EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber strongly condemns the behaviour of the Slovak police towards Czech investigative journalist Pavla Holcová.

“I find it unacceptable that Slovak police require, under threat of a financial penalty, access to passwords revealing private and business conversations and mobile phone data that are not related to the subject matter of the police interrogation. The principle of protection of her sources and confidentiality is a key prerequisite for the free exercise of Pavla Holcová’s profession as a journalist,” said Manfred Weber.

“The outrageous procedure of the Slovak police is proof that the protection of journalists in the European Union deserves our utmost attention: we thought that after the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová the Slovak authorities would do the maximum to let journalists carry out their daily work and would see them as partners in the common goal of combatting corruption and crime. Unfortunately, today we see that, despite assurances from the Slovak government, the contrary happens,” highlighted Manfred Weber.

MEP and Head of the Slovak delegation to the EPP Group, Ivan Štefanec, considers this case a scandal and points to the fact that the Slovak police are still dominated by the same people who refused to protect the murdered journalist Ján Kuciak: “Requiring, under threat, passwords to a mobile phone from law-abiding citizens is simply illegal. In the case of journalists, that’s even more dangerous, especially when it comes to a person who is a member of the international journalists team that continues to carry out the unfinished work of Ján Kuciak. Facts speak for themselves – the Slovak government does not really want to restore citizens’ trust in the state and justice, it does the quite opposite,” concluded Ivan Štefanec.