Statement of investigace.cz: We protect our sources

At the end of October, the Czech Centre of Investigative Journalism published a recording originating from the private office of Slovakia’s former chief prosecutor Dobroslav Trnka. This recording proves that Trnka maintained a close relationship with alleged murderer Marián Kočner. Under threat of a €10 million fine, the Slovak Bureau for the Protection of Personal Data requested that Investigace.cz disclose the identity of our source.

The following is our statement responding to the Bureau’s request.

Today we received an official request from the Slovak Bureau for the Protection of Personal Data. They want to know who provided us with the video, which shows Marián Kočner planting a video camera in the private office of the then-chief prosecutor of Slovakia Dobroslav Trnka.

Video Shows Slovak Ex-Prosecutor Working With Alleged Murderer

They also want to know whether we have any additional recordings at our disposal and about their precise nature. The letter ends with a vague appeal for us to further disclose any evidence that could be related to the matter at hand.

The video recording in question was a topic of discussion among Investigace.cz editors for a long period of time, but the decision to publish it was conclusive. Publishing the video was a matter of public interest, and most certainly took priority over the protection of personal data of two individuals who had clearly crossed the line. 

One of these individuals is currently charged with the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová. The latter was accused of abuse of office pending further investigation.

Source protection is one of our chief principles of conduct. As journalists we are not only allowed, but even obliged by European law, to protect their identity. Even in the face of a significant €10 million fine. Even under the threat of imprisonment. And especially on the day that marks the beginning of the trial against those accused of Martina and Ján’s murder.

By editorial team of investigace.cz