Thursday, January 24, 2008

Slovenia's debut EU presidency marred by row over press freedom

"Two journalists who launched a petition at the end of last year accusing the government of political meddling, which was signed by 571 Slovenian journalists, said yesterday that they still want an independent inquiry. Their campaign has been backed by the International Press Institute (IPI) and the European Federation of Journalists, which said in a statement: 'Slovenia has failed the first test of leadership in Europe by failing to show that it is prepared to deal openly and honestly with serious questions over its own record on dealing with media and journalism.'

'There is continuing pressure on journalists,' said Matej Surc, a radio journalist who initiated the petition along with his newspaper colleague Blaz Zgaga.

In addition to direct censorship – the newspaper Vecer has pinned censored articles on an office wall known as the 'bunker' – the government of the centre-right Prime Minister, Janez Jansa, is accused of indirectly influencing the media through exploiting business relationships with companies that have financial holdings in media interests."


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