Protesters in Ljubljana demand independent journalism

Ljubljana – Friday’s protesters gathering in Ljubljana’s city centre demanding the government’s resignation and an early election, today raised the issue of pressure on media freedom and the suspension of funding of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) as well as leaked recordings of Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak.

Activist Jaša Jenull stressed that independent journalism must be protected by all means. The protesters presented their demands regarding media freedom and culture, and expressed opposition to “politically motivated repression and dictatorship”.

They marched through the city centre holding banners calling for early election and carrying a sculpture of a water cannon, which they said was the only one that was acceptable in the streets.

Jenull and media expert Sandra Bašić Hrvatin noted that the STA had been performing public service without government funding for 295 days. Bašić Hrvatin said that opposing the destruction of the STA meant supporting media freedom, democracy and journalists.

The protesters also pointed to the recording leaked earlier this week in which Vizjak as economy minister urged businessman Bojan Petan to avoid taxes in relation to spa Terme Čatež in 2007. They said that in any other normal democracy, Vizjak would have to step down along with some other ministers.

Since the rally had not been registered in advance, police are providing for the safety, the Ljubljana Police Department told the STA.