The International Press Institute (IPI) today joined with its Slovakian Committee in condemning Friday’s raid on the offices of Czech Television in Prague by military police.
Czech daily newspaper Právo reported that masked military police carrying automatic weapons entered the station with a court order to secure a recently declassified document, and took away seven bags of documents and three computers.
IPI Vice Chairman and Slovakian Committee Board Member Pavol Múdry said Czech authorities had temporarily suspended the head of the military police following the raid, and had initiated an investigation into the raid.
He said military police had reportedly attempted to serve the court order earlier, but that Czech Television representatives declined to turn over the document or disclose their sources.
Commenting that IPI’s Slovakian Committee “wanted to support our Czech colleagues,” Múdry added: “Such conduct raises concerns about freedom of speech. One of the fundamental rights is the protection of journalists’ sources of information. Only [through such protection] can journalists control public power – including the armed forces. Slovakia IPI calls for an immediate examination procedure and for the punishment of persons responsible for this action, which borders on harassment of independent media.”
This press release is supported by the South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an IPI affiliate.
** PLEASE NOTE: In a statement dated 14 March, “IPI Condemns Slovak Military Police Raid on Czech Television Offices,” the International Press Institute (IPI) erroneously stated that Slovak military police raided offices of Czech Television in Bratislava. The raid in fact was staged by Czech military police on offices in Prague. IPI regrets this error. The corrected release is as follows: