Nova24 director Boris Tomašič. (Photograph: Boris Tomašič)

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Slovenian police raid ‘politically motivated’, Nova24 chief says

"They are trying to save their situation, that's all," the director said. "Polls are showing they will lose hard."


The Slovenian police raid of media outlet Nova24‘s offices was “a totally political inquiry” that “has nothing to do with the real police work”, its director Boris Tomašić told Brussels Signal.

Slovenian police confiscated Tomašić’s’ computer and telephone during a raid on both his home and the Nova24 offices on May 29, just days before the European Parliament elections.

Despite this, the director claimed that the outlet planned to push ahead with its elections coverage as planned.

“We are preparing for elections like nothing happened,” he said.

Tomašić added that being without his electronic devices poses challenges in covering the run-up to the EP elections, which is likely to see gains made by the country’s opposition that his station is sympathetic towards.

“I can’t work without [the devices],” he said.

“You can understand [the difficulties] as a journalist, to have no contacts, nothing. And I can’t get it back.”

He also claimed that Slovenian authorities had previously not pursued a man who had sent him a death threat six months ago.

Tomašić said the text message threat read: “I should punch you in the face and put bullets in your head.”

The Nova24 chief said he received an online note from prosecutors on May 31 saying they would not pursue the case.

“The police said, ‘It’s nothing, he’s old and it’s not really a problem,’” Tomašić claimed.

Following the raid, supporters are set to hold a rally backing Nova24 on June 1, he added.

“Five thousand or more people will come to support us. We have a lot of supporters. They are also paying each month, giving donations to us.”

Nova24 was the “only significant media that is sympathetic to the opposition”, said Janez Janša, leader of the country’s largest opposition group the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS).

Milan Zver, an MEP with the SDS — which is part of the European People’s Party — said the raid represented a “severe breach of independence” of the media as well as a “political misuse of the police”.

The SDS leads the ruling Freedom Movement, helmed by Prime Minister Robert Golob, by 10 percentage points in the latest polls in the race for Slovenia’s nine European Parliament seats.

“Predictions are that the SDS will get four and altogether the opposition will get five or six from nine and the Government parties will get only three,” Tomašić said.

Police also searched State-owned telecoms company Telekom Slovenije, where a parliamentary inquiry claimed eight former employees paid Nova24 too much in a previous contract.

“The contract they say is a problem, it was signed by the manager before me. I wasn’t manager at that time,” Tomašić pointed out.

“They turned over my house, where I live, everything,” he said in what he claimed was a “‘classic fishing” expedition by police.

“I’m not suspected — I’m not the person who is accused of doing any crime.”

The raid, he said, was part of a pre-election crackdown on a media outlet critical of the government.

“I am host of the most popular political show in Slovenia, where I am criticising the current government,” Tomašić said.

“They are trying to save their situation, that’s all,” he concluded. “Polls are showing they will lose hard.”