Reporters Without Borders today welcomed the decision of the Ljubljana appeal court to lift an injunction against the Slovenian daily Dnevnik that barred it since August 2009 from publishing any news or negative comments about the person or professional activities of Italian businessman Pierpaolo Cerani.
The daily’s editor Ali Zerdin told the worldwide press freedom organisation that the ruling on 7 October was “an important decision not just for us but for the entire Slovenian media. The Ljubljana appeal court decision has imposed press freedom standards that are in conformity with the Constitution”, he said.
“We are delighted at the lifting of this injunction that amounted to an unacceptable measure of prior censorship. Vigilance will be needed however throughout the European Union to ensure that powerful financial interests are not allowed to encroach on press freedom”, Reporters Without Borders said.
09.09.2009 - Courts urged to stop persecuting Ljubljana daily
Reporters Without Borders is appalled by Ljubljana judge Katarina Novsak Kaplandu’s decision on appeal on 4 September to uphold the month-old injunction forbidding the daily Dnevnik to print any negative comment about Italian businessman Pierpaolo Cerani or his business activities (see the 19 August release http://www.rsf.org/Court-injunction-backed-by-heavy.html).
The judge said in her ruling that not only the facts were at issue, but also the way they were reported. Dnevnik could “continue to speak about Mr. Cerani, as other news media do, but only using appropriate vocabulary, without offensive or negative words and without using a tone that attacked his honour, reputation or dignity in an intolerable manner,” she said.
She also insisted that the public interest was not jeopardised by the injunction as the public continued to be informed about Cerani’s activities.
“The judge’s comments are absolutely surreal and unacceptable in a European Union member country,” Reporters Without Borders said. “If the facts reported by Dnevnik are true, it is free to report them in whatever tone and using whatever words it likes,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is not a judge’s job to take a position on how well journalists write. She must have a strange view of her role if she suggests that accuracy is less important than the way the facts are presented.
“Similarly, how can she claim that the public interest is not threatened or that the public continues to be properly informed when the press is only allowed to write positively about Cerani and his business activities? Maintaining the injunction against Dnevnik is clearly an act of censorship, one that is unacceptable in a country that held the EU’s rotating president just a year ago.”
Reporters Without Borders added: “We urge Ljubljana’s highest courts to lift the injunction without delay and to allow Dnevnik and the rest of the Slovenian press to cover all aspects of the country’s economic activity freely. How can the EU hope to be able to set an example to the rest of the world if the courts in one of its member countries force a newspaper to print only positive news?”