Various organisations have spoken out against the decision of Bratislava District Court I to halt the publication of a book on the Gorilla affair by journalist Tom Nicholson.
The court issued a preliminary injunction against the book at the petition of partner in financial group Penta, Jaroslav Hascak, who figures prominently in the Gorilla reports, which allege corrupt ties between the financial group and top public figures.
Among others, political watchdog Fair-Play Alliance has also condemned the court ruling saying it is a violation of the freedom of speech and the constitutional rights of citizens. The watchdog also noted how the work of journalists is crucial to exposing and investigating cases like Gorilla, and so the court ruling could sabotage the whole process of trying to find out the truth. The alliance is also calling for all documents in the Gorilla case to be declassified.
Prime Minister Iveta Radicova also said the injunction is a violation of the freedom of speech. Radivoa explained that the book wasn’t a kind of Mein Kampf and so there is no reason for it not to be published.
Another key figure mentioned in the Gorilla reports is Zoltan Varga, whose flat was monitored for the alleged crony negotiations. He also filed to have the book halted at the same time, but the judge ruling on his case saw it differently from the judge in the case of Hascak. The judge in Hascak’s case was Branislav Kral, who also issued the highly controversial decision to get former President Michal Kovac to apologise to former head of secret service SIS, Ivan Lexa, who was accused of being involved in kidnapping the president’s son.