views and “pro-Russian” stance.

“It’s worth thinking about who this individual is,” a Sky News anchor said of Fico shortly after he was critically wounded while greeting supporters in the small town of Handlova. Sky News military analyst Michael Clarke replied, “That would make sense. Slovakia is a very conflicted place at the moment.”

Clarke, who also works as a security adviser to UK lawmakers, went on to note that Fico had pushed for ending the Russia-Ukraine conflict, rather than continuing to send weapons to Kiev. “He’s become very pro-Russian over the years,” the analyst said. “One wonders why and how, but maybe that’s his conviction.”

In fact, Clarke claimed, Fico and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban “dig their toes in against aid to Ukraine or against any sort of sympathy with Kiev.” He added, “That’s very divisive in Slovakia. It’s divisive within the EU, so it’s not surprising that this sort of event might take place because it’s a very unhappy country at the moment, Slovakia.”

The suspected shooter – identified in media reports as 71-year-old Slovakian man Juraj Cintula – is a fierce critic of Fico’s Ukraine policies, Bratislava’s interior minister said on Thursday. Fico won a third term as PM last year, after campaigning on a promise to push for forging a peace deal in Ukraine and halting arms shipments.

Independent journalist and RT contributor Glenn Greenwald blasted Sky News for its reporting on the attempted assassination. “Not only do they come close to justifying it because he opposes aid to Ukraine, but they also casually imply that he’s being paid by the Kremlin,” he said. “This casual accusation is so prevalent in the West, and toxic.”

Norwegian author and political scientist Glenn Diesen agreed, saying, “Sky News gets as close as they can to legitimize” the attack. “The media becomes more vile every day in their mission to fuel the war enthusiasm and smear anyone calling for a return to diplomacy and negotiations.”

Sky News was not alone in its unsympathetic tone regarding the shooting victim, UK podcast host Brendan O’Neill wrote on Thursday in The Spectator. “Across the broadcast media, there was a palpable coldness in the coverage of the Fico shooting,” he said. “The BBC has been at pains to remind us that Fico is ‘divisive.’ Aren’t all politicians, by their nature, divisive, in that they divide public opinion? Even the ‘nice,’ anti-populist politicos no doubt preferred by BBC and Sky types get some people’s backs up.”

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