News digest: Supreme Court's ruling on ex-special prosecutor

Finance Minister Matovič intends to restrict media freedom. Slovakia makes it to hockey quarter-finals in Finland.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Tuesday, May 24 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

Jailed and fined ex-special prosecutor

Dušan Kováčik, one of the most powerful persons in the state under successive Smer governments, is guilty of corruption and will serve a prison sentence.

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The Supreme Court has delivered a final verdict on the former special prosecutor. It found him guilty of accepting a hefty bribe for releasing the boss of an underworld group from prison, and for repeatedly leaking classified information and materials from the prosecutor's office. The court sent the former special prosecutor to prison for eight years, and ordered him to pay a fine of €100,000.

The Specialised Criminal Court originally sentenced Kováčik to 14 years in prison and forfeit of property.

Related: Politicians and Prosecutor General Maroš Žilinka's reactions to the ruling.

Matovič's attempt to restrict media freedom

While former prime minister Robert Fico called journalists "dirty anti-Slovak prostitutes", a "gang of Soros pigs", and an "organized criminal group", Finance Minister Igor Matovič once again exploited the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak in his recent verbal attack on a journalist.

This past Sunday, Matovič presented a proposal to the coalition council to interfere with media freedom. This could force the media to invite more extremists from the ĽSNS party, who have helped Matovič pass his anti-inflation package for families to the second reading in the parliament, to broadcast discussions.

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"Journalists are attacking me because I am not LGBTI (sic)," Matovič said on air on Rádio Expres on May 23. When asked whether he was afraid of the reaction by international organisations to his attacks on the media, he said he could not care less.


On to quarter-finals

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  • Parliament passed the inflation package, which includes higher child allowance and tax bonus, to its second reading. The proposal was supported by 82 of 133 MPs present. MPs for the OĽaNO, We Are Family and Marian Kotleba's ĽSNS extremist parties supported the proposal alongside the ĽSNS renegades around Štefan Kuffa. The coalition party SaS was against. Finance Minister Igor Matovič's package will require €1.2 billion a year if approved.
  • Slovakia should have enough natural gas in the coming winter season, said Economy Minister Richard Sulík (SaS) on TV Markíza's political talk show Na Telo Plus. Slovakia is currently working on Norwegian gas supplies. As much as a third of the gas could come from Northern Europe, he added.
  • The most listened-to radio station in Slovakia is Rádio Expres. Up to 34.1 percent of Slovaks listen to the station. Rádio Slovensko came second with 24.4 percent and Fun Radio with 22.9 percent came in third. (Median SK)
  • The Defence Ministry wants to reconstruct the Hviezda military hostel in Bratislava, also known as Kukurica. The reconstruction could be completed in 2025.
  • 2,125 Ukrainian refugees entered Slovakia at the Slovak-Ukrainian border on May 23, the Interior Ministry said.


President Čaputová admits to mistake

President Zuzana Čaputová bestowed state awards on three men in memoriam, only to apologise for doing so a few days later.

"There has been a mistake in the evaluation process. State awards should be bestowed on people whose stories must not leave any doubts on whether they served democracy," the office of the president wrote on May 18, with a pledge that the president would do her utmost not to repeat the controversy again.

The current controversy arose around the granting of the Order of Ľudovít Štúr 1st class in memoriam to Albert Púčik, Anton Tunega and Eduard Tesár, during the state awards ceremony on May 8. They were awarded "for exceptional contribution to democracy and its development, and for advancing human rights and freedoms". The three men were sentenced to death in totalitarian Czechoslovakia in 1951. They were found guilty of espionage.

Before that, however, Púčik, Tunega and Tesár were supporters of the wartime Nazi-allied Slovak state.

More on

NEWS Petrol tourism: Slovaks filled thousand-litre water tanks Read more  BUSINESS Ukrainians put on masks and try to trick artificial intelligence Read more  NEWS Slovakia expects sporadic monkeypox outbreaks Read more 

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