A police officer is seen near Nova Gorica, Slovenia, on March 11, 2020. Slovenian reporter Eugenija Carl recently received a threatening letter with white powder. (AFP/Jure Makovec)

Slovenian reporter Eugenija Carl receives threatening letter with white powder

Berlin, June 8, 2020 — Slovenian authorities should conduct a quick and thorough investigation into the threats against journalist Eugenija Carl and ensure her safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On June 1, Carl, a reporter for public broadcaster RTV Slovenia, received an envelope mailed to her work address in the city of Koper, which contained a threatening letter and white powder, she wrote in a Facebook post and told CPJ via email.

The anonymous letter called Carl insulting names and said that it hoped for her death, she told CPJ.

She said that the powder gave her an allergic reaction, irritating her eyes and making her cough. Police and firefighters quarantined the TV station for several hours before determining that the substance was an irritant but was not life-threatening, her employer reported.

Carl said the letter referenced a lawsuit she had filed against Prime Minister Janez Janša. On May 21, Carl and another journalist won a defamation suit against Janša, who had referred to them as “retired prostitutes” in a 2016 tweet, according to news reports. Janša was required to pay compensation of 6,000 euros ($6,775) in the suit, according to those reports.

“Slovenian authorities must spare no effort in investigating the threats made against journalist Eugenija Carl,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said, in New York. “Authorities must take this case and other instances of threats against the press seriously, to show that the Slovenian media will not be silenced.”

Carl told CPJ that she has previously received threats, insults, and harassment on social media by Janša’s supporters. She said that she and her colleague who was also party to the Janša suit received two similar letters with white powder in 2018.

Janša was reelected to his third term as prime minister on March 3; on March 11, he published an essay entitled “War with the media,” in which he attacked RTV journalists and others, alleging that a “small circle of female editors” were working with the “deep state” to undermine him. On March 22, he tweeted that RTV was spreading lies and said that journalists at the outlet were overpaid.

CPJ emailed questions to the prime minister’s office and the press department of the Ministry of Interior, which oversees the police, and but did not receive any replies.