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Monday, July 4, 2022

An Analysis of “Independent” Reporting of the National RTV at the Inauguration of the Janša and Golob Governments; the Findings Are Downright Frightening

By: Ana Hribar / Nova24tv

With the loud and constant claims and proving of the national media outlet that it is objective and professional in its work, the media outlet Portal Plus decided to take a closer look and compare the reporting of RTV Slovenia on the swearing in of Janša’s government in 2020, and Golob’s government this year. Surprisingly, the same tv show host and commentator appeared in both reports, and the findings are quite frightening, especially considering that RTV claims to be an institution of independent journalism.

Journalists of the national media outlet, RTV Slovenia, always define their reporting as professional, objective, and politically unbiased. However, it has been proven countless times that this is not actually the case, and this time, the media outlet Portal Plus published some interesting, and even somewhat frightening, findings, analysing and comparing reports in the first evening news show after the swearing-in of the Janša government in 2020 and the Golob government on the 2nd of June this year.

In the first part, Portal Plus summarises the coverage of the evening news show Dnevnik (Daily) on RTV Slovenia after the Janša government took over power on the 14th of March 2020, where, in the introductory clip, they reported extensively on the coronavirus, as the first wave of the epidemic began at that time, and then they continued with the handovers at the ministries, where we could hear a remark about how some people did not want to shake hands with their predecessors, and that they only put on masks (which were not yet mandatory at the time) for the photo op. They also shared a polemical tweet from an unknown doctor, who commented on the photo of the government representatives wearing FFP3 masks – namely, he wrote: “I was hoping this is a parody, but unfortunately, it is not. This is an open mockery of the healthcare workers and the recommendations for rational use of personal protective equipment – how to use up FFP3 masks for a meaningless photo-op when there are not enough for the healthcare workers.”
After that, they talked about all of the staff changes and about people who “had to leave.” They also mentioned that the position of State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, which was headed by Hojs, went to Franc Kangler, and they focused on his “disputed” employment and made sure to also show a picture of Kangler in court.

Criticism and accusations of the Janša government began before it even had a chance to start working
In the clip, we also heard how “the government has not even started working yet, but it is already making mistakes by using the masks all wrong and not wearing them consistently, while there is a shortage of personal protective equipment in healthcare.” RTV used a tweet from a doctor who is not publicly known as evidence of the public controversy that this government move has caused. They also claimed that the government employed people who are under investigation – namely, the “disputed” former Mayor of Maribor, Kangler.

Then followed Tanja Gobec’s political commentary, who used phrases such as “the personnel changes happened very quickly, threatened, the public did not really hear it, inappropriate, dispute, costs a lot, increased employment, high costs” and other phrases with a negative connotation, and the message was, as stated by Portal Plus: “that the government is implementing unusual staff placements and threatening with replacements. The public is upset. The investigation against Kangler is likely to be halted. The Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) is not being fair to its coalition partners; Janša is behaving like an authoritarian. The protection of vice-presidents of the government is not professionally justified and will cost the taxpayers a lot of money, as will the additional employments in government offices.”

The key words they used here are: the personnel changes happened rapidly, this is not customary (replacement), threatened, inappropriate, unusual, dispute, will be resolved due to the dispute, the reactions on the Internet, left many surprised, alleged abuse.

And the message of the article was: the government is implementing unusual personnel changes and threatening with replacements. The public is upset. The investigation against Kangler will likely be stopped.

The new Golob government has been praised
The second part of Portal Plus’s analysis summarises the evening show Dnevnik on RTV Slovenia after Golob’s government took over the leading of the country on the 2nd of June 2022, where they used the words “personnel carousel” and handovers, instead of personnel placement. Then, they played the  statement of the new Minister of the Interior, Tatjana Bobnar, who said that “during the time of the previous government, we witnessed legal degradation and barbarianism in the form of decrees that were recognised as unconstitutional,” and the host of the show added that “the new government quickly started working,” as it had already met two times, and that “members of the coalition have announced the first staff changes.” The photos of Robert Golob in the clip all show him in a positive light, and they also informed the public that most of the new ministers came to the first government session “on foot.”

They then reported on the personnel changes and the adoption of a decision on the audit of all employment, transfers and promotions that happened from the 1st of January 2020 onwards, and Golob described the decision as one of a “technical nature.” They added that everything happened very transparently. They then informed the public about the fast and diligent work of the new government, which replaced the “disintegrating” former government, adding that the personnel changes were not disputable, that the ministers mostly came to the session on foot, and that there was no need to worry about a potential “purge,” despite the disputed decision on the audit of all employments and transfers – they added that, if anything, this is a step towards “transparency.”

The key words they used here are: replenishments, long-time and experienced representative, experienced diplomat (x2), in several governments, university professor, lawyer, head of the British Council.

And the message of the article was: the government is appointing very experienced and professional staff. There are no disputed names here (not even from the Party of Alenka Bratušek or the List of Marjan Šarec, which did not get enough votes to enter the parliament, and they also forgot to mention the appointment of Benedejčič, who had been accused of spying for Russia in the past).

Tanja Gobec changed her rhetoric completely in this report
The political commentary was once again prepared by Tanja Gobec, who used words such as: “experienced diplomat, long-time and experienced representative, in several governments, additions, lawyer, expert, surgeon, former ministers,” which have a completely different, positive connotation – unlike the words she used in her report on the previous government. Portal Plus summed up the message of her comment by writing: “The government is appointing very experienced and professional staff. There are no disputed names here (not even from the Party of Alenka Bratušek or the List of Marjan Šarec, which did not get enough votes to enter the parliament, and they also forgot to mention the appointment of Benedejčič, who had been accused of spying for Russia in the past). There are so many well-known names in the new government that we cannot list them all here. They are all experienced and professional staff.”

Such reporting from a public television, with comments like these, is something unimaginable for other European television stations, with the exception of Hungary, where something like that could happen. A public television station should not allow itself to display such obvious bias, but they do it subtly, which many may not even notice, but it eventually gets into their subconscious. Igor Bergant, a representative of the TV Slovenia news programme team, who has always presented himself as a professional, recently strongly condemned the work of Igor Pirkovič, who hosted the pre-election discussion, saying that it was unprofessional. According to Portal Plus, he also claimed that journalists who favour left-wing parties are much more professional, which can be attributed to their long-time work in their positions, and nothing else.

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