Court injunction backed by heavy fines silences newspaper
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||19 August 2009|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Court injunction backed by heavy fines silences newspaper, 19 August 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4a8d5464c.html [accessed 15 September 2014]|
Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the injunction issued by a Ljubljana district court on 6 August banning the daily Dnevnik to mention Italian businessman Pierpaolo Cerani as controversial or involved in corruption scandals.Dnevnik can report about him only in positive way, without mentioning his involvement in former scandals until there has been an outcome to the libel suit he has brought against the newspaper. Dnevnik could be fined 50,000 euros for every violation of the injunction up to a ceiling of 500,000 euros.
"The Slovenian courts are legalizing a form of censorship that is unacceptable in a European Union member country," Reporters Without Borders said. "Cerani can use his right of reply to defend himself. He can also, as he has already done, sue the newspaper for damages before a Slovenian court and wait for the court to issue its verdict."
"The information reported by Dnevnik already appeared in other international media without prompting any lawsuits," the press freedom organisation added. "The injunction clearly aims to prevent the media from examining important business deals, in which Cerani is trying to acquire one of Slovenia's biggest industrial groups."
Cerani, who has reportedly obtained control of three of Slovenia's biggest business groups Mercator, Lasko Brewery and Radenska, was the subject of a report in Dnevnik on 29 and 30 July. At the start of this month, Cerani's company, Iniziative Generali 96, also reportedly obtained a major stake in BoÅ¡ko Å rot's company Kolonel, which would allow him to control Slovenia's drinks industry. Thereafter, he reportedly acquired two of Slovenia's leading dailies, Delo and Vecer.
Dnevnik has also written about Cerani's links with former Italian crown prince Vittorio Emanuele and his involvement in several alleged scandals, including one involving former Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and one involving the sale of medical supplies of allegedly questionable quality to Eritrea.
"The fines that could be imposed under this injunction are completely disproportionate and directly violate the newspaper's editorial freedom," Reporters Without Borders added. "We urge the Slovenian media to support Dnevnik by continuing to publish reports about all the personalities involved in business issues of national interest. This information is a matter of vital public interest and the Slovenian courts should be protecting it."