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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Jože Biščak: The Fourth Branch of Government

I do not know where the expression ‘fourth branch of government’ for the media comes from, nor am I interested. Such a name is complete nonsense. The media is not in power, the media does not rule, but it certainly influences public opinion. However, this power that the media has does not mean actual political power to rule. The media is at most an anti-authority, a counterweight to the current government, its counter-power. The media therefore reports and examines whether the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government act in accordance with what people have entrusted to and conferred on or whether they abuse their power. The fact that this expression was established in Europe in particular, that the media is the fourth branch of power, is an attempt to give it importance. On the other hand, this is a perfect oxymoron, similar to that of non-governmental organizations, which are far from being independent from the government, since they are almost entirely financed from the budget.

 

However, it is obvious that some would like to return to the times of socialist authorities co-financing the media, especially the prints facing a drop in sales, which are also helpful and friendly to a certain political option. Thus, not only a week ago, the director of the newspaper Delo, Nataša Luša, wrote a few things that the state should do for the print media: from subsidizing jobs and distribution to a “fairer” distribution of the money from advertising of the state-owned companies. She wrote this in the introductory part of the paper, overcome with gratitude for the professionalism, relevance and critical approach of her media house. They will not survive otherwise, she said. True, the print media sales are dropping in Slovenia, with rare exceptions (among them is Demokracija), because people do not feel like paying for the newspapers anymore. This is partly due to the fact that the news is increasingly being sought on online media and social networks, and partly it is because people no longer trust the media. However, this is neither the fault of the state nor of the consumers. If a newspaper operates at a loss because there are not enough readers and advertisers, the owner has two options: to recapitalize it and allow it to continue, or to simply abolish it. There would be no harm done if a newspaper stopped coming out. It would be sad, but that’s how the market works. If the readers do not buy or watch it anymore, because they find it to be a waste of money and time, the state should not interfere, least of all subsidize it with the money of all net taxpayers, or even worse – to finance it to the extent that it would be free.

So, I am just waiting for someone to say (sooner or later, it is going to happen) that getting a free copy of the newspaper is a human right. Not any paper, but one that suits the ruling ideology, based on cultural Marxism and multiculturalism of today. The European guidelines already exist. For example, there is a recommendation that journalists should not report on the nationality of the offenders. Of course, this is because (today) the most prevalent criminals in Europe are the (illegal) migrants. Therefore, the media that reports on this is disruptive and needs to be abolished. Especially Demokracija and Nova24TV. Since their reporting on the danger of illegal immigrants and on the commitment that Europe belongs to Europeans, would mean spreading hatred. The public servants of the national television were particularly engaged in this line of thinking when attacking our advertisers to stop advertising. This is done by the same public institution, which we are forced to pay in the form of an RTV contribution. In this case, it is in fact an extension of power, it is truly a fourth branch of government. Contrary to the Demokracija Magazine, which must fight for its readers and survive on the market.

The Demokracija Magazine does not want to be the fourth branch of power, its power resides in the free individual. Therefore, we have never claimed that we are independent. We are dependent on the readers that take the money from their own wallets each week (as long as the state leaves them some for their work) to buy a magazine. We do not force anyone to read it, we do not force anyone to buy it. Their free choice bothers our competition. Otherwise, we would not be persecuted by law enforcement authorities and sent inspectors; and they would not accuse us to government officials. They would confront us on the market. Let the better one win and endure.

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