Slovenian Journalist to Stand Criminal Trial: EFJ Calls for Charges to be Dropped

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Investigative journalist Anuška Delić (Photo : Matej Druznik – Delo)

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) urges Slovenian prosecutors to immediately drop the criminal charges against Anuška Delić, an investigative reporter for Delo, a leading Slovenian daily. She is accused of publishing classified state intelligence. She faces up to three years in prison just for having done her job. The trial against her is expected to begin on Wednesday 15 October, in Slovenia.

In 2011, Anuška Delić wrote a series of articles, just before the Slovenian parliamentary elections, in which she uncovered alleged connections between the Slovenian neo-Nazi group Blood & Honour and members of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS).

The Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency (SOVA) claimed that information Delić used had been illegally acquired from its files. Anuška Delić is charged with violating Article 260 of the Slovenian Criminal Code on the dissemination of classified information. She was indicted in April 2013.

“It is the duty of journalists to report on issues of public interest. Journalists should be protected from criminal liability for publishing information of public interest, regardless of whether or not it has been leaked to them. Journalists should report on those questions free from fear of criminal prosecution”, said EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård.

The EFJ and its affiliate, the Slovenian Association of journalists, urge prosecutors to drop the charges against Anuška Delić. The EFJ raised her case in letters to the representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament.

Slovenian MEP Tanja Fajon reacted immediately: “As a former journalist, MEP and a concerned citizen, I believe that Anuška Delić acted in the public interest. According to professional journalistic ethics and international journalistic standards the mission of a journalist is to inform the public and to provide credible, verified and quality information.

It is paramount that journalists, especially investigative journalists, work in safe environment without constant fear of being prosecuted or with a threat of imprisonment. Maintaining freedom of expression is a continuous concern of democratic societies, which I would like to believe, Slovenia still is. I condemn any political interference as it endangers journalistic independence and its ethics. Such practices must be immediately stopped so that both media and politics remain its reputation and dignity,” said Tanja Fajon (S&D/SD).

Contact: Ricardo Gutiérrez, EFJ General secretary, ricardo.gutierrez(at)ifj(dot)org, +32 (0) 2 235 23 29

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