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Fair-Play Alliance says its website is censored due to court ruling

The Fair-Play Alliance, a Slovak NGO focused on government accountability, announced that its website at znasichdani.sk was forced to remove information about companies represented by a certain person due to a court order, the TASR newswire reported. Zuzana Wienk, director of the NGO, said that a provisional ruling of the Bratislava II District Court obliged the NGO to remove information on the webpage but that the alliance had immediately appealed the ruling. The removal of the data was demanded in court by Jarmila Považanová, the statutory representative of the Strabag construction company. The court ruled that the website must remove all its data disclosing the total value of all public procurements of companies that Považanová represents or represented in the past. Wienk said that individual data are still available on the website, meaning that it takes only basic mathematics to calculate the total number for a company.

The Fair-Play Alliance, a Slovak NGO focused on government accountability, announced that its website at znasichdani.sk was forced to remove information about companies represented by a certain person due to a court order, the TASR newswire reported. Zuzana Wienk, director of the NGO, said that a provisional ruling of the Bratislava II District Court obliged the NGO to remove information on the webpage but that the alliance had immediately appealed the ruling.

The removal of the data was demanded in court by Jarmila Považanová, the statutory representative of the Strabag construction company. The court ruled that the website must remove all its data disclosing the total value of all public procurements of companies that Považanová represents or represented in the past. Wienk said that individual data are still available on the website, meaning that it takes only basic mathematics to calculate the total number for a company.

"It's the only possible modification that we were able to make. We can't erase the name and numbers included in the Business Register," said Michal Habala, one of the programmers working on the project.

The alliance considers the court ruling to be "an inappropriate and scandalous" encroachment on a fundamental human right – freedom of speech. Because the website only links two publicly available web registers, the alliance believes the provisional ruling violates the Slovak constitution and also inappropriately limits the right of web operators to disseminate information otherwise available that is disclosed by public offices as well as the right of the public to receive such information.

The znasichdani.sk project is built on automatic interlinks between public procurement bulletins and Slovakia’s Business Register, with no modifications or censorship of any of the data in those two public databases. The site, which was recently awarded the European prize for the best open-data application website in the public sphere, displays information about the principals in the companies that win public tenders.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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