The Slovenian government has responded to a top-level warning regarding the harassment of journalist Blaz Zgaga, published on Friday by the Council of Europe, on their platform for the protection of journalism and journalist safety. In response, the government “rejects and condemns the case of alleged harassment” by a journalist. They add also, that so far there is no evidence of how this happened.
In the Government’s response, also published on the Council of Europe’s platform, further emphasized that it has always defended the freedom and independence of journalists and strongly opposed any type of communication that could be considered a threat to their work. They added that the government would continue to provide suitable conditions for free and independent work of journalists.
“It should be emphasized, that objective media coverage is of paramount importance in the fight against fake news, which is a great threat to the democratic development and pluralism of the society, which are both protected by the constitutional values of the Republic of Slovenia and the fundamental values of the Council of Europe,” on 27 March, the ambassador at the Permanent Representation of Slovenia to the Council of Europe, Andrej Slapnicar, prepared it in an answer, on behalf of the Government and addressed it to the Head of the Directorate for Democratic Participation of the Council of Europe, Matjaz Gruden.
In response, the government emphasizes, that there have also been so many false news and stories regarding the work of Prime Minister Janez Jansa in various positions and many legal proceedings have also been initiated against him. “But the fact is that none of these processes has resulted in a final conviction that would stand the test of competent institutions. It is also a fact that in the past, court judgments have often violated Prime Minister Jansa’s human rights, including his right to liberty,” it is also written in response to the warning.
The Council of Europe, in its warning of the 1st, the highest level of the most serious violations of media freedom, describes that investigative journalist Zgaga has been the target of a hate campaign since March 15 and also received many death threats.
The source of the harassment is, according to the platform, a tweet, shared by the government, through a Crisis Staff account, in which the journalist and three other intellectuals are referred to as patients who have “escaped from psychiatry” and “have covid-marks / lenin virus”. This tweet was later deleted by Crisis Staff from their account, but later reported about by Nova24TV, it is also written in the warning.