The Kočner Library: 57 Terabytes That Shook Slovakia – Information is power

Updated: Mar 9

Speakers: Pavla Holcova, Investigative Journalist and Founder of Investigace.cz

Moderator: Brigitte Alfter, Journalist, Author, Director of the Arena for Journalism in Europe


December 11th, 2020, 18:00–18:35 CET.

This discussion was organized in cooperation with the International Visegrad Fund.


Written by Inel Shalabayev


Keywords: Media, Journalism, Information, Politics


Short annotation, summary

Pavla Holcova shares her story and explains the origins of the Kočner Library. The formation of the Kočner Library dates back to the murder of Jan Kuciak, which inspired the project. It all started with an ‘emergency team’ that consisted only of 5 people whose goal was to investigate the death of Juan Kuciak.


The project or approach to be discussed in the session

The emergency team went to Slovakia and collected 24 TB of CCTV footage in Velka Maca village where Kuciak was killed. The team struggled to analyze the massive amount of footage which brought the investigation nowhere. To maximize its effectiveness, the team attempted to use the help of Artificial Intelligence but it didn’t save much time. The team also conducted numerous interviews, to gather data from people who lived in the Velka Maca village, which helped in building a picture. Only after 12 months since the tragedy, the team managed to reconstruct the murder.


Evidence of impact

The emergency team that consisted of only five people, transformed itself into the Kočner Library project that hosts the best journalists in Slovakia. Many politicians, judges, and police offers who were linked to the murder of Kuciak stepped down from the office. Several culprits were detained, while others are under investigation.


Limitations, risks of the approach provided by the speaker

The most significant limitation of the project is the fact that people who allegedly ordered the murder, such as Marian Kocner, were cleared. The project is continuously trying to find more evidence that will present solid proof for the guilt of Marian Kocner and others who are linked to the death of Juan Kuciak.


Takeaways

1. The murder of journalists is one of the most challenging crimes to investigate.

2. Analyzing the massive amount of data in journalism is very time consuming and can take a month or even years to process.

3. Collaboration and sharing of data across independent journalists is a potential key to success in solving political crimes.