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Prosecution of journalists halted

The charges have been withdrawn against the editors of the Žurnál weekly for publishing a story that allegedly revealed classified military information, Martin Šesták, the weekly’s PR manager told the SITA newswire.

The charges have been withdrawn against the editors of the Žurnál weekly for publishing a story that allegedly revealed classified military information, Martin Šesták, the weekly’s PR manager told the SITA newswire.

Žurnál editor-in-chief Nora Slišková and editor Patrícia Durišková were charged on February 8 and could have faced 12 months in prison. But the prosecutor announced that putting them on trial after the National Security Office (NBÚ) had already fined them would constitute double jeopardy, which is forbidden by the Slovak Constitution. The prosecutor also said that the journalists had published the information out of concern for the public good, so prosecuting them would be an "insensitive intervention of state power in the freedom of speech and the press."

Miloš Nemeček, the head of the Association of Period Press Publishers, was pleased with the decision.

"If an editorial desk reveals a problem and maybe violates norms in doing so, there is still a higher principle," he said.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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