HR Strange But True!
February 25, 2004

Angry servers really do spit in your food--at least according to unidentified sources in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

A newspaper there recently caused an uproar by publishing an article on tipping. A bartender identified only as "Juri" was quoted as saying he once spat in the food of a rude customer before adding a big surcharge to the bill.

A stunned Mayor Edgar Savisaar fretted that the bartender's tale could harm his city's booming tourism industry and scare off foreign investors. Police, in an effort to track down the bartender, called in the reporter who wrote the article, Sergo Selder. According to him, they demanded that he reveal the identity of "Juri." When he refused, they threatened to throw him into a cell for 48 hours, confiscate his press accreditation, and charge him.

"The investigator did not seem interested in my argument that the code of ethics for journalists provides protection of the identity of sources--he only exerted pressure on me to make me name my source," Selder told Reuters.

Reuters goes on to report that the article has sent the former Soviet republic into a full-blown debate about democracy, press freedom, and police bullying.

Sources: Reuters, via Lycos

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