The Slovenia Times

Commissioner contacts Slovenian authorities over media freedom


Jourova's reaction comes in response to an appeal by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and six other press freedom organisations for the Commission to put pressure on the Slovenian government and remind it of its responsibility to "protect the press, to ensure journalists are able to report independently, as well as to guarantee free and open access to information."

Jourova tweeted today that "free and independent media are key for democracies, EU values: their job is to hold us, politicians, into account. Protection and safety of journalists should be a priority for every country".

"No hate, no threats, no personal attacks. Contact taken with Slovenia to discuss situation," added the commissioner.

The appeal to by the journalist organisation was circulated in an open letter to the European Commission on Monday and draws attention to Blaž Zgaga, an investigative journalist and Reporters Without Borders' correspondent in Slovenia best known as one of the authors of a September 2007 petition signed by 571 journalists that accused the then government of Janez Janša of exerting political pressure on the media.

Janša responded the to the appeal on Thursday by tweeting in English: "Well, no single figure in Slovenian history has done more to discredit the journo community than this liar Blaž Zgaga. Not only is he a liar, he's a liar about being a liar."

In March Zgaga received death threats and was the subject of defamatory attacks by media affiliated with Janša's Democrats (SDS) following a freedom of information request regarding the establishment and operations of the Crisis Headquarters of the Republic of Slovenia.

RSF, along with Article 19, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, European Federation of Journalists, Free Press Unlimited, Index on Censorship and the International Press Institute, warned that Zgaga was not the only journalist to have received threats since the Janša's government took over earlier this year.

A reaction to the Zgaga case also came at on 27 March from the Council of Europe, which also took issue on 7 April with PM Janša's 20 March attack on public broadcaster RTV Slovenija on social media.

"Don't spread lies, @InfoTVSLO. We pay you to keep us informed in these times, not to mislead the public. Apparently there are too many of you and you are paid to well," tweeted Janša.

Janša, who also referred two women journalist of RTV Slovenija as "washed up prostitutes" in a tweet in 2016, tweeted this after TV Slovenija aired an interview with a trade unionist who criticised the government's decision to raise the salaries of ministers and state secretaries in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.


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