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Sunday, July 14, 2024

The escalation of the bias of the central media

By: dr. Andrej Umek

For quite some time now, I have had an unpleasant feeling that the Slovenian central media are becoming more and more unbalanced and biased as the current government successfully leads Slovenia through the obvious crisis and, on the other hand, the parliamentary elections approach. In their bias, they increasingly promote Yugoslav nostalgic views and a desire to reinstitute the totalitarian communist system. In order not to rely only on my feeling, I tried to establish a more objective criterion for the bias of this or that medium.

The basic level of bias includes media whose reporting is objective, but whose comments are tendentious. In this case, the tendentiousness of comments can be interpreted as journalistic freedom and the right of every journalist to comment on the news as they see it. The second, higher degree of bias occurs when a medium begins to select news and publish only those that confirm certain predetermined views of that medium. So it publishes half-truths. The third highest stage occurs when a medium publishes untrue, fictitious information just to promote a particular political view or certain political groups.

In the first stage of bias, I must frankly admit, I had no qualms because I have always understood freedom of thought and expression in the broadest sense of those words. The second stage, the stage of half-truths, bothered me, but I tried to understand it as a consequence of the not yet fully completed transition from a totalitarian system to democracy. I hoped that I would never detect the third degree of bias, falsification of facts, in the Slovenian mainstream media. However, I have recently been very disappointed in this regard.

Delo newspaper falsifies known facts

On October 5th, the newspaper Delo reminded us of the anniversary of the signing of the London Agreement {Memorandum of Understanding (with annexes and exchange of notes) regarding the Free Territory of Trieste} in a short note in the section On this day. This brief record contained a map showing the division of the Free Territory of Trieste (WTO) between Yugoslavia and Italy. This map accurately depicts the division of territory between Italy and Yugoslavia. It also shows the division of Yugoslav labour between Slovenia and Croatia. There is no such division in the London Memorandum, it is even in clear conflict with the provisions of this agreement. This is an obvious falsification of known facts, which can only be understood as a task of communist deceptions and their circumvention of the basic provisions of this agreement. I responded to this note from the Delo newspaper, sending them a Letter from a reader in which I made it clear, both on the basis of the London Memorandum and my own experience, that their reporting was inconsistent with the facts and asked them to publish my letter as a correction. For the interested reader, I summarise it below.

Agreement in point 7 of the Annex II clearly states that the signatories undertake not to change the boundaries of the basic administrative units and the national composition of the territory. According to this provision, the entire Yugoslav part of the Free Territory of Trieste (FTT) should belong to Slovenia. The reason for this is that the only official languages in the FTT were Slovene and Italian. At least officially, there were no Croats in the FTT. This provision was immediately circumvented by Yugoslavia in accordance with communist ethics and morality. Contrary to the Agreement, Bujščina was immediately handed over to the then People’s Republic of Croatia. In order to cover up this fact, it ordered the Slovenian police to patrol the sea until the Mirna estuary. I saw this condition with my own eyes. In the summer of 1955, I went on a bicycle tour of Istria with four other classmates to see the newly acquired territories. When we drove from Piran to Buje, we clearly saw that the quarries in Kanegra are owned by the company Slovenija ceste – Tehnika and we came across the sign LR Hrvatska about a hundred meters before Buje.

But even that was not enough for the communist fraudsters. For the next ten or fifteen years, the sign of the LR Hrvatska was moved about a hundred or two hundred meters towards Piran every year, until it reached the Dragonja River, where it is still today. This, too, was not in line with the provisions of the London Agreement, which clearly required the permanence of the boundaries of local administrative units. At the time of concluding this agreement, the border of the municipality of Piran ran along the top of the Savudrija peninsula, so that the Savudrija lighthouse was still on the territory of the municipality of Piran. With this violation of the Agreement, a certain border between Slovenia and Croatia was treacherously established at the 2nd session of AVNOJ.

Even in accordance with the legislation of SFR Yugoslavia, international agreements took precedence over federal and republican legislation. However, the Yugoslav Communists clearly preferred even their internal arrangements, such as the Avnoj decisions in this case. It is incomprehensible to me that a map appears in the central Slovenian daily that falsifies the facts and justifies the communist fraud to the detriment of Slovenia. I hope that someone at Delo will find the time to respond to this letter.

My correction, which I sent the very next day, was not published in the Delo newspaper even after a good month. I can only understand this as a wish that no one interferes with their reality-distorted reporting and that their false reporting was not an accidental mistake that can happen to anyone who works, but a falsification of facts motivated by a certain political goal. Since democracy needs real information about current and past events for its normal functioning, I understand the non-publication of my correction as a direct attack on Slovenian democracy. Since there is a lot of talk and writing in Slovenia now about someone threatening Slovene democracy, I would like to conclude this column by claiming that it is precisely the Slovene central media that, with their non-objectivity and citation of non-existent facts that threatens democracy. The events described above, at least in my view, clearly confirm this assertion of mine.

Prof. Dr Andrej Umek is a member of the SLS Supervisory Board, a former minister, professor, and a member of the European Ideas Network and the editorial board of European View.

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