POLICE have charged journalist Dušan Karolyi with libel for his story published in the Trend weekly in August 2013 about a former employee of the Office for the Fight Against Organised Crime (ÚBOK), Jaroslav Dujava, who allegedly abused his powers.
International media freedom watchdog International Press Institute (IPI) condemned the police’s decision, calling it another case of intimidating a journalist.
According to Karolyi, Dujava allegedly broke the law when using frivolous and excessive force to detain Alexander Ducár, one of the owners of Kompit, a company possessing lucrative real estate in Prešov. A police commando unit detained Ducár at noon and transported him across the whole city, which made it seem like the police had caught a high-ranking mafia member. Ducár allegedly ordered the beating of one of Kompit’s owners, but the investigation has never proved this, Karolyi wrote in Trend.
Karolyi pointed to the procrastination of the Prešov District Court, which has been dealing with the Dujava case since August 2005, when a prosecutor’s office filed a lawsuit against him. Due to its inactivity, Prešov District Court judge Marián Mačura cancelled the prosecution against Dujava and another three former police officers because the case is statute-barred.
“The case from Prešov shows the depth of the fall of the law enforceability [in Slovakia],” Karolyi wrote in August 2013.
Dujava filed a criminal complaint against an unknown offender for libel, even though the journalist had not used his full name, but an abbreviation: “Jaroslav D.”. The former police officer suffered social and career harm because of the story, according to the investigator of the Prešov police, Anton Marcinčin. For example, Saint Elizabeth’s Health and Social Work University in Bratislava did not prolong its contract with Dujava, wrote Medialne.sk, a media news site.
Karolyi filed a complaint against his prosecution; however, the district prossecutor office rejected it, claiming, among other things, that Dujava was not given enough room to comment on the case, according to Medialne.sk.
The IPI called the approach of law-enforcement bodies “absurd”, since police and the prosecutor’s office are prosecuting a journalist who pointed to the court’s failures, Pavol Múdry of IPI wrote in the institute’s statement.
The IPI sees such cases as an attempt to scare journalists and the media into avoiding reporting about such failures and expressed full support for Karolyi, according to Múdry.
8. Sep 2014 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff