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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Exposed journalistic-political incest

By: Dr Metod Berlec

“We are sad that heavy urbanisation is taking place in an EU member state,” shouted Helena Milinković, the president of the strike committee of the RTVS journalists’ unions and the RTVS Journalists’ Unions Coordination, in front of the RTV Slovenia building at the end of May. At the same time, like most of the striking journalists and political activists, she wore a T-shirt with the inscription “NO ONE’S FARMHANDS #ZAjavnoRTV”. She justified the reasons for the strike of well-paid journalists, TV presenters and editors with alleged pressures and disqualifications. “We have nothing else left. We are here because we want to stop aggression and enable freedom of speech! We are fighting for the existence of public media. Our main demand is the depoliticisation of public RTV”. Here, together with other speakers, she asserted that the strikers demand editorial and institutional autonomy, respect for professional, programming, and ethical standards, and that they do not want to be a propaganda election machine for a certain political option. “We are public RTV, we are nobody’s farmhands!” Milinković shouted at the end of the protest, amid thunderous applause.

Whose servants they are was clearly demonstrated last week, when Petra Bezjak Cirman, the professional president of the workers’ council of RTV Slovenia, who in recent months was also a speaker at such protests in front of RTV, was appointed as acting director of the Office of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for Communication (Ukom). Her husband, the editor-in-chief of the web portal Necenzurirano, was praised by the president of Gibanje Svoboda party and Prime Minister Robert Golob with the words: “Primož Cirman is one of the best, if not the best, investigative journalist in Slovenia. If he ever wants to, I will hire him anywhere.” With this, he responded to unofficial information that Primož Cirman, the editor of the portal Necenzurirano.si, was to become the editor-in-chief of the web portal Siol.net in the fall. Of course, after the government in the near future will politically change the management of Telekom Slovenija, which owns the company TSmedia, within which the aforementioned portal operates. And why does Golob like Cirman so much? Probably because it is a portal that systematically brought down the previous Janša’s government with various “research stories”. His “revelations” were widely quoted by journalists from RTV Slovenia and POP TV in their news broadcasts. On a daily basis, we heard “according to the web portal Necenzurirano…” or “the news was first published by the web portal Necenzurirano” and the like.

Already before that, Golob awarded two journalists of the web portal Necenzurirano for their media services. For the so-called media murders of political competition, read SDS. Tomaž Modic became an expert associate of the investigative parliamentary commission, which investigates suspicions of illegal financing of party election campaigns before this year’s parliamentary elections. That is, the commission that wants to deal with the media, which are supposed to be close to SDS, which also means with the magazine Demokracija. He was chosen as a colleague by the chairwoman of the commission from the ranks of Gibanje Svoboda party, MP Mojca Šetinc Pašek, who also entered politics from the media, specifically from TV Slovenija, where she always worked in the interest of Kučan’s network. And the long-time journalist Vesna Vuković has taken over the management of public relations and communications at the largest government party, the Gibanje Svoboda. Some time ago, the online portal Požareport revealed that Robert Golob’s Gen-I company allegedly transferred more than one hundred thousand euros to the company founded by Vesna Vuković which she managed in the years 2017-2021. To this day, it is still not entirely clear for what services the company supposedly transferred this money. Apparently, it was a “business consulting”. Be that as it may, last week it became quite evident that the trio from the Necenzurirano portal were rewarded for their media services by the current left-wing government. Read: for systematic attacks on Janša’s SDS and planned collapse of the previous centre-right government. For the “presstitution”, as we could read on social networks.

The above-described examples of the coupling of left-wing journalist activists with the politicians of the transitional left are particularly problematic because throughout the transition period, and especially in recent years (especially during the third Janša’s government), these same people, together with the Association of Journalists of Slovenia, have been talking about independence, the autonomy and professionalism of the journalistic profession and the pressures on journalists, media, and editors. How independent and professional they are. In reality, in practice, however, they are anything but that, as they have been working as journalists and editors for all these years in the interest of one political option. When Golob took them to work, they unwittingly exposed themselves completely. Revealed. Today, their past actions, writings and reporting are much more comprehensible to us. Perhaps this is even a good thing for the Slovenian media space. Well, someone will probably blame me for that, because you also work for one political option and the like. Yes, but we at the editorial office of Demokracija magazine do not pretend like they do, and we publicly admit that we lead a centre-right editorial policy. And of course, we are much more than a kind of “newsletter”, as we defend the values on which the Slovenian state was founded, which are the “value centre of the Slovenian nation”. In addition, we also truly believe in these values…

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