FORMER journalist of the Nový Čas tabloid daily – now a freelance journalist – Júlia Mikolášiková has been charged by the Bratislava police with the crime of libel, and now faces two to five years of prison depending on the type of libel the Sme daily reported on December 2.
Former police officer of the Office for Fight against Organised Crime (ÚBOK) Ivan Ševčík filed a criminal complaint against her for quoting some statements, made by Jozef Drag, who is connected with the “housing mafia”, during his trial, which were related to Ševčík. For example, Drag claimed that he was the agent of criminal intelligence and Ševčík knew about his role.
A journalist who now runs a blog under the pseudonym Piraňa [Piranha] considers the charge as unlawful and filed a complaint against it.
“Every citizen has the right to search, receive and spread information obtained at public sessions of state bodies,” Mikolášiková said, as quoted by Sme, adding that publisher bears the responsibility for the story as it decides about its publishing.
The International Press Institute considers the decision of police as another try of law enforcement authorities to intimidate journalists using “archaic libel legislation in the Criminal Act”.
“IPI Slovakia considers the criminal complaint and charging as another attempt by a public official to intimidate journalists and the media,” Pavol Múdry of IPI Slovakia told the press, “and thus discourage them from fulfilling their function of controlling public authorities and informing public about similar cases.”
Just a few days earlier, IPI together with the Public Affairs Institute (IVO) organised the discussion under the title “Media Freedom After 25 Years: We Need to Eliminate Legislative Obstacles” on November 25 pointing to debilitating libel lawsuits used to intimidate publishers.
Source: Sme, IPI
Compiled by Roman Cuprik from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
2. Dec 2014 at 10:00