STA, 23 November 2018 - The Celje District Court sentenced the Democrats (SDS) head, Janez Janša, to three-month suspended prison sentence on one-year probation for defaming two TV Slovenija journalists. He is also to pay for the costs of the entire procedure related to his 2016 defamatory tweet.
Judge Barbara Žumer-Kunc said in announcing the decision that the contents of Janša's twit had been insulting to the two journalists on a personal level. She added that such a way of expression was not becoming of a senior political official.
Janša, known for his fierce criticism of the media, attacked journalists Mojca Pašek Šetinc and Eugenija Carl in his March 2016 tweet, which read: "The FB page of the public house is offering cheap services by washed up prostitutes Evgenija C and Mojca PŠ. One for 30 euros, the other for 35. #PimpMilan,".
At today's hearing Janša said he did not have sexual prostitution in mind but media prostitution, while the two journalists insisted that the tweet was demeaning and insulting to them both as women and journalists.
Janša remains unrepentant
The judge offered Janša a settlement but he refused to properly apologise to the two journalists.
In his defence speech, he labelled the lawsuit absurd, saying that the tweet had been a reaction to Carl's report "containing a bunch of despicable lies about SDS members." The tweet was seen by a few hundred people, while more than 100,000 people watched Carl's report, he said.
Carl called the tweet brutal, adding that Janša had more than 1,000 followers on Twitter.
Janša also said that Pašek Šetinc had been insulting him with her reporting for more than 25 years, which the journalist denied.
Janša was not present when the ruling was announced and his lawyer Franci Matoz has already announced an appeal. He argued that many violations had happened during the proceeding and that the court had misjudged the tweet and the context in which it had been written.
Meanwhile, the two journalists are happy with the ruling, which they believe sends the message to Slovenian journalists that the judiciary respects and protects them.
"The court has sent a clear signal that nobody, not even top-level politicians like the accused, can and should rise above moral, social and legal postulates," said Carl.
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