Slovak journalists covering Brexit have been warned they are facing fines of €6,600 if the describe Britain as, well, Britain.
News outlets have already been reprimanded by a state agency charged with enforcing official country names in publications.
Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Authority in Bratislava said it has had dozens of messages from readers complaining.
A recent letter sent to all Slovak media outlets complained they had repeatedly broken the law by using the names Britain and Great Britain rather than United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“Our key goal is to raise awareness. We have never fined anyone in the past but we are ready to enforce the law,” the agency’s chief, Mária Fridrichová, said. The agency is using an obscure 1995 law passed when Slovakia became independent.
A list of official country names on the agency website shows that United Kingdom is permissible, as well as abbreviated names of other states such as Germany and Macedonia.
The British embassy said: “The embassy’s official logo says ‘British embassy Bratislava’ but we will comply with the Slovak law if required.”
Slovakia’s official name is the Slovak Republic but Slovakia is legal in published references.
Meanwhile, Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, has attacked journalists questioning him over public procurement rules calling them “dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes”.
Fico has a relationship with media reminiscent of that of President Trump’s …. and when asked about allegations over procurement he said: “Some of you are dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes, and I stand by my words. You don’t inform, you fight with the government.”