Police Charge SME Journalist Over Harabinova’s Salary

Although Slovakia has definitely improved over the past year when it comes to freedom of the press, certain people with an influence can still harass and scare journalists, as was discovered once again by popular daily SME.

photo (c) The Daily

SME reporter Zuzana Petkova is being charged by the police after a complaint from controversial head of the Supreme Court, Stefan Harabin, who pressed charges merely because the journalist published the amount of his wife’s salary while she was working at the Ministry of Justice, which was controlled by her spouse at the time.

Petkova is being charged for unauthorised use of personal data of Harabin’s wife, Gabriela Harabinova, but she was only using information that the Ministry of Justice readily provided to her. The daily’s lawyer, Tomas Kamenec, is adamant that the Data Protection Act has not been violated, saying that the data “was published in the public interest”.

In a video response on SME’s internet site, Editor-in-chief Matus Kostolny explained that in a fair and democratic society a journalist cannot be punished just for doing their job. In any case, it should be the respective employee at the Ministry who released the details who should be charged.

Harabin subsequently issued a statement saying the charges against the journalist were absurd, and that liability falls to the Ministry of Justice. Justice minister Lucia Zitnanska says the whole affair has been absurd from the outset. The International Press Institute has called on Zitnanska and interior minister Daniel Lipsic to investigate the procedure employed by the police in the matter.

SME’s lawyer also noted how Harabin had issued an official statement from the Supreme Court’s press department, even though the issue is a private affair. The case will most likely evaporate into thin air with nobody being held accountable for the alleged breach, or for the botched procedure of the police.


  1. Sadly, as most expats I meet agree, Slovakia could be a great place, if it was not full of numbskull Slovaks ….no wonder ”Hungarian element” groan for the good old days .

    How can you claim these few rogues, ”tarnishing the image of a fine country”, when the very people that tarnish it are the Slovaks . ie. All Slovaks, that are the actually part of the political community&system and are all the ones that do not tackle the situation with no resolve ?

    The fact is the Slovak people in general are lazy to do anything to change matters here and just surrender to ‘the way it just is all is ” far too quickly .

    Slovakia, needs a real leader with resolve to take these ‘elements’ on , sadly he or she will never be Slovak , that is a contradiction of race !

  2. The legal system in Slovakia has never worked, and will never work until rogue elements within the judiciary are removed from their posts. The present situation is a disgrace, not just for Slovakia but for the whole European community. Foreign diplomats have long voiced concerns, which the British Justice Minister Ken Clarke endorsed when he visited Slovakia some time ago. Sadly there appears to be little resolve amongst the political community to tackle the situation. It’s so sad that such a motley band of individuals are allowed to run amok, tarnishing the image of a fine country.

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