11 May 2020 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 24 Mar 2016 n° 44/2016 Slovenia

Former Prime Minister Publicly Insults Two Journalists

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
On 21 March 2016, the former Prime Minister of Slovenia and current leader of the main opposition party (SDS), Janez Jansa, insulted on his personal Twitter account a journalist and an editor from TV Slovenija (TVS), the Slovenian public broadcaster. They had broadcasted a story on the increase of hate speech against refugees and migrants in the country, including within SDS. On 21 March, at 7:43 pm, Janez Jansa posted a tweet naming the two journalists and comparing them to “disused prostitutes for 30 and 35 euros”. The Slovene Association of Journalists (DNS) and TVS journalists strongly condemned this public attack.
11 May 2020
In a session held in February 2020, but communicated only in May 2020, the Supreme Court of Slovenia overturned the defamation ruling in the case of Janša vs Mojca Šetinc Pašek, a journalist and editor with TV Slovenija. The Court ruled that Janez Janša’s (who, in the meantime has become Prime Minister of Slovenia) tweet falls under the category of “highly protected political expression” and that freedom of political expression prevails. The Supreme Court dismissed the journalist's claim for damages and ordered her to reimburse Janez Janša’s costs in the proceedings within 15 days. The journalist has announced she will take her case to the Constitutional Court, with the support of the Slovenian Journalists' organisations. Given this ruling and the implications it may have on media freedom in Slovenia, the partner organisations decided to re-open this case on the Platform.
28 Nov 2018
On 23 November 2018, the court of Celje sentenced Janez Jansa to a three-month suspended jail sentence for insulting two female journalists. It also ruled that the politician must pay the costs of the proceedings stemming from the 2016 incident. Jansa’s lawyer has said he will appeal the ruling.
13 Sep 2016
On 1st April 2016, an urgent session was held by the Committee on Culture of the Slovenian National Assembly. It condemned verbal attacks as a form of political pressure on journalists and the media and proposed to the President of the National Assembly to adopt a Code of Ethics for the Members of the Parliament "with a view to rejecting verbal abuse and other forms of offensive behaviour". On 13 September 2016, the partner organisations of the Platform declared this case to be "resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.
State replies
28 Nov 2018
OSCE representative welcomes conviction of senior politician in Slovenia for Tweet calling two journalists "prostitutes" in relation to their reporting in 2016. The 3-month prison sentence suspended for 1 year of probation is a strong sign that such abuse should not be tolerated.
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