Ljubljana related

04 Jul 2022, 12:11 PM

STA, 4 July 2022 - Nova24TV clearly shows the Democratic Party's (SDS) idea of how a media outlet should be is similar to that of the Communist Party workers in the darkest communist times, Reporter magazine says in Monday's editorial in response to a Nova24TV viewer inciting to an armed fight against the new government on a call-in show last week.

"This is no longer just hate speech", by calling to a showdown with arms, Nova24TV took a step further which can no longer be dismissed as an unimportant incident.

It is now up to institutions from the police and prosecutors to the Agency for Communication Networks and Services to take action.

A normal media outlet would have already acted and fired the TV station's director and host Boris Tomašič, who did not interrupt the viewer but supported his appeal.

Advertisers would have also responded immediately by stopping financing "Janša's factory of lies and propaganda", which is also financed by Viktor Orban's tycoons.

"The genie has been long out of the bottle... They deliberately spread hate, incite to stir up the lowest emotions in people," runs the editorial headlined Media Monster.

Reporter says "this is not journalism", it is "the most disgusting and primitive political propaganda", and Janša's "darkest reflection in the mirror".

It is a political propaganda project born in his mind when he came out of prison and presented it in January 2015 to a wider circle of invitees at the seat of the SDS.

In spring 2016, Reporter welcomed the arrival of the new TV station because it expected it "to make the stuffy media space ridden with left-wing ideology more plural".

While Nova24TV was billed as a Slovenian version of American conservative Fox News, "Slovenia instead got a media cesspit, which fortunately has low ratings..."

Reporter says that Tomašič "deliberately incited people against the SDS's political opponents, probably not for the first time".

Those who called in were getting angrier, and the host was only fuelling them with his comments, responding to the caller who urged to an armed clash by saying: "They came to power with blood, and they will apparently only leave by force."

28 Jun 2022, 16:30 PM

STA, 28 June 2022 - The Constitutional Court has rejected an appeal by former PM Janez Janša against the statute barring of the Patria defence deal bribery case. While Janša felt denied a chance to prove his innocence, the top court claims he had no legal interest, as statute barring is fully equivalent to an acquittal, meaning he is considered innocent.

Janša, whose 2013 conviction for bribery in a 2006 tender won by Finnish defence contractor Patria was quashed by the Constitutional Court in April 2015 and sent into retrial that later became statute barred, published the ruling on Tuesday.

He wrote on Twitter that "After more than 15 years of the Patria saga the caricature of Slovenian rule of law ended with the pronouncement of innocence".

Janša, who had already spent 145 days in jail before a retrial was ordered, had appealed the 2016 Supreme Court ruling, which had upheld the view of the Higher Court from November 2015 that Janša could not appeal a decision that was in his favour.

The Supreme Court also argued that statute barring the case, involving a deal worth EUR 278 million and Janša's alleged accepting of a promise of a bribe for which no direct evidence was presented, is fully equivalent to an acquittal or a case dismissal.

Moreover, while nodding to Janša about the case actually falling under the statute later than claimed by the first instance court in September 2015, the Supreme Court argued this would still have happened before a retrial could end and would thus change nothing.

Janša meanwhile claimed violations had occurred of the articles of the constitution on equal protection of rights, the right to justice, the right to a remedy and the principle of legality in criminal law.

25 May 2022, 11:56 AM

STA, 24 May 2022 - The Celje Higher Court upheld on Tuesday a three-month suspended prison sentence with one year probation against outgoing Prime Minister Janez Janša for calling two journalists "washed up prostitutes" in a 2016 tweet. The verdict is final, but Janša's lawyer has announced a point of law appeal at the Supreme Court.

The decision, reached one day before the case would become statute barred, confirms the February ruling of the Celje District Court in a retrial held upon a successful appeal by Janša, who was not in court today.

Janša, the leader of the largest opposition party at the time, tweeted in March 2016: "The FB page of the public house is offering cheap services by washed up prostitutes Eugenija C. and Mojca P.Š. One for 30 euros, the other for 35. #PimpMilan".

jansa_prostitute_tweet_2016.JPG

TV Slovenija reporters Mojca Šetinc Pašek and Eugenija Carl each responded by filing defamation lawsuits, both criminal and civil.

Following an appeals conundrum - Janša for instance filed the final appeal on the last possible date - and other administrative delays, including reportedly over repeated failed attempts by the court to serve Janša, the case looked on track to becoming statute barred.

In a turn of events after it seemed that Janša had not been served with a summons, the Celje Higher Court decided to announce a verdict today upon the insistence of Janša's lawyer Franci Matoz that his client had been acquainted with the matter.

The judge, Andrej Pavlina, said today that, Janša, who must also pay the court fees, tweeted a crude and sexist statement that was political. Thus the court rejected the appeal against the ruling of the lower court and made the verdict final.

Matoz however insisted today that the District Court had violated the penal code and that its panel of judges had not been impartial. He argued the tweet in question did not make it possible to conclude which reporters were being referred to specifically.

Matoz, who moreover disagreed with the view of the Higher Court that tweet was offensive, also said that reports Janša was not picking up his mail and delaying proceedings had been fake news.

"The first annulment was due to a clear irregularity in the empanelling of the jury, which prolonged the case for two years. We did not agree with the case becoming statute barred, that was never our intention. We wanted a decision on the merits and now we will take the case to the Supreme Court ... I am confident we will succeed in the end," he said.

Judge Zinka Strašek meanwhile explained that several attempts had been made to serve Janša with the summons for the appeal hearing via a detective, but without success.

Therefore, the judges first adopted a decision today not to hold the session. When Matoz said he had personally informed Janša that today's appeal session would take place, the judges reversed the original decision and held the appeal session anyway, she added.

Šetinc Pašek, who has since become an MP, was pleased today that the High Court was able to bring the case to a conclusion in a very short time. She had expected Janša to be found guilty, saying the tweet had been disgusting, ugly and insulting. "Such an offensive tweet cannot be tolerated in our society," she added.

The Supreme Court has already adopted decisions in this case as regards the civil lawsuits in which the Velenje Local Court as well as the Celje Higher Court ordered Janša to pay EUR 6,000 in damages to Šetinc and Carl.

Ruling separately and with slightly different panels, it upheld in 2020 Janša's appeal when Šetinc is concerned, while rejecting it in 2021 in Carl's case.

10 May 2022, 10:25 AM

STA, 10 May 2022 - Prime Minister Janez Janša has said the West remains oblivious to the fact that Russia was never de-Communised, as he told Ukrainians in an address aired on Ukrainian national TV on Monday that Ukraine was the real heir of the victories of the Second World War.

Janša said only one evil, national socialism or Nazism, had been defeated in the Second Word War in 1945, whereas the other evil, international socialism or Communism, was not.

"Evil, just because it confronts another evil, does not yet become good," he said, noting that Communism had gone on to occupy Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic, killing millions of people at home and abroad.

Watch the video, in English, below

The West's victory in the Cold War did not eliminate this evil and whereas Nazi Germany was denazified, Communist Russia experienced merely the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

"There was no lustration in Russia, no de-Communisation, no justice, not enough interest in the West either. Evil has survived.

"Today the KGB network controls the Russian state, it has nuclear weapons and the future is unclear. There is another dominant Communist world nuclear power there and Cold War Two will not be the as the first. The blindness of the West is still great, but the fog is rising because of your courage and sacrifice," he said.

He said that in fighting for their country, the Ukrainians were also fighting for Europe. "Again, you are on the right side of history. Thus it is you, Ukrainians, who are the true rightful heirs of that honourable fight 77 years ago. In Moscow, they are the heirs of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact."

26 Apr 2022, 17:42 PM

STA, 26 April 2022 - Prime Minister Janez Janša alleged in a series of posts on Twitter on Tuesday that Robert Golob, who defeated him in Sunday's general election with his Freedom Movement, is pro-Russian, as he reacted to foreign media reports about the election.

"You really called those pro Russian guys "liberals"? Check your sources, please," Janša tweeted this afternoon, tagging a number of foreign media, including The New York Times, Reuters and Fox News.

He described the Freedom Party, which foreign media designated as centrist and liberal, as "pro-Russian," backing his claims with alleged pro-Russian positions of the party's backers that he said had an "anti-European, pro-Russian background".

This included a photo of Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković, who endorsed Golob, receiving a medal from Putin several years ago, and a statement by Freedom Movement vice-president Marta Kos in a 20 March interview that it was in Slovenia's interest to have normal relations with Russia.

The Twitter activity comes after Janša aired similar views on election day as he responded to a tweet by the European People's Party (EPP), which caused a stir when it said that it was "worried about the possible Russian interference in the Slovenian elections, which is clearly a consequence of Slovenia's firm & unequivocal support for Ukraine."

The EPP did not explain its position any further.

On Sunday Janša thanked the EPP as he noted that "powerful politicians, decorated by Putin's medals, try to push Slovenia back to the Russian sphere of influence."

He said there was "a strong pro-Russian network in Slovenia with exceptional media, financial and political power. This network sets up a new political party before each election. This time it is called the Freedom Movement".

Hours after polls closed on Sunday, Janša congratulated Golob on victory and said the SDS was always willing to work together with political players for the common good of Slovenia.

13 Apr 2022, 12:26 PM

STA, 12 April 2022 - Prime Minister Janez Janša told the parliamentary inquiry looking into the financing of political parties on Tuesday that his Democratic Party (SDS) was not financed from abroad or from illegal sources. He also denied that the EUR 450,000 loan taken from a Bosnian citizen in 2017 was money laundering.

It was a continuation of the interview with the prime minister and president of the ruling SDS party after a session held on 3 March.

At the time, Janša denied any influence of the SDS in the companies running the Nova24TV news television channel and its web portal nova24tv.

He told the MPs that the SDS had not influenced in any way in the past the operation of NTV24, as it was a limited liability company, or the operations of Nova Hiša, which runs the web portal.

Today, the prime minister was asked about the EUR 450,000 loan taken by the SDS from Bosnian citizen Dijana Đuđić by several members of the parliamentary inquiry.

Marko Bandelli of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) noted that the inquiry had found that Đuđić had been suspected of abusing the tax system, falsifying and destroying tax documents and facilitating pyramid schemes.

Janša confirmed that he as the SDS president had signed the loan taken out from Đuđić, as stipulated by the party's statute at the time. The party did not out the loan abroad, but "in Slovenia from a person who had a Slovenian tax number," he said.

"A notary confirmed that [the person] acted in accordance with the rules," Janša said, adding that the loan had been investigated by all possible authorities and institutions.

The only irregularity that was found was the amount of loan, due to which the party paid a fine, while "nothing else was disputable here, there was no money laundering or any other criminal act."

Janša said this was the first and last time that he met Đuđić. "There was no Snežič in between," he said when asked by Jani Möderndorfer of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) to confirm or deny that the deal had been proposed by tax advisor Rok Snežič.

Regarding allegations that the SDS is financed from Hungary and that Hungarian money was used directly for the party's campaign, he noted that it was private capital and that private companies from EU could invest money wherever they wanted.

Janša noted that EUR 800,000 in Hungarian capital had been invested in Nova24TV, while foreign capital investment in the commercial broadcaster POP TV amounted to EUR 200 million.

"These are the relationships we are talking about. EUR 200 million in capital in another media outlet that is attacking our party," he added.

The prime minister confirmed that he had become a co-owner of Nova Hiša, which runs the nova24tv web portal, and that his influence on the media outlet was proportional to his stake in the company - 0.1%.

16 Mar 2022, 11:51 AM

STA, 16 March 2022 - Prime Minister Janez Janša and his Polish and Czech counterparts have arrived safely in Poland back from their trip to Kyiv where they met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Tuesday evening. Janša thanked for the hospitality and deep insight into the situation provided by the Ukrainian officials.

"The delegations of Poland, Slovenia and Czechia have returned safely from Kyiv to Poland," Piotr Müller, a Polish government's spokesman, has tweeted.

Janša and his Polish and Czech counterparts, Mateusz Morawiecki and Petr Fiala, were the first foreign leaders to visit Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on 24 February. They travelled by train.

In a post on his Twitter profile on Wednesday Janša thanked Shmyhal for the "warm hospitality in Kyiv in this challenging time and for deep insight into a very complex situation at the variety of battlefields".

He also thanked to the Polish team for taking care of the many challenges before and during the visit.

Morawiecki wrote in a tweet that the Ukrainian people "have reminded the whole of Europe what it means to fight for freedom, what it means to be brave and what greatness really is". He urged giving hope to Ukraine.

The Slovenian government tweeted that the Polish prime minister had thanked Janša on Tuesday for making the initiative to visit Kyiv.

The three prime ministers told reporters after the meeting they had come to express support for Ukraine's fight for freedom and democracy. Zelensky earlier thanked the trio for the "strong sign of support".

"We're here to admire your courage and your fight, which is destroying the myth of the invincible Russian army," Janša said, adding that Ukraine was defending not just its territory but also fundamental European values.

He pledged they would do everything in their power to help Ukraine. He said they were aware what Ukraine currently needed the most was aid in weapons. He also supported EU candidate status for Ukraine.

25 Feb 2022, 14:21 PM

STA, 25 February 2022 - A panel of judges of the Celje District Court found Prime Minister Janez Janša guilty of defaming two journalists whom he called "washed up prostitutes" in a 2016 tweet. In a ruling that is not final yet, Janša got a three-month suspended sentence. He is also to cover the costs of the court proceedings.

The ruling comes after the Supreme Court quashed a guilty ruling over Janša's Twitter post in March 2016 reading "the FB page of the public house is offering cheap services by washed up prostitutes Evgenija C. and Mojca P.Š. One for 30 euros, the other for 35. #PimpMilan".

Today, the Celje court gave Janša two-month suspended sentences for defaming each of the two journalists, TV Slovenija reporter Eugenija Carl and Mojca Šetinc Pašek, who was the editor of the news desk at the public broadcaster at the time. But then handed down a combined suspended sentence of three months.

The president of the panel of judges, Alenka Jazbinšek Žgank, said Janša's tweet had been scornful and insulting.

Šetinc Pašek welcomed the ruling. She said Janša had indeed insulted her and Carl and smeared them both privately and professionally. "This tweet has marked me in a way," she said.

Her lawyer Stojan Zdolšek stressed the court had found the tweet was abject smearing that had nothing to do with criticism of journalist work. He is happy with the ruling although the case is not closed yet.

"We seriously suspect that the case will become statute barred in May, as the court is yet to write the ruling and hand it to the accused and his lawyer. Given Janša's past practice the court will not be able to hand him the ruling on time and the case will become statute barred."

Janša's lawyer Franci Matoz announced an appeal as he is convinced that the ruling could stand no trial and had no foundation. He said he and Janša were used to unfair rulings.

He said Janša had not committed the criminal act that he was accused of, so he expects the higher court to annul the ruling.

In their closing statements on Thursday, Zdolšek and Matoz disagreed over whether Janša had actually insulted the journalists.

Zdolšek argued the criminal act had been proven and that he had "committed a severe criminal act against the honour and good name of the two journalists".

Matoz, however, opined that an average Twitter user could not have known which journalists were being mentioned and that the pair had put the tweet in the spotlight themselves.

Janša was sentenced to a three-month suspended sentence by the Celje District Court in November 2018, but the Celje Higher Court ordered a retrial, which started in June 2021.

21 Feb 2022, 16:02 PM

STA, 21 February 2022 - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption has cleared Prime Minister Janez Janša over his socialising with a well-known lobbyist and a businessman while holidaying on the island of Mauritius when he was still an opposition leader.

The commission said today it had found no breach of anti-graft legislation in Janša's socialising with lobbyist Božo Dimnik and businessman Andrej Marčič in Mauritius, so it closed the case. Nor did it establish violations in public contracting in the case of Marčič's IT company, but it did issue some recommendations.

Photos showing Janša in the company of the pair in Mauritius in 2003 were published last summer by the news web portal Necenzurirano. The commercial broadcaster POP TV later released photos showing Janša on Marčič's yacht in 2016. Janša was an opposition leader on both those occasions.

The media speculated the socialising may have been contentious because Marčič's company Integralis in 2020 won the contract awarded by the government secretariat to overhaul a database and supply specific systemic and IT equipment. Dimnik is a prominent lobbyist, whose daughter owns a major supplier of medical product.

The commission, which can only handle cases not older than five years, said it did not find any violations of the integrity and prevention of corruption act in Janša's contacts with the two businessmen, contracting with Integralis or relocation of the headquarters of the consulate in Mauritius.

The watchdog said not every contact between public and private officials can automatically be defined as lobbying. It has also not received no complaint about suspected lobbying against Janša or other concrete information in that respect.

However, the watchdog has established certain corruption risks and a suspicion of violation with respect to the National Review Commission's powers in the case of public procurement by the government secretariat.

09 Feb 2022, 12:50 PM

STA, 9 February 2022 - Prime Minister Janez Janša self-tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. He posted a photo of a positive test result on Twitter, saying he had all the symptoms typical of Covid-19, although mild.

Janša said that his family had successfully avoided coronavirus for two years until Tuesday, when his two sons had self-tested positive, while his test had been negative.

See the latest data on COVID and Slovenia

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