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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Why will I be against in the referendum on the amendment to the Law on Radio and Television Broadcasting (RTV)?

By: Edvard Kadič

Call by RTV Slovenia journalist Helena Milinković at a press conference in front of RTV Slovenia on November 14th, 2022, to recall the dogs, i.e., management of RTV Slovenia, exceeds even the most fantastic imagination in democratic societies.

For a long time, I naively thought that the use of Nazi propaganda methods in the form of the public beheading of the masks of political opponents and the bloody table in front of the Ministry of Culture, which are used by the extreme left to activate its voter base, is some kind of height of madness that we will experience in Slovenia.

But unfortunately, it is not so. The fear of transition privatisers is simply too great. Their goal is the complete destruction of the opposition and, honestly, they are doing quite well.

In one of the Ura moči shows on Planet TV, host Bojan Požar mentioned that he had information from the closest circle of Robert Golob, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, that the latter promised at one of the meetings of this circle that he would not even leave 2 percent of the media space to his political opponents. Nothing.

Apparently, the fear is really big. Just as, according to the calls of the mentioned journalist, the situation got serious, and, according to the transitional left, the vocabulary in society needs to be tightened and the level of dialogue lowered even further.

This is why the referendum on RTV is so important. It is about opposing or supporting the amendment to the Act on RTV, which regulates a number of important things anew.

It seems to me that most people do not understand what this story is about and what Helena Milinković has to do with it. Most people understand that Helena Milinković and Golob are FOR, and Janša is AGAINST, and if you support Golob, you will circle 3x FOR, and if you support Janša, 3x AGAINST.

The essence of the proposed amendment is to take over the management of the RTV broadcasting house, to take over the management of the national media, which has great power to influence public opinion and thus on who leads the country. It is a management and substantive takeover.

Being AGAINST means maintaining the current logic of running the house and approach to content, which has been in force since 2005. At this time, the RTV-house is managed commercially by the general director, and his work is checked, approved, and possibly rejected by the supervisory board, which has 11 members. Members are appointed by the government (4), the National Assembly (5), and employees (2). The programme council exists so that the national media provides appropriate content, but only approves and accepts the programme policy, not concrete content. This is very important, as it regulates the autonomy of editorial offices and journalistic work. There are 29 people, half of whom are named after different keys every two years, so that they are replaced in 4 years. Control over RTV Slovenia is thus dispersed among 40 people, which ensures a fairly high plurality of the medium as a whole.

Being FOR means that both the supervisory and programming councils will now be combined into a single RTV Council, and the house will be managed by a 4-member board. The RTV Council will now have only 17 people. The core of the dispute lies in the fact that the new authority envisioned the takeover by doubling the number of employees in this new council (from 3 to 6) in the proposal, while the remaining 3, as many as it needs to control the council, will be provided by appointment through the so-called civil society. For example, through the Olympic Committee of Slovenia, which is traditionally controlled by the SD party, and which is not a directly elected function, and through one of the other appointed bodies, which are supposed to nominate the members. The only thing that is important is to have more than half of the 17 members (9) who will control RTV according to the new bill. In laymen terms, in addition to your 6 employees, you only need 3 of your own and you control RTV.

This is it. It is about changing the law where it is easier to achieve a governing majority. When you have 9 “your” members, that is more than half, you suddenly manage personnel, finances, and content. At the same time, it also becomes much clearer why Helena Milinković, as a RTV trade unionist, exposes herself so loudly and undignified. According to the new system, as many as 6 members, i.e., more than a third of all council members, will come from employees, from her base. The phenomenon of controlling yourself is well known from the days of Yugoslavian socialism, and we know very well how it ended. In fact, we see how these socialist stories end all over the world – by collapsing in on themselves. I will vote AGAINST in the referendum. I wish that RTV Slovenia continues to operate pluralistically. Above all, that it does not fully fit into the single mind, in which the information programme has been for some time. If the previous government during the two years when Slovenia was fighting the pandemic, and at the same time recording the best results in practically all rankings and progress indicators around the world, was hardly ever mentioned in the news programme covering Friday’s protests, it is difficult to talk about balancing. AGAINST the implementation of the amendment to the Broadcasting Act, i.e., by voting AGAINST in the referendum, people are voting AGAINST complete unanimity, to preserve at least minimal plurality and allow different views, such as the views of the ruling politics on Slovenia and the world.

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