Czech journalist in hot water after hiding phone under Slovak PM's desk

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A curious case of eavesdropping emerged from neighbouring Slovakia on Thursday after a Czech journalist working for a Slovak magazine was accused of trying to bug cabinet meetings. The journalist, Vaclav Nekvapil, faces up to two years in prison after hiding his mobile phone in the prime minister's office.

Mr Nekvapil, who works for the Slovak weekly magazine Plus 7 Dni, has been charged with attempting to bug a meeting of the Slovak cabinet, by secreting his mobile phone into the room. Mr Nekvapil has admitted taping the phone to the underside of Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda's desk during an open day at the cabinet office. If found guilty, he could face up to two years in prison and deportation from Slovakia.

The journalist claims to have been testing the Slovak government's security. The Slovak authorities, however, have taken a dim view of Mr Nekvapil's defence and have pressed charges.

Lubomir Sulko, a journalist at Slovakia's mass circulation tabloid Novy Cas, told Radio Prague about the reaction in Slovakia to the case.

"I think for the Slovak public it's something funny. But in fact it's not really funny when somebody tries to listen to a prime minister using a phone hidden under his table. It's quite for funny for people, but it's not funny in general."

So the public haven't really taken this story very seriously then?

"Not very seriously, no."

But you think it is something that should be of concern to the Slovak authorities.

"Of course. I think it's serious when somebody tries to do something like this, to the prime minister, to a head of state."

And what conclusions will the Slovak authorities draw from this incident? Will security be tightened at the prime minister's office?

"I don't think so - the security was OK, there was no problem with security. They found the mobile before it was used. There was no problem with security - they did a great job I think."

But do you think perhaps they will think again before opening the doors of the Slovak prime minister's office to the public?

"Yes, on that day they should be more careful in the future."

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