Fair-play Watchdog Angered by Court ruling
The Fair-play Alliance (AFP) that set up a website showing people just how their taxes are being used, or rather abused, is infuriated at Monday’s ruling of the District Court of Bratislava II, which forced the NGO to remove certain information from its “from our taxes” website at www. znasichdani.sk
The court took the decision at the petition of private individual Jarmila Povazanova, but the ironic thing is that the very same information is publicly available on other websites. The AFP has appealed against the court’s decision.
Mrs Povazanova is a statutory representative of the large construction company Strabag, which did particularly well with contract awards under the former government of Robert Fico. The AFP now has to remove the financial totals of public procurement orders that were won by Strabag, and all other companies in which Povazanova is involved.
Head of AFP Zuzana Wienk referred to the court ruling as “scandalous” and violation of freedom of speech. The fact is, the znasichdani.sk website just automatically extracts information on public procurement and company details from other websites without changing anything. It is intended to show who the people are behind the companies that gain public orders, and recently won European prize for best open-data application website in the public sphere.
Despite the ruling, the individual figures are still shown on the website and so basic arithmetics will produce the totals. Even so, the AFP feels that the ruling is anti-constitutional as it limits the right of website operators to provide the public with comprehensive information that is otherwise available anyway.