23 Aug 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 04 Apr 2018 n° 26/2018 Slovak Republic

Slovak Journalist Gets a Suspended Sentence for Defamation

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
On 15 March 2018, Slovak journalist Lukáš Milan was given a three-year suspended prison sentence and journalism ban following a conviction for criminal defamation. The charges were based on a 2015 article Milan wrote on the Slovak healthcare system for Plus 7 Dní weekly. The article examined alleged bribery on the part of Pavol Paška, a former speaker of the Slovak parliament and a prominent figure in the Smer party. Milan met with a young transport entrepreneur who claimed Paška had asked for bribes so that the entrepreneur could take on a blood plasma transport business for hospitals. The source’s claims are behind Paška’s libel case against Milan. The young entrepreneur has requested to remain anonymous in order to protect his business. He has not come forward to the authorities and Milan has refused to reveal his identity. Numerous international human rights bodies, including the U.N. Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights, have established that imprisonment – even in the form of a suspended sentence – is not a proportionate penalty for defamation. Moreover, Slovak law does not define “journalism” and the court has reportedly not provided further details about what the ban on practicing journalism entails.
State replies
04 Jul 2018
Statement of the Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the Council of Europe
23 Aug 2019
On 22 August 2019, the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) evaluated the effectiveness of the existing framework to prevent corruption in central government and law enforcement agencies and published a series of recommendations aimed at strengthening transparency, integrity and accountability in public life.
04 Apr 2018
OSCE media freedom representative calls on Slovakia to decriminalize defamation and respect journalists’ rights
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