Združenje novinarjev in publicistov
Notice the global public natisni

Dear Colleagues 

 

We are the Association of Journalists and Commentators from Slovenia, which unites a group of journalists from different media who are not members of the Slovene Association of Journalists. 

We wish to inform you about more cases in Slovenia, where journalists are having problems because of their work. Among such people is also the former President of our Association, Reporter's journalist Igor Kršinar, who has been defending himself in court for his articles on the murders of opponents of the former Yugoslav communist secret service UDBA committed by the latter abroad. Kršinar has been criminally prosecuted for insults, and the prosecution was launched by the former chiefs of the Yugoslav and Slovenian UDBA Silvo Gorenc and Janez Zemljarič, even though in his articles, Kršinar only cited the archived records available in the national archives and some other books that have been published for quite some time now. Criminal prosecution against the journalist Kršinar is so much more problematic also because a court trial began in Germany not long ago against two former senior officers of the Croatian UDBA who were involved in the murder of a Croatian opponent in 1983, which happened on German territory.

To continue, the Ljubljana State Prosecutor's Office criminally prosecuted the editor of Report, Silvester Šurla, who allegedly insulted the Mayor of Ljubljana, Zoran Janković, but the court later stopped the prosecution. Similarly, the Prosecutor's Office criminally prosecuted the journalist of Delo, Borut Tavčar, for allegedly insulting Ljubljana Mayor Janković. The Court of First Instance even sentenced him to a fine, but the Court of Appeal later annulled the judgement and acquitted the journalist. The State Prosecutor's Office also criminally prosecutes the journalist of Demokracija, Bogdan Sajovic, for allegedly insulting the Vice Mayor of Ljubljana, Janez Koželj. The editor of a very popular web portal Požareport, Bojan Požar, was given a suspended sentence for publishing the photo proving that the former Minister of Internal Affairs, Katarina Kresal, is very close to the person with whom she signed the lease agreement for police premises; when their common acquaintance got married, they bought the wedding gift together. There are several other criminal proceedings taking place against Požar, thus he is facing potential prison sentence.

The editor of Reporter, Silvester Šurla, and the journalist Marko Medvešek were also sentenced to a fine in the second instance for publishing a story in which they revealed how the State Prosecutor's Office criminally prosecuted an adolescent who had sent photos of a naked teacher to his schoolmates via Internet. Despite the fact that the parents of the adolescent gave their permission for publication of this story in the media, and although the adolescent himself testified for the benefit of the accused editor and journalist, the court punished them for allegedly harming the young man by revealing his name. The appeal will now be decided upon by the Supreme Court.

In December, another trial is supposed to start, namely against the photojournalist Jani Božič, who is being criminally prosecuted on a proposal by the former Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek whose privacy was allegedly violated when Božič took a photograph of the congratulation message on her mobile phone, which she received upon her election as the Prime Minister. This congratulation message was sent to her by a well-known economist who had been himself mentioned several times as the potential Prime Minister. Jani Božič had to leave Slovenia due to political pressures on his work and find himself a new job in Great Britain. He must return to Slovenia solely because of the criminal proceedings and on the initiative of the former Prime Minister.

We have mentioned only a few cases of how Slovenian journalists are being criminally prosecuted for their work. The truth is that we are facing many more problems when it comes to the freedom of expression in Slovenia in the field of journalistic work. Several journalists have lost their jobs on account of this. For example, a former journalist of Finance, Jaka Elikan, had to say goodbye because of his writings about the questionable transactions of Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković. To continue, the current President of the Association of Journalists and Commentators, Tino Mamić, also had to leave the newspaper Primorske novice after having his articles censored; when he protested against this decision, he was threatened with dismissal. There are several other such cases. We sincerely hope that you will read our reports on the limitations of journalistic work and freedom of the press in Slovenia, which are available on our website www.znp.si (also in English).

 

Respectfully,

Association of Journalists and Commentators (10. 2. 2015)

 
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