Slovenian journalist accused of disseminating classified information in articles about neo-Nazi group
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists, has reiterated its call on Slovenian prosecutors to drop the criminal charges against Anuška Delić, an investigative reporter for Delo, a leading Slovenian daily following a court hearing this morning.
During the hearing, Delić defended herself in the court against the accusation of violating Article 260 of the Slovenian Criminal Code on the dissemination of classified information.
In 2011, Anuška Delić wrote a series of articles, just before the Slovenian parliamentary elections, in which she uncovered alleged connections between the Slovenian neo-Nazi group “Blood and Honour” and members of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS).
The Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency (SOVA) claimed that the information Delić used had been illegally acquired from its files.
Delić argued that she has lawfully obtained the information published in her articles through public records such as company registers, public databases and archives.
Delić said, "The accusation against me is ridiculous. The information published in my articles was already in the public domain."
"The identity of the leader of Blood and Honour is no secret to the public. Pictures of him were already published on the SDS's public Facebook profile and its official site."
Delić went on to present the prosecutor with various investigative skills that are common to all journalists, from the investigative journalism books she brought to the court.
Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, the EFJ President said, "It is clear that the charges against Anuška Delić are baseless. The authorities should immediately drop the charges."
The EFJ raised her case to the Council of Europe (CoE) and submitted it on the official platform launched by the CoE to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. A letter was also sent to the representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament. Tanja Fajon, the Slovenian MEP also showed her support to Delić in the previous hearing and urged the authorities to drop the case.
Delić could face up to three years in prison if prosecuted. The next hearing is scheduled for 15 April when the final statement of defence will be presented. The date of the final ruling is yet to be confirmed.