An appeal for freedom of speech in Slovenia
citizen Vitogoj Kodarin is now into the twelfth year of his battle
to open an independent private radio network in Slovenia.
Investigations into the case by Domenico Pacitti and JUST
Response have revealed rising systematic corruption in
Slovenia beyond the external perception. Domenico Pacitti and JUST
Response urgently invite Janez Drnovsek, President of
Slovenia, and Premier Anton Rop to take real action to
combat corruption in Slovenia, promote free speech and allow Radio
Mega.1 to broadcast.
open letter to:-
Janez Drnovsek, President of Slovenia
Anton Rop, Premier of Slovenia
and to the two million citizens of Slovenia
We respectfully request - 1) that you urgently launch an
earnest political campaign to combat white-collar corruption
in Slovenia before the rest of the population becomes similarly
infected by this negative example; and 2) that you provide a
positive example for Slovenians on the eve of your accession to
the EU by promoting freedom of expression and allowing Radio
Mega.1 to function.
is an international human rights journal concerned with the
worldwide monitoring and promotion of the basic principles of
truth, justice, freedom and democracy. We wish to express our full
support for Mr Vitogoj Kodarin, whose ongoing 11-year battle to
open an independent private radio network in Koper, Capodistria
has now become also a question of principle.
December 1992 Vitogoj Kodarin attempted to fulfil a lifelong dream
by formally setting up Radio Mega.1. One month later the Slovenian
ministry for information granted a licence. But corrupt
administrative and political practices prevented the radio from
Kodarin did not have the right connections and was unwilling to
pay backhanders for something that was his legal right as a
Slovenian citizen. Finally, three years ago the radio was struck
off the official register against Mr Kodarin's will.
Kodarin's efforts to obtain justice have fallen on deaf ears, with
two distinguished exceptions: Dr Sandra Basic-Hrvatin, the
chairwoman of the Slovenian telecommunications council, and Mr
Janez Drobnic, an opposition member of the Slovenian parliament.
Basic-Hrvatin told JUST Response that she was approached by
Radio Mega.1 two years ago and began to investigate their case.
She confirmed that she had helped them raise the issue before the
Slovenian parliamentary petitions commission.
Mr Drobnic has just raised the question in the Slovenian
parliament. But the governing coalition has blocked any decision
on the matter.
Kodarin said: "My case confirms that in Slovenia everything
is possible for some and nothing is possible for others. Here in
Slovenia we have one man who possesses no fewer than 36 radio
frequencies. The sad truth is that Slovenia has become a sort of
Stalinist banana republic."
Slovenia is the only ex-Yugoslavia country with a corruption
prevention bureau. It was set up in 2001 on Council of Europe
recommendations. But it has been strongly criticised by its former
director Bostjan Penko on account of its dependence on the
cooperation of other government bodies.
Pacitti, the editor of JUST Response human rights journal,
said: "Mr Kodarin's case highlights the true nature and
extent of corruption in Slovenia on the eve of its accession to
the EU. A consistently negative example to citizens by corrupt
politicians can have devastating consequences. The disservice
these people are doing to their country is inestimable. Corrupt
politics, corrupt nation, corrupt soul."
Note: JUST Response published this appeal on March 24 2004.