Reporters Without Borders today called on the Slovenian parliament to appoint a commission to investigate serious allegations that the government and Prime Minister Janez Jansa have been censoring and harassing the news media - allegations that are the subject of a petition signed by more that 500 journalists, a fifth of Slovenia's media professionals.
“The news media's editorial independence is crucial for a society's well-being,” the organisation said. “If the government really has used financial and commercial pressure to influence media content, as it is alleged, this would be a serious press freedom violation.”
Reporters Without Borders added: “An investigation into these claims is all the more urgent as Slovenia will take over the European Union's rotating presidency on 1 January.”
The petition, launched by Matej Surc of Slovenian public radio and Blaz Zgaga of the daily Vecer and backed by the Association of Slovenian Journalists (DNS), was submitted with 570 signatures to parliamentary speaker France Cukjati in Ljubljana on 16 October. It has also been sent to the European Union.
The government denies the allegations and says it is aware of the importance of press freedom and media diversity for the development of democracy.