EU Condemns Slovenia PM's Online Attack On Journalists
Faizan Hashmi 15 days ago Thu 18th February 2021 | 10:53 PM
Brussels on Thursday condemned Slovenia's prime minister for online personal attacks against journalists reporting on the deterioration of rule of law in his country, which will take on the rotating EU presidency in July
Brussels, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 18th Feb, 2021 ) :Brussels on Thursday condemned Slovenia's prime minister for online personal attacks against journalists reporting on the deterioration of rule of law in his country, which will take on the rotating EU presidency in July.
"We are not accepting the harmful words directed at journalists, and we do condemn them," commission spokesman Eric Mamer told a media conference a day after tweets made by Prime Minister Janez Jansa.
Jansa, a right-wing politician and proud fan of former US president Donald Trump, initially accused a reporter for the news website Politico of bias in a story on his "campaign" against media, including Slovenia's state news agency, that do not adhere to his government's messaging.
Jansa then issued tweets attacking journalists who defended the Politico story, including a journalist for the New York Times as well as analysts who piped up.
Mamer said the European Commission and its president, Ursula von der Leyen, were very clear: "We condemn any insults or attacks on journalists, we would not dream of doing it here in Brussels, and we certainly do not expect others to indulge in those sorts of practices." However, he said the commission could not formally reprimand Jansa over "a tweet".
"We cannot open an infringement procedure based on one personal insult or comment," he said.
The incident is nonetheless embarrassing for the commission.
Also on Thursday Jansa rejected any allegations that his government posed a threat to press freedom, saying in a tweet that it would "gladly welcome... any delegation from any institution that would like to prove that the main media are under government control".
Earlier he retweeted another post repeating the attacks on Politico's reporting, calling it a "lie".
The commission has issued "infringement notices" over those breaches, and the European Court of Justice has upheld several complaints. But they have done little to change the political direction of the governments concerned.
Mamer said the commission had other tools at its disposal "to ensure that media freedom is guaranteed everywhere in the EU" including through reports monitoring media conditions and EU funding for journalists.