By: Dr. Janez Remškar
After 30 years of independent Slovenia, I find that the transition to a society where people with different interests, with the help of political parties, can form a society where equality and meritocracy will be established, has not been realised. We only succeeded as an independent state, as the central project of Demos. This happened due to the equal will of 88 percent of the participants in the plebiscite. As a member of Demos in the 1990-1992 Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, I emphasise that the Communists disguised themselves as the Party of Democratic Renewal (SDP), the Socialist Youth Union (ZSMS), and the Socialist Party, together with the then President, and were forced to accept the struggle for Slovenia’s independence. On the other hand, with the privatisation legislation adopted at the will of the former “self-managers”, after the government was taken over by dr. Janez Drnovšek, they managed to keep in their hands a large part of a capital, formerly social property, and thus also the largest part of political power. We have the consequences of this today. In our country, the political as well as the media space, with the help of this capital, is unbalanced and still strongly inclined to the left. In any case, the political balance, after 50 years of absolute communist rule, with their cowardice under the auspices of the secret police, was impossible to enforce without lustration. However, this could not be done if we wanted at least a short-term political consensus in the pursuit of an independent Slovenia. Our society is thus still “marked” today with the heirs of the UDBA, supporters of the Communist Party who enjoyed privileges during communism. They want to keep it going! This is also a cause of resistance to urgent changes in the judiciary, the media, education!
The events of the early 1990s still result in great power through privatised capital, the political left, and related media, including the central so-called independent media.
For the last year, I have been horrified, almost daily, by the conduct of the political opposition and the mainstream media during the pandemic. The latter is being exploited in the struggle for power by the left-wing politics and its pro-media. In doing so, people’s lives mean nothing to them. They follow the principle: the worse for people, the better for us.
RTV and cultural struggle
Everything that the expert group in the fight against the virus and the government is doing to keep the economy afloat in order to ensure at least as much sustainable conditions in the country is wrong in the eyes of the opposition. The media make an effort and get commentators who only criticise and oppose the government’s measures, but do not know how to propose other, safer measures. They are against wearing masks, they are against closing schools, they are against restricting movement, they are for closing the economy. Then how do they envision solutions during a pandemic? Unfortunately, RTV SLO is not capable of a critical distance from the stupid, harmful claims of influential individuals, including anonymous people. The impression is that every claim, no matter how stupid, is right for them. Of course, it is right that the authorities are under the watchful eye of the media, which must be aware that the weight of their words is great. As a doctor, I commonly hear from patients that they considered what they heard on the TV or the radio to be the truth (“because they said it on television”). This, of course, is known to editors and many journalists who are real socio-political workers, as in the days of communism. No one should be surprised why there is such a fight for seats in the Programme Council and the Council of RTV SLO. It is about who will have the power of influence and how they will influence the daily news programme. This programme is far from being balanced. This, of course, cannot be demanded for media that are in private hands, however, the owner and his/her political definition, must be known to the public.
Official figures contradict the findings of the mainstream media
Next, I would like to point out the distortion, the untruthfulness of the words of the opposition, and the harmful (for the safety of people during a pandemic) conduct of the mainstream media. This is easily demonstrated on the basis of WHO data on the functioning of states during a pandemic. In our country, the opposition, and to a large extent also the media (until last October and in some cases even now) prove every day that lives mean nothing to them. They are doing everything they can to provoke the already present discomfort among the people and their opposition to the government. The latter should allegedly act with “repression”, disregarding the profession, etc.
To be specific with the data on covid19, to stop the manipulation of the opposition and the media by deception, I reviewed the data on Our World In Data: Policy Response To The Coronavirus Pandemic. Data for the whole world and also for individual regions show the actual situation and the time sequence of taking measures by country from January 2020 to April 2021. They are listed as: the first index of severity of measures in each country and then: school and business closures, cancellations of public events and gatherings, restrictions on movement, wearing face masks, coordinated information of people, travel restrictions, testing and contact tracking, and vaccination.
I urge all readers who can do this to watch this, so that the representatives of the opposition and “independent media”, such as RTV SLO, do not continue to mislead and manipulate you! Just for a taste, I am quoting the first graph under the heading: Government Stringency Index – this is the sharpness of government action in Europe, which covers measurements of nine restrictive measures in the period from January 2020 to April 2021. By reviewing the data (moving the cursor left, right), the cry of the left wing and the reporting of RTV SLO on the repression of our government during the pandemic are immediately and completely denied.
A brief look tells us that Slovenia did not have the strictest restrictive measures in any month in 2020, nor in 2021. So talking about repression is unreliable, and summarising opposition data on national television is extremely unprofessional, and I can assume it is also purposeful; to create an anti-government mood among people in need.
Dear addressees! Opposition and media! You are harming people, misleading them, directing them to oppose government action, thereby increasing the chance of more people being infected and dying, and causing the prolongation of measures that are uncomfortable for everyone!
Janez Remškar is a doctor and publicist.