Statement about the Abuse of Slovenian Prosecution and Courts against Slovenian Journalists natisni

Statement of the Slovenian Association of Journalists and Commentators (ZNP) about the Abuse of Slovenian Prosecution and Courts against Slovenian Journalists

Only a few hours after the horrific Islamist massacre of journalists at the Parisian weekly Charlie Hebdo on 7 January this year, an unknown person using the alias Zakladnik Matija wrote on Facebook that what had happened in Paris was just a child’s play compared to what Janshist turds (Janez Janša is the leader of the largest opposition party in Slovenia – SDS) working at Slovenian political weeklies Reporter and Demokracija would experience in the following weeks. He added that they should get ready, and that he would single handedly impale one of Demokracija’s journalists on a stake.
Journalists of the weekly Reporter immediately filed a report with the police over a suspicion of incitement of hatred, violence or intolerance, and over a threat.

The prosecution dismissed the case, claiming there was no evidence of a criminal act, and that this was only “a momentary expression of an individual’s dissatisfaction”. At that moment the prosecutors did not even know who the perpetrator was, whether he was violent, armed, unbalanced, etc.

Journalists then turned to the Ljubljana District Court with a motion for issuing an order for tracing the IP address of the computer, from which the threat was sent, so that the perpetrator could be found, but the Court rejected this motion. The explanation was shocking: the Court Chamber wrote in its ruling that many individuals express their dissatisfaction with the current social and political situation on social networks, which was what the unknown perpetrator did, making an ill-judged reference to the tragic events in Paris. The Court found that this was not a serious threat, even though it did not know who the perpetrator was and whether he was dangerous, armed, unbalanced, etc. The Court went even further in the explanation of its ruling. According to the judges, weeklies Reporter and Demokracija are “political media, which can upset the general public with their writing and provoke angry reactions from individuals,” which is what happened in this case.

The Court thus implied that the death threats to the journalist were understandable and even excusable, because journalists “provoke angry reactions” with their writing. The judges clearly have no idea that critical reporting always provokes public reactions, as it opens sensitive social topics. However, this does not mean that death threats to journalists are something we should accept as normal, while the justice system would dismiss prosecution explaining that the threat was not serious enough without even knowing who the perpetrator was.

Reporter and Demokracija journalists had no other option (an appeal at a higher instance was not possible against this scandalous ruling) than to file a lawsuit against the Court for violating several of their constitutionally guaranteed human rights, including the right to safety and the right to freedom of speech.

The Slovenian Association of Journalists and Commentators strongly protests against such abuse of the Slovenian justice system when it comes to the rights of journalists and the freedom of speech, and is calling on the Court to reconsider its ruling and help trace the perpetrator who threatened journalists with death, instead of protecting him.

(1. 12. 2015