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Court: Babiš must not label Bison&Rose as lobbyists

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Prague, Sept 5 (CTK) – The chairman of ANO movement, Andrej Babis, is not to continue saying that Bison&Rose PR agency influences or controls Czech Television (CT), Economia Publishing House, the Interior Ministry or Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD), a court ruled on Tuesday.

A preliminary measure, which CTK was informed of by the agency, also orders Babis to refrain from labelling Bison&Rose as a lobbyist agency, manipulators or provocateurs until the lawsuit has been decided on as a whole.

Babis wrote to CTK that he considers the preliminary measure illegal and that he would fight it back.

The agency told CTK in its statement on Tuesday that it defends itself through a lawsuit becaus Babis, a former finance minister, is damaging its reputation.

“The preliminary measure issued by the Regional Court in Prague is a step which is to prevent Andrej Babis from furthering the injury, which he has been systematically causing to the agency, until the suit has been decided on by the court,” the agency said.

Babis considers the court’s decision illegal. “This is why we will be filing an appeal against it. The decision infringes on my right to free speech, it is not even properly justified,” Babis wrote to CTK in a text message.

He also objects to the fact that he did not have a chance to express his view on the proposal for the measure.

The agency says Babis has been publicaly bringing increasingly false and manipulative statements. “These statements include in particular the statement that Bison&Rose agency works for Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) or its top representatives,” the agency said, rejecting co-operation with CSSD or any other political party or active politician. The agency also denies any current or previous involvement in lobbying.

The agency also rejects the statement that it was to earn high amounts thanks to state administration orders or those by state-controlled companies. “The reality is quite to the contrary. Since one of the associates of Bison&Rose became an aide to the interior minister, the agency has not won any public orders, except for the one by CT, particularly due to the fact that the agency does not participate in tenders for them,” the agency said in its statement.

Bison&Rose is co-owned by Milos Ruzicka, who is an aide to Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (CSSD).

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