The question in the title is not merely rhetorical. What is IPI? What does it represent? What is it advocating? Theese questions are reasoned, because this writing of yours (HERE) is pure political pamphlet that has very little to do with truth and facts. It is a text full of deceptions, manipulations and lies, and does not reflect the real situation in Slovenia. It is a monologue that doesn’t want to hear the other side. Obviously, you are very one-sidedly informed, probably by the Slovenian Journalists Association (DNS) and its members.
First of all, I apologize for my awkwardness, maybe the rudeness, that I didn’t introduce myself right at the beginning of the letter. I’m correcting my mistake now. My name is Joze Biscak, editor-in-chief of Democracija magazine and director of the company Nova Obzorja, which publishes the magazine. And Nova Obzorja is appearing in your story as part of a media system “built” by the conservative-liberal SDS party.
I will not be an attorney for the SDS party which is our minority owner. They will answer your manipulations and lies for themselves if they wish. However, I have the right to say something about journalism, journalists and media freedom in Slovenia. Journalism is a honourable profession, it is a privilege. It is is beneficial for every society to inform citizens, being open, express opinions and views. The absence of different opinions leads each society into a cultural darkness; intellectualism, which is open just to a single political philosophy, is doomed to extinction. In Slovenia, the space for conservative (right) writers and thinkers is shrinking. The left (openly supported by the association you are referring to) does not stand the tolerance and tends to accuse everyone who has a different value orientation not only of a verbal delinquency, but even of a thought crime. They acknowledge just one worldview, and that is progressivism. They label everything else as hate speech. And dear Mr. Oliver Money-Kyrle, in Slovenia, the toxic environment is solely for conservative media and journalists, so please don’t generalize and find out about the facts, do not fall on DNS propaganda. The journalists and media that are complaining to you have 95 percent of the media space in Slovenia (this is my estimation), getting as much as 99.9 percent of advertising money.
In such media monopol, journalism in Slovenia has lost all principles, and hypocrisy has become quite common for “progressive” media. If anyone disputes this, be it politicians or the general public, he is labeled as intolerant. Ordinary people who condemn this situation on social networks and interpret the world and the events around them differently have been labeled as “uneducated crowd” by this progressive media mainstream. And those words were said on public television, which according to your writing is allegedly endangered by the new center-right government. This is not journalism, it is the propaganda of unilateral thinking and the decline of society. And if anyone is inhibiting this, it is the media that IPI has taken to defende. That is a more shameful act than I can imagine.
You are writing that these journalists in Slovenia are receiving a wave of offensive word and online campaigns. Ask them where they were, when I and the journalists of Democracija magazine (where I am an editor), were offended and attacked. Let me list you how they call me: »Tramp, rasist, media rug, mentally retarded pig, fascist, latent pus, intolerant, jansist, inhuman, collaborator, islamophob, chetnik, extremist, xenophob …« Friendly, isnt’t it? But I take it as part of the journalistic profession. We also received death threats, that we will be impaled on the sticks.
Due to a different worldview, in the magazine Demokracija we do not only receive threats and insults from strangers on the streets, discredits and criminal charges. Let me tell you that one of the charges against the magazine and myself was made by the Slovenian Association of Journalists, the organization you are talking about. Why? Because of the allegedly controversial cover that talked about migration and the inconvenience that illegal migrants bring with them. Because of this, I was questioned at the police station. I’m asking you, is it a crime, if we have a different view on migration? Is it a crime to warn that there are dangers? And I’m asking you, is it the job of the Press Society to press charges?
Further on. We were also exposed to the open threats of the former left-center government led by Marjan Sarec. I want to ask you, did the DNS perhaps inform you that in the autumn of 2018, Sarec had recommended to the management of state-owned enterprises that they should not advertise in the media which allegedly are spreading intolerance? Among these was Democracy. This was not only a direct attack on freedom of speech and expression, it was a direct threat of abuse of power. And what did DNS do then? It applauded the prime minister! This was one of the most shameful acts in the history of Slovenian journalism and the most vicious abuse of power to intimidate journalists of Democracija. Mr. Sarec’s call was scandalous, his statement was the worst attack on freedom of expression after Slovenia gained independence and was also in direct conflict with the Constitution. And instead of condemning such attacks on freedom and democracy, the DNS applauded him. They were referring to the alleged hate speech. You will probably agree that only a court can condemn you for allegedly offensive words.
No, I am not a member of the Slovenian Journalists Association (DNS), whose members write to you today and complain about their “problems”. I was, but it is a long time ago. And you know why I am not anymore? In the early 1990s, a group of journalists on the Delo newspaper, which included Danilo Slivnik (deceased), Vinko Vasle (retired), Vesna R. Marincic (deceased), Igor Guzelj (retired), and me (the only active member of the group that became known as Slivnik’s squad), were discovering how “red directors” (communist directors who remained in their positions after democratic processes and who changed from socialist to market economists) steal social and state assets at the time. They attacked us and threatened our lives, but at that time the DNS sided with those authorities who made the stealing possible. The then DNS president Marjan Sedmak, with his raised hand, walked down the hallways of Delo, telling us how they will put us all in prison. That was the real “toxic atmosphere” you mention.
And one more thing. That DNS did so is quite understandable. This association was founded by the communists on October 22nd, 1944, at the founding assembly in Crnomelj, and many members later cooperated with the secret police, known as the UDBA (similar to the Stasi or NKDV), under the totalitarian communist regime. Freethinking journalistic colleagues (as many as they were) have been persecuted by them, and these habits were not broken after the democratic processes and the first democratic elections in 1990. Even today, DNS is a remnant of a totalitarian era, it is a markedly biased and completely left-wing journalistic society, which does not convey different opinions.
There are a whole bunch of nonsense, illogicality and incitement in your writing and they more reminiscent of Goebbels or Stalin’s special propaganda war. Democracija magazine is a conservative magazine, and we uphold these values. We are a big advocate of free speech, which the people you refer to deny us! Simply because we understand free speech in absolute terms, because we believe that free speech there is or there is not. There is no intermediate route.Because of these clear and principled positions, we have been also subject to pogrom by the Slovenian left-central government until recently.
It is precisely the hatred of progressives towards different opinions that is what we must fight against, freedom of speech must not and can not be sanctioned by the state. And this is exactly what the media and journalists are advocating: to sanction by law those who think differently, those who do not broaden the progressive agenda. If we renounce the principles of free speech, it will end with civilization as we know it.
And just by the way. The Blaz Zgaga whom you mention is absolutely safe in Slovenia. No one endangers his life, he freely shares ideas and interprets his views, he is guaranteed the right to write and express anything. But he will have to get used to the angry and sharp public response that his writing causes. And above all, he will have to learn that the critics can criticize back.