Get Rid Of Him. Expeditiously.

Threatening journalists is not cricket. Regardless of whether you’re drunk as a skunk, in a middle of a bad spell or the journo in question is just plain obnoxious, there are lines you don’t cross and that’s one of them. Doubly so if you happen to be the son of freshly re-elected mayor who has a bad case of love-hate relationship with one Jaka Elikan of Finance newspaper.

Jaka Elikan explaining why he can’t accept the apology in full

Jure Janković, son of mayor Zoran Janković committed such a transgression Sunday last, when Elikan approached him (apparently more than once) to ask him about the state of his construction and retail company which was owned by Zoran Janković prior to his becoming mayor in 2006. I don’t mean to bore you with details, suffice it so say that earlier in the night Janković, jr. refused to answer questions, but Elikan apparently returned later in the night (with a colleague in tow) to press junior further on this. The kid seems to have lost his nerve, turned to his colleague and told him to “kill this guy“, meaning Elikan. Seeing this, mayor Janković intervened and sent everyone packing, but the deed was done and the next day shit hit the fan.

After the press and some political elements had a field day with this, Jure Janković apologized to Elikan who in the mean time pressed charges and added that he said the words in a state of drunkenness and agitation and that he didn’t mean them seriously, while mayor Janković issued a statement to the effect that if Elikan felt threatened he is right to press charges and that what his son did was wrong. Both Jankovićs also mentioned that Elikan was in their opinion out of line and rude. But that in itself is no excuse to ignore him, let alone threaten him. Despite what seems like (and I’m guessing here) shared animosity between Elikan and Jankovićs, despite his possibly objectionable approach, fact remains that the guy was doing his job. And that’s where the buck stops.

Having said that, the fact that Elikan did not accept the apology in full, saying that neither father nor son understand the role of the media in the society, does show a certain lack of grace on the journalist’s part as well. But then again, grace is not a job requirement in this line of work. There are ways of dealing with unfriendly press, but threats, no matter how irresponsible or not serious they were. It’s one thing to see Sylvester Stallone say “Get rid of him. Expeditiously!” in a sub-par film, quite another to say it for real. That is just uncool.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

8 thoughts on “Get Rid Of Him. Expeditiously.”

  1. The guy was doing his job? At 11PM at a party? That’s some really thorough investigative journalism! 😀

    The way I see it, the journalist acted as a rookie paparazzi. Now if paparazzis are the last stronghold of freedom of the press, then you’re right.

    It was plain wrong when Sean Penn – in his youthful days – broke a few paparazzi cameras. But to say that he didn’t understand the mighty ‘role of the media in the society’ is a huge overstatement.

    Let’s not blow this one out of proportion. From what I see, some of our journos can’t wait to become the guild’s martyrs.

  2. Correct on all counts. But what I’m trying to say is that you don’t go around threatening journalists, no matter how unbecoming their conduct might be. Not just because it is sure to attract a shit-load of bad press, but also because this may very well become the norm, which will then be used to intimidate journos for real.

  3. Of course. Junior made a stupid mistake, got the police on his back and apologized (the latter was probably advised by his lawyers). I’m a bit skeptical if the charge would even stand in court, but that’s a different story altogether.

    But if I’m gonna keep seeing further full page reports on the matter in Finance and other media I’m gonna puke. The journalist didn’t deserve what he got but he got what he came there for – something to write about. And that something wasn’t necessarily Junior’s wayward business practices, if you catch my drift. 😉

  4. Very much true, both paragraphs. It’s just that if the media (and Bob™ knows I have plenty to say against Slovene media) choose to dig ever newer lows of journalism, that’s their problem. And a problem for their credibility. But the moment this becomes an excuse for either faked or real threats, then we’re all fucked.

    And yes, the thing was blown out of proportion on how it happened. But not on what had happened.

  5. In my opinion mayor dealt with the situation wisely. Those who do not support him are unlikely to change their minds anyway and vice versa.

  6. Janković junior made a very stupid mistake, he is not mature enaugh yet to handle media low-blows. The press guy is an __write-your-favourite-synonym-for-an-idiot_. He just seeks for his own publicity no matter if it is good or bad. On my opinion he is exactly what a general problem of modern media is. Creating a bad carma, he’ll have to live with.
    Janković dealt with the situation wisely, but the damage was done.

  7. Nice post.

    I might sound a bit of a pussy, but I would actually be scared of a threat from that guy. He seems to be dealing with lots of shady people. Also, mark howZoki specifically dais that the guy Jure talked to was not his friend, but the DJ at this party. My (completely unsubstatiated and biased) guss is that it was a real leather-jacket gorilla.

  8. From what I heard (and I stress I wasn’t there at the time of the incident) the person in question was the infamous DJ Pero (infamous for his average music selection), who was indeed on the scene.

    But as far as threats are concerned, I can tell you from personal experience that it doesn’t necessarily take a whole lot to get scared or at least agitated. Happened to me once, in a pub, albeit in a bit more direct manner than this Janković vs. Elikan episode. Wasn’t pretty.

    Anyways, what junior did was wrong no matter how you look at it.

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