By: mag Andrej Aplenc
We knew that purges on the national television were coming, but when it happens, it affects a person. This should not happen in any democratic society. However, these purges are a consequence of the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia, which was commented on at the time by the leader of SDS, Janez Janša, and related to the new RTVS law. He wrote: “Concretely, as of today, the Constitutional Court no longer exists. We have a unified, free government again. A dictatorship.”
If I go back in time a bit, the current purges at RTVS are a result of the Constitutional Court’s decision to lift the temporary suspension of the new law, which had been suspended in February. So, this law began to take effect, but the court still needs to decide on its constitutionality. If I understand this correctly, the new law could still be unconstitutional, and we do not know when we will find out if it is or not. Everything that is happening now at RTVS could be constitutional or not.
So, under what government do we live, and what kind of Constitutional Court decides on important legal issues? The answer can only be that we are sliding into a soft dictatorship.
All of this, and much more, was actually expected. When it became clear that Kos’ clan had subordinated POP TV, it was also clear that the Golob’s clan would do everything to get its own television. Well, now they practically have it. How all of this will look in the future is a big question. Television viewership is a confidential matter at RTVS. As far as I know, POP TV has always been far ahead of RTVS in terms of viewership, and I would not be surprised if this gap widens. Well, maybe NOVA24TV will someday find out what is going on with all of this, but I expect that due to the political bias and lack of objectivity we will witness, viewership will continue to decline.
I will not talk about the purge at RTVS, that is, the names, but everyone can see them on the internet. It is incredible how the current government sees us as real idiots. The creation of the amendment to the RTVS Act, which is now in force, was shoddy, and some civil society groups turned it into a jumble. Now, we do not know if the amendment is constitutional or not, yet it is being enforced. In addition to the purges, the consequences will, of course, include one-party propaganda, as in the previous regime, with the aim of brainwashing Slovenians.
This is welcomed by the current government. Economic growth is stalling; in February, the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia reported that the economy grew by 5.4%, but now they have revised that figure and stated that the growth was half as much. As reported by the media, economist Dušan Mramor pointed out that he does not recall such a discrepancy and that it could lead Slovenia into financial trouble. Former Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said it is an alarm for public finances.
At the same time, we need to rebuild everything: houses, economic buildings, apartments, and infrastructure, which were all destroyed by the heavy rains and swollen rivers at the beginning of August. How many billions this will cost is not clear at this time, but what is clear is that the transparency of the expenditure of all this money will be very questionable. Who and which companies will get contracts for this reconstruction, who will make the decisions, and what influence political backgrounds will have are pertinent questions. With all these facts, it is clear that controlling RTVS and, therefore, properly determining the facts and news for the current government is of crucial importance.
With all this in mind, I cannot help but write the following: We have an amendment to the RTVS Act, which is a real mess. It is not clear whether it complies with the constitution or not, yet it is being enforced. The question is, why would the government, if it is truly so free and objective, not just copy, for example, the law on Austrian national television for the new RTVS Act? Or perhaps one from another EU country where they have never had constitutional or other circus shows with these laws. There, all the television stations operate fine, there are no purges, no strikes, no semi-secret associations of certain journalists trying to overthrow leaderships.
However, I believe that the time will come when we will have an RTVS Act that is comparable to others in the EU and that will legally ensure that reporting is objective and comprehensive.
Well, I will not be watching RTVS now. Sometimes I will watch POP TV to see what the Kos’ clan is up to. Otherwise, I will watch NOVA24TV, ORF, BBC, CNN, and perhaps some others.