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Parliamentary questions
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18 April 2019
Question for written answer E-002117-19
to the Commission
Rule 130
Milan Zver (PPE)

 Subject:  Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec preventing opposition media from operating
 Answer in writing 

In November 2018, Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec called on companies which are partly or majority state-owned to stop advertising in media which spread hate speech.

We put three questions to the Commission concerning this matter. In January 2019, it responded, but unfortunately did not answer any of the questions we asked. It stated merely that Article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights guarantees the right to freedom of expression without interference by public authority, and mentioned its report on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA.

The Slovenian Association of Journalists and Commentators has described the Prime Minister’s action as an attempt to use his political power to block opposition media.

Does the Commission agree that it is for the law enforcement authorities and courts to decide whether media reporting constitutes hate speech, and that, under no circumstances, can the limits of free speech be decided, on a subjective basis, by the Prime Minister or representatives of the parties in government (which is what is frequently happening in Slovenia)?

Is the Prime Minister’s statement in line with the undertakings to respect the freedom and independence of the media which Slovenia gave when it joined the EU?

Does the Commission agree that the Prime Minister’s action is also an attempt to exert political influence on the business decisions made by companies, which the boards of those companies should be free to take themselves?

Original language of question: SL 
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