The Journalist, TheDaily and Slovak Media
Part 1 of The Daily Diary editorials
It may come as a surprise to some, but I have worked in journalism in Slovakia for over 20 years. From early days compiling emerging markets digests for Reuters and other news outlets as Central Europe opened up, to investigative cases like exposing the morbid business of harvesting corpses for profit in Slovakia.
Sometimes in fear of repercussions and even my life, I would often wonder why I did it. Naturally, I knew why, and it was the same reason that led me to launch TheDaily news and information service 7 years ago, and keep it going without funding. I realised that after so many years in the country, I was in a position to raise awareness and maybe affect the society that my children were growing up in, by writing about local issues, scandals and community development.
Despite its recent hibernation, TheDaily.SK can now only be described as an iceberg, as it also became a contact point for other media from around the world, meaning much of its work remains unseen below the surface.
My experiences co-operating with Slovak media have not been the best, and I was abhorred at the conduct of journalists from a well-known tabloid, who firstly blackmailed us, failed to credit us in any way and then even slandered us and our partner, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington. I will go into the details of this story another time.
Thanks to my articles on UK Forced Adoptions, I was to be arrested if returning to the UK for contempt of court, after the Slovak Ministry of Interior conveyed the reporting ban to me from the UK court. The law in Britain prevents the media and families of social cases from speaking out, meaning many families have literally no voice when their children are unjustifiably taken away from them. Now a dubious business exists around the entire system, which should be reviewed immediately. This lack of voice saw over 900 comments pour in from families in the UK who had found a voice in TheDaily, but the reporting ban eventually forced me to remove their pleas for help and much of the articles’ contents. Again, what went on behind the scenes and what this led to is a story for another time.
Nowadays, most Slovak media are directly or indirectly owned by financial groups, which made an almost full sweep of Slovak media back in 2014. With so little independent media, the role of TheDaily.SK has become all the more poignant and it will continue to be entirely impartial and independent for that reason. The more people speak up, the more we can effect change for the better.