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Monday, August 15, 2022

Gibanje Svoboda party over media freedom

By: Dr Metod Berlec

In this year’s Demokracia magazine, we focus on the media attack by the ruling coalition on the private television Nova24TV and the management of the public Radiotelevisija Slovenija. The pre-election announcement made by President Gibanje Svoboda and the current Prime Minister of Slovenia, Robert Golob, at the Republic Square in Ljubljana in mid-April (before the elections) is coming true. At that time, at the public forum, which was organised by the so-called civil initiative Glas ljudstva, he said: “The key thing is to get hatred out of the public space and to simply abolish the media, which are party affiliated and with capital of unknown origin.” At the same time, the online portal of the Nova24TV television website wrote with horror that Robert Golob wants to cancel Nova24TV, which is “pure fascism”, and somewhat cynically asked whether Golob might have in mind the cancellation of the Necenzurirano portal, which was created with the “capital of the unknown origin”.

Of course, he did not have this portal in mind, but Nova24TV, which contributes significantly to media pluralism in Slovenia with its reporting. This is shown by the establishment of a parliamentary investigative commission, which is supposed to investigate the financing of political propaganda in the media. At the end of June, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia ordered a “parliamentary investigation into the political responsibility of public office holders due to suspicion of illegal financing of party campaigns for the last parliamentary elections through the activities of media publishers owned or partially owned, or through the influence of political parties, members of party bodies and media publishers owned by entities from abroad”. In addition, they will investigate suspicions of illegal influence by holders of public office on the publication of advertising content of the state administration, public institutes, public agencies, and public funds, as well as companies with capital investment of the state, managed by the Slovenian State Holding, in the media published by the aforementioned publishers. In short, it is an investigative commission that will primarily be aimed at dealing with Nova24TV, which disrupts the monopoly of the transitional left in this area with its informative and socio-political broadcasts. At the same time, the media or newsletters, which operate according to their dictates, are directly calling on certain state institutions (for example, the Agency for Communication Networks and Services) to ban the broadcasting of Nova24TV.

Another thing that the ruling coalition wants to achieve as a priority is the complete takeover of RTV Slovenia. For this reason, the government approved the proposal for amendments and additions to the Act on RTVS. In doing so, it proposed to the National Assembly the adoption of the bill “under an urgent procedure in order to prevent difficult-to-repair consequences for democracy and the functioning of the state”. According to them, RTVS, with its status, mission, and constitutionally protected function, guarantees the right to public information, which is the first condition for the existence of democracy and thus of the country. Of course, if RTVS is really plural, but not in the way the ruling coalition imagines, which wants political unanimity, as it was in the leaden seventies of the last century. As expected, therefore, the parliamentary majority approved the government’s proposal and brought the amendment to the law to parliament through an emergency procedure. However, according to the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, this is possible only if the law is necessary due to the interests of the security or defence of the state, to eliminate the consequences of natural disasters, or to prevent difficult-to-correct consequences for the functioning of the state. In the case of RTVS, it is not about any of these, but only about the fact that the ruling coalition wants to replace the leadership of RTVS, which it does not like.

Therefore, the new law introduces a unified RTVS council instead of the existing programming and supervisory council; it appoints a four-member board, which would be led by the president of the board. And who should appoint the new “depoliticised” council of RTVS? Of course, first and foremost, employees of a public institution, representatives of various institutions, and the so-called civil society. All this is completely in the hands of the transitional left here. In accordance with the instructions of the Italian left-wing thinker Antonio Gramsci, who claimed that the “existing bourgeois hegemony” must be broken through “political and ideological activity in the fields of culture, religion, morality, science and art, and instead of bourgeois, capitalist views establish ideas and values ​​that are in line with Marxist doctrine and outlook on life”. In short, if we do not stop this government madness with a referendum, the cultural hegemony of the left in Slovenia will be even greater than it is now, when democracy and media freedom are in fact threatened in the country. They are threatened by self-proclaimed freemen…

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