November 25, 2020


Vienna, 01/12/2011

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Oragnisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), condemns death threats against the investigative reporters Blaz Zgaga and Matej Surc, which appeared on 19 November 2011 on a political web portal. Numerous anonymous readers insulted, and physically threatened, the two journalists – who are the authors of three books on the arms trade in Slovenia.

The trilogy authored by the duo focuses on the weapons trade during the wars in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The name of the trilogy is: “In the Name of the State”. The first volume appeared in June 2011, under the title “In the Name of the State: Selling” (V imenu države: Odprodaja) and the second was released in October 2011 under the title: “In the Name of the State: Resale” (V imenu države: Preprodaja). The third is scheduled to appear in 2012. It will be called “In the Name of the State: Cover-up” (V imenu države: Prikrivanje). The investigation revealed, among other things, the alleged role played by some Slovene politicians in weapons deals.

In November 2011, the Central European Initiative (CEI) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) awarded Zgaga and Surc with a special investigative journalism diploma for their trilogy.

In September 2008, Zgaga received a death threat related to an investigative project focusing on a corruption scandal known as the ‘Patria’ affair. Finnish Television cooperated in the research. Although the death threat was reported to the police, the perpetrators could not be found due to a lack of proper technology, according to police sources at the time.

SEEMO Secretary-General Oliver Vujovic said: “I urge the Slovenian police authorities to find those responsible for these death threats. Freedom of expression cannot exist with death threats. On the other hand, I urge the web portal administrator to adhere to international standards. The making of death threats is a criminal offence.”