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International Press Institute condemns surveillance of Slovak journalists

The International Press Institute (IPI) is calling on the Slovak authorities to look thoroughly into the alleged surveillance of Slovak journalists.

“The surveillance operation uncovered by the Slovak press is a serious breach of journalists’ rights, in particular journalists’ rights and duty to protect their sources,” said IPI deputy director Scott Griffen.

According to an investigation by the Slovak press, several people have been involved in monitoring journalists on the order of controversial businessman Marian Kočner, who distributed tasks to the group, and took care of the costs of the surveillance and decided where the information they gathered would be distributed.

In 2017 Mr Kočner stated that he was searching for dirt on Ján Kuciak and, although the journalist filed a criminal complaint, nothing happened. He was murdered one year later.

Kočner was last year charged with ordering the murder.

“This disturbing and unjustified invasion into journalists’ private lives in order to discredit them, represents an unacceptable attack on press freedom aimed at intimidating Slovakia’s critical, independent media into silence,” Mr Griffen added.