Združenje novinarjev in publicistov
An open letter for European Commissioner natisni

The Association of Journalists and Commentators protests against the candidacy of Alenka Bratušek for European Commissioner

 

An open letter to the President of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker

 

Dear Mr President,

 

The Association of Journalists and Commentators from Slovenia is outraged over the candidacy of Slovenian Prime Minister, Mrs Alenka Bratušek, for the position of European Commissioner, and therefore we call upon you not to appoint her to this position. Mrs Alenka Bratušek launched a criminal prosecution against the photojournalist Jani Božič for taking a picture with his mobile phone of her being congratulated for the appointment as Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. Božič later published the picture on his web portal Podlupo.net, including his finding that the Prime Minister was congratulated by the Slovenian economist already 20 minutes before she was actually elected. Following a proposal by the newly elected Prime Minister, the photojournalist was afterwards interrogated by the police, and the State Prosecutor's Office filed charges against him, accusing him of committing a criminal offence, namely violating the secrecy of means of communication. While the economic crisis and political pressure on the media in Slovenia forced Božič to move to Great Britain, where he found himself a new job, the court proceedings against the photojournalist are taking place at the District Court in Ljubljana.


When the criminal complaint was filed, the Association of Journalists and Commentators protested against it, stressing that the freedom of the press in Slovenia has been jeopardized. Subsequently, we called upon the Prime Minister Bratušek to withdraw her proposal for criminal prosecution against Mr Božič. In doing so, we also submitted news articles from Italian and British newspapers, in which journalists published pictures of different letters exchanged between the Italian politicians in the parliament or documents carried by the British Minister down the street. We are convinced that in other EU countries, the photojournalist Jani Božič would not be prosecuted for publishing the disputed picture. However, despite this, the Prime Minister insists on continuing the prosecution. It is unacceptable that a person who criminally prosecutes a photojournalist in her home country merely because he published a picture of her being congratulated for her new appointment could become a European Commissioner. Therefore, we urgently call upon you, dear Mr President of the European Commission, not to appoint her as a European Commissioner, for she is not committed to the values of European democracy which includes freedom of the press or freedom of public expression.

 

Respectfully,

 

Tino Mamić, the president of Association of Journalists and Commentators 

 

PS: This open letter has been sent also to the Members of the European Parliament.

 

19. 8. 2014

 
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