PirateLeaks.cz on-line despite initial blockage

The Czech whistle-blowing site PirateLeaks.cz went live on Tuesday afternoon, publishing two documents 

Petr Matějček | 21.12.2010
Jakub Michálek is known as “the Czech Assange” in honor of the WikiLeaks founder

PirateLeaks, one of the first national leaks sites in Europe, published two cases upon its Tuesday launch at the MAT cinema in Prague. Slightly behind schedule at 3:15 pm the “Czech Assange” Jakub Michálek officially launched the Czech equivalent of WikiLeaks with the words “Close the gap!”

The first “leak” includes documents on preparations for a new copyright law and reveals overwhelming influence by two Czech associations for the protection of artists’ rights; the second, a contract between the Ústi nad Labem region’s health authority and the private firm Hospimed, which the former contracts to run hospitals in Děčín, Chomutov, Most, Teplice and Ústí nad Labem.

In 2008, the Ústí nad Labem authority issued a tender for new equipment for Kč 420 million. In April 2009, a company owned by Hospimed and Puroklima were awarded the contract and the health authority received money for the equipment from EU funds. Some of the equipment was allegedly sold for double the normal price; Czech media have already reported on aspects of this suspected case of corruption.

PirateLeaks provides the possibility to compare prices for the same equipment sold by rival companies.another leaks site is in the planning in the Czech Republic. Another website creator has reportedly secured the domain name WikiLeaks.cz

Czech Pirate Party chairman Ivan Bartoš and deputy chairmen Martin Brož — and journalists from practically most national media outlets — were on hand for the launch.

“It will be easier to analyze whether the order was over-priced,” Mikuláš Ferjenčík of the Pirate Party announced. “Our aim is for the state to publish these sorts of documents automatically. If not, it will be possible to found out whether — and where — money went missing and bring openness to the sorts of tenders that are awash with corruption.”

Jakub Michálek said that the site’s editorial team is preparing more documents, which will be published in the coming days.   

The launch wasn’t without snags; at the start, many users could not access the site or experienced long loading times. “There is great interest in the site; therefore, please forgive the longer loading times or temporary inaccessibility,” the Czech Pirate Party, which struggled with technical issues on Tuesday, announced on the party’s website.

Another planned!

According to the iHned.cz news website, another leaks site is in the planning in the Czech Republic. Website creator Luděk Kvapil has reportedly managed to secure the domain name WikiLeaks.cz, which the Pirate Party tried unsuccessfully to register.

“Together with volunteers we’re planning to set up a charity to run the server. Then we have to ensure security for our sources,” Kvapil told the news server, adding he plans the site launch for the end of January. 

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