In connection with a libel dispute, Slovak state will have to pay nearly €30,000 to the Ringier Axel Springer Slovakia publishing house based on a decision by the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

Ringier Axel Springer contested two verdicts, the Pravda daily wrote January 8. The ECHR ruled that in these two cases, Slovak courts did not properly uphold the public interest balancing the newspaper Nový Čas’ right to freedom of expression against the claimants’ right to protection of privacy.

The cases included a story from October 2001 about a car accident in Svidník in which son of local district prosecutor died, when the driver was detained, the SITA newswire wrote. The newspaper published full name of the victim and the prosecutor and claimed that the prosecutor’s office and courts violate the driver’s rights as his file has been moved along the regional office. In 2003, the father of the victim, the prosecutor, filed a lawsuit involving protection of personal rights, winning damage compensation of €2,600. Ringier Axel Springer approached several courts, including the Constitutional Court, in vain. The ECHR opined that Slovak courts failed to assess the case in a wider cotnext.

The second case concerned a Nový Čas story on a contestant in a televised competition Milionár (Millionaire) which informed on police having launched investigation whether the contestant cheated via secret electronic devices. The Bratislava II District Court ordered the publisher to apologise and pay damage compensation of 50,000 Slovak crowns (about €1,450), according to SITA.

(Source: Pravda, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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