14 July 2003

Alert

Newspaper subjected to illegal telephone surveillance


Incident details

newspaper(s)

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is an IPI letter to President Rudolf Schuster:

H. E. Rudolf Schuster
President
Kancelária prezidenta SR
Hodzovo nám. 1
P.O. Box 128
810 00 Bratislava 1
Slovak Republic

Fax: + 421 2 5441 7010

Vienna, 14 July 2003

Your Excellency,

The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives, and leading journalists from over 115 countries, strongly condemns the illegal telephone surveillance at the editorial desk of SME daily.

According to the information provided to IPI, military prosecutor Dobroslav Trnka officially announced that SME daily editorial offices had been wiretapped. Illegal recordings from the wiretapping systems of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) were discovered at the Interior Ministry. Investigators found out that the SME phone number was illegally recorded in the SIS system without the approval of a judge. Although technical and personal measures, the military prosecutor suggested that this could occur again.

IPI believes tapping of phones without a court order represents undue harassment of the media and is an extra-judicial act, which violates Article 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms that states that "1) Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. 2) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

Furthermore, IPI believes that this action undermines the right of journalists to protect their confidential sources of information and seriously undermines the right to freely publish information.

IPI believes this action infringes on privacy and integrity. The intimidation contained in the knowledge or suspicion of illegal state phone-tapping of the media is a violation of everyone's right to "seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers" as guaranteed by Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

With the above in mind, we ask you to halt any further press freedom violations and invasions into the privacy of media and journalists. Furthermore, we ask that you stop any kind of harassment of journalists and ensure that the media are allowed to report freely.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Johann P. Fritz
Director

CC: Mikulás Dzurinda, Prime Minister
Milan Hanzel, Prosecutor General

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Similar appeals can be sent to:

H. E. Rudolf Schuster
President
Kancelária prezidenta SR
Hodzovo nám. 1
P.O. Box 128
810 00 Bratislava 1
Slovak Republic
Fax: + 421 2 5441 7010

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.



Source

International Press Institute
Spiegelgasse 2
1010 Vienna
Austria
ipi (@) freemedia.at
Fax:+43 1 5129014
Slovakia
 
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