Health Ministry moves against disinformation

The website had recently “openly induced people to avoid and not follow” government-mandated measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

The Health Ministry has filed a complaint over a popular website spreading health disinformation and hoaxes about coronavirus as it warns of the urgency of combating fake news as a second wave of the pandemic hits the country.

Early this month the ministry filed a criminal complaint over the Bádateľ (Researcher) website, which, among others, falsely claimed that children’s health was being put at risk if they wore face masks at school.

Under current coronavirus restrictions all schoolchildren in the fifth to ninth grades of primary schools and all secondary school students are required to wear a face mask during lessons at school.

As the number of new [coronavirus] cases rises, this website is scaring people with fake news about mask-wearing that has repeatedly been debunked by our experts and doctors,” the health ministry said in a statement explaining its actions.

It added that the website had recently “openly induced people to avoid and not follow” government-mandated measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

It is not yet clear what action could be taken against Bádateľ or people involved in its production if evidence was found it had been spreading disinformation.

Suppressing disinformation

The complaint is the first the ministry has made against a disinformation website during the coronavirus crisis.

Ministry spokesperson Zuzana Eliášová explained that the ministry systematically monitors social networks to identify fake health news and then decides on what course of action to take.

Slovaks would be willing to give up freedoms for financial prosperity Read more 

“In most cases, we try to react by getting experts to explain [that this is] disinformation,” Eliášová told The Slovak Spectator.

But this case was different, she said.

“This case with Bádateľ shows that in extreme cases we are willing to take other steps and turn to the police.”

She added that keeping disinformation off the internet and helping people realise when they had come across fake news was an extremely urgent concern at the moment.

Communicating with Facebook

As the problem has become greater, the ministry has begun cooperation with Jakub Goda, a Slovak blogger who writes about hoaxes and disinformation.

An activist, he became well-known after writing for the disinformation website Hlavné správy under a false name so he could find out how such websites work.

“My task [at the ministry] has been to work out a plan for how the ministry should react to the fact that many people read - and trust - nonsense about health,” Goda told The Slovak Spectator.

The rest of this article is premium content at
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on and

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Theme: Hoax

Read more articles by the topic

Top stories

PM Matovič defends his wife, accused of preferential treatment

He calls the reports an attempt to discredit him. Opposition parties ask for documents proving his claims.

PM Igor Matovič at September 19 press conference.

Czechia neither red nor green, and leaks all over

Situation in Slovakia is getting worse, authorities start taking measures, albeit reluctantly. Next Generation EU plan leaks.

Entering Slovakia from the Czech Republic through the border crossing in Holíč, western Slovakia.

Extremists have swapped the threat of refugees for global microchip conspiracies

Marko Škop, an award-winning Slovak director based in Zagreb, talks about politics, coronavirus, and an earthquake.

Slovak director Marko Škop during an interview before the screening of his film 'Let There Be Light' at the 54th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on July 1, 2019.

The older the vine, the better the wine. How to keep an old vineyard alive

A group of friends has revitalised the Tále vineyard in Bratislava's Rača.

Vinica Tál wineyard