Journalists quit in protest Slovak leading daily

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Journalists at a leading Slovak newspaper have quit to protest its proposed sale to a financial group accused of corruption.

Matus Kostolny, editor in chief of the SME daily, and his four deputies announced their decision Tuesday.

They say they cannot be certain of their journalistic freedom if Penta acquires a 50 percent stake in the paper's publisher, Petit Press, from German's Rheinisch-Bergische Verlagsgesellschaft. They also say the sale, which is seeking approval from Slovakia's anti-monopoly board, would damage the paper's credibility.

A file known as "Gorilla" — allegedly compiled by Slovakia's SIS spy agency — appeared on the Internet in 2011 suggesting that Penta had bribed government and opposition politicians in 2005-06 to win lucrative privatization deals.

Penta and the politicians denied wrongdoing, and no charges have been filed.