Daily newspaper phones tapped - not Rusko

The Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) had not been tapping the phone of New Citizen's Alliance (ANO) leader Pavol Rusko, but the editorial office of daily SME, military prosecutor Dobroslav Trnka told daily SME. Early in January 2003, the tapping scandal made relations within the ruling coalition strained and resulted in the resignation of then SIS head Vladimir Mitro.

The prosecution does not know how long the editorial office had been under SIS watch or could tell who inserted the record of bugged phone conversation between SME reporter and Rusko to the Interior Ministry's electronic surveillance system.

The International Federation of Journalists' Renate Schroeder dubbed the SIS bugging SME phones "horrible and having nothing to do with democratic conditions. It is a step back to the past."

General Director of Petit Press publishing house Alexej Fulmek considers the SIS bugging phones of daily SME a serious intervention into the freedom and independence of journalists.

Compiled by Beáta Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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