Slovak prime minister triumphs in libel dispute with publisher

Prime Minister Robert Fico on Tuesday, April 6, was awarded damages by the Bratislava IV District Court following protracted civil proceedings he had brought against Seven Plus s.r.o., the publisher of the Plus 7 Dní weekly, court officials reported.

Prime Minister Robert Fico on Tuesday, April 6, was awarded damages by the Bratislava IV District Court following protracted civil proceedings he had brought against Seven Plus s.r.o., the publisher of the Plus 7 Dní weekly, court officials reported.

The district court ordered Seven Plus s.r.o. to pay €66,387 in damages to Fico over an article entitled Kamufláž (Camouflage) that it published three years ago, in which it was reported that the prime minster had called reporters who had photographed his new car 'dirty scumbags'. Fico strenuously denied ever having used such words or having met the trial witnesses.

On Tuesday, the district court reconfirmed its March 20, 2008 judgment awarding €66,387 to Fico after it had been overturned by the appellate Regional Court on May 26, 2009. The appeal court ruled that Fico had failed to prove the defamatory nature of the article.

However, in late May 2009 the regional court did uphold that section of the district court judgment of 2008 which forced Plus Seven to apologise to Fico, saying that the magazine's reporters-witnesses failed to prove that the utterance was aimed at the reporters photographing Fico's new car. Fico's personal rights were therefore violated by the publication of false information, the TASR newswire wrote. Tuesday's ruling, reaffirming the libellous nature of the article, may again be appealed.

Source: TASR

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

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