The Public Media Alliance condemns threats targeting RTV Slovenija journalist, and the ongoing attempts to intimidate media workers.

Last week, RTV Slovenija journalist Eugenija Carl received a letter containing an unknown powdered substance accompanied by written threats and insults. While the public broadcaster confirmed that the substance was not dangerous, it caused Carl an allergic reaction, affecting her eyes, nose and throat. RTV’s regional centre in Koper had to be closed to access, and staff members who came in contact with the letter had to be quarantined. At the time of writing, it is not yet known who sent the letter.

The letter is just one example of the pressures faced by journalists in Slovenia, particularly those working for the public broadcaster. Last week, the Supreme Court rejected Prime Minister Janez Janša’s appeal against its decision for Janša to compensate Carl for ‘mental pain and insults’ caused by an offensive tweet. In recent months, the Slovenian government has overseen an increasingly systematic effort to undermine critical media, and accused of inspiring growing levels of abuse towards critical journalists and news media in the country.

This is not the first time that Carl has been the target of such threats. Last year, she received a similar letter containing an unknown white powder and death threats following a defamation suit that she and a colleague had won against Prime Minister Janez Janša.

In response to last week’s letter, RTV Slovenija wrote: ‘The management of RTV Slovenija, journalists and editors of the TV Slovenia Information Programme and all employees of RTV SLO strongly condemn such acts or intimidation. Free and independent journalism is one of the fundamental postulates of democracy. We would like to point out that in Slovenia it is necessary to strengthen the culture of public dialogue and to preserve the independence and autonomy of journalistic work at all costs.’

The Public Media Alliance joins RTV Slovenija and civil society organisations in calling on authorities to better protect independent media and end the culture of impunity towards those threatening and committing crimes against journalists. We continue to advocate for better protections for journalists and media workers who are increasingly subject to harassment and attacks, particularly women journalists, so they can continue their vital work informing the public and holding power to account.

Header Image: Building of RTV Slovenia (Television’s part). Credit: Pv21/Creative Commons