Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is demanding €33,000 in damages for a cartoon, which he says made fun of his serious health condition while also ridiculing him, the daily Sme reported. Sme published the cartoon by Martin Šútovec, alias Shooty, which features Fico and a physician who is checking the PM’s cervical spine problems. The x-rays show that Fico has no spine while the physician is telling him that he has only “phantom pains”.
The cartoon ran in July when Fico was having problems with his neck and spine and the cabinet office was secretive of his condition. Fico claims that the daily was making fun of his health condition. Fico said that a health condition must not be an object of fun.
Lawyers explained that the essence of any cartoon is that it is an exaggeration. Such libel suits are quite rare in the democratic world. “It is an absolute lack of understanding of the extent and content of freedom of speech and the right for information,” said lawyer Marek Benedikt.
The editor-in-chief of the daily, Matúš Kostolný, wrote in his editorial that “no one wishes the prime minister pains. Certainly there will be many who similarly feel that the picture has transgressed unwritten rules of good taste or appropriateness”. However, Kostolný said that not even the prime minister can ban making fun in the country, neither making fun of him. Sme
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
7. Sep 2009 at 14:00