Šarec’s government confirmed on Tuesday’s Odmevi (TV Slovenia program) that it will carry out the announced changes in the area of media legislation. The amendment of the law on media will undoubtedly step on the toes of media that will not report agreeably, that is, pro-government. The media will have to answer for the spread of alleged hate speech.
The Culture Minister Dejan Prešiček announced that the new law on media and “hate speech” would go on public hearing in February. The minister’s announcement has already sparked a series of reactions on social networks, due to the fear that Šarec’s government aims to destroy all opposition media and is imposing media censorship.
The minister announced a more concrete action of the ministry and government in the field of culture, as his main outline for the beginning of ‘Vodnik’s year’ and his 100th day of ministering. Prešiček pointed out at the outset that the adoption of a national cultural program represents his goal, since we have not had this program for the last two years. In addition, he said that the introduction of a cultural euro for investments in cultural infrastructure is expected, i.e. the adoption of a law on the provision of funds for certain necessary programs of the Republic of Slovenia, with which € 122 million will be earmarked for the period from 2020 to 2026.
Šarec’s Government Sees the Media Legislation as Absolutely Necessary
It was possible to hear a statement in Odmevi that Šarec’s government sees the media legislation as absolutely necessary. The legislation, which is almost completed, should take into account the technological advancement of the media, which has changed and continues to change on a daily basis. The minister pointed out that “regarding hate speech, or inequality and intolerance, we have legal problems because the media inspectorate cannot impose fines”, since there is no regulation on how all media outlets and media portals should operate on the Internet, and consequently, it is not possible to impose fines. It is expected that the draft law will go on a public hearing in coordination with other ministries. Then, a discussion will be held with the media chamber and various media actors, as the minister wants the law to be harmonized and completed through dialogue.
In view of the fact that Prime Minister Šarec published an invitation to change the advertising policy of partly or majority state companies in the media that “spread hostile content” last year, it is expected that in addition to Demokracija, the biggest target of the amendments to the media legislations, will be Nova24TV. The media that is not under the control of coalition parties will also find it difficult to escape the sanctions. The fact is, it is hard to define what is hate speech and what is acceptable. Will hate speech denote everything that criticizes the positions and the work of Šarec’s government? We probably do not want to be transported back to the times of the previous system, in which a strong media censorship prevailed? How far can we go?