A ruling by a Bratislava district court to block publication of a book about the Gorilla case written by journalist Tom Nicholson represents an inappropriate violation of freedom of speech and the constitutional rights of citizens, according to Peter Kunder of political ethics watchdog Fair-Play Alliance (AFP).
“In cases such as Gorilla, it’s journalists who play the key role, as many serious suspicions would never be investigated were it not for their unrestricted work,” he said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that the statements of people who enjoy better access to information due to their standing proves that the previous official investigation was not conducted thoroughly enough.
“It is only public interest that has revived the investigation and brought hope that, provided some information is corroborated, the investigative bodies can also secure evidence on criminal activity and press charges,” he added.
AFP said it believes that the court’s ruling may not only silence potential critics, but also sabotage the process of searching for the truth. Moreover, the bar on publication also resembles the way that the law is interpreted in dictatorial regimes, according to Kunder.
“We think that not only the potential prosecution of corrupt individuals but also the process of finding out the truth about the work of investigators and links between top politicians and businesses are so important socially that all the documents concerning the Gorilla case should be declassified,” Kunder added.
He also said that the authenticity of information does not depend on whether it is approved by state authorities or not.
“Courts examine the veracity of statements based on witness testimonies by citizens or documentary evidence, things which have nothing to do with the activities of state bodies, every day,” he said, as quoted by TASR, adding that the ruling by Judge Branislav Kráľ gives the impression that the state has established a monopoly on the truth.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
8. Feb 2012 at 10:00