Investigative journalist Tom Nicholson is arguing that a court’s decision to block publication of a book he was preparing about the Gorilla file has restricted his right to work. The claim is the basis of an appeal Nicholson has launched against a preliminary injunction issued by the Bratislava I District Court based on a motion by Jaroslav Haščák, a co-owner of the Penta financial group whose name features heavily in the file.
The Gorilla file is an as-yet unverified document which was published on the internet in December that purports to contain transcripts of conversations between politicians, senior state officials and businessmen, including Haščák, covertly recorded by the SIS intelligence agency in 2005-06 under the codename Gorilla. The conversations imply high-level political corruption during the second government of Mikuláš Dzurinda.
"If a court bans my book, they thus ban my main source of income, and this is anti-constitutional, as in line with the constitution everyone has a right to do some job," the investigative journalist said on Tuesday, March 20, as reported by the SITA newswire. Nicholson stated that the contents of his book do not interfere with Jaroslav Haščák's rights in any way. Bratislava I District Court judge Branislav Král decided to block publication of Nicholson’s book, which has yet to be completed or edited, by issuing a preliminary injunction based on a motion by Haščák. Several journalistic organisations have criticised the judge's decision, labelling it censorship. The judge has argued that it is not censorship, as under the present circumstances the right to protection of one’s person prevails over the right to provide information by publishing a book. Another Bratislava judge turned down a similar motion against the book's publication submitted by the owner of the apartment where the alleged participants in the conversations recorded in Gorilla were wiretapped by the secret service.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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22. Mar 2012 at 10:00