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Friday, April 12, 2024

Fijavž is having trouble with editors who would have the appropriate education, they failed to “punish” Israel

By: Peter Jančič (Spletni časopis)

“The daily management of the house is in the hands of the leadership. If the leadership wanted to say something, they would have already. If they do not, we have nothing to impose on them.”

This is how the president of the RTVS council, Goran Forbici, responded yesterday to the ideas of cancelling the Eurovision broadcast or the performance of our representative Raiven in support of Palestinians in Gaza. The discussions were a result of a January proposal by councillor Tadej Troha, which was supported at the time by the management and directors of RTVS, including Forbici, to initiate proceedings within the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to exclude Israel from Eurovision and EBU. Troha assessed that it is unacceptable for the state of Israel to present one face in the Gaza war and another face to Europe at such an entertainment event, suggesting that Eurovision is political in this sense. He also pointed out that this is the position of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President of the SD Tanja Fajon, who, as he summarised, said about Gaza: “Enough is enough”.

With a strike against Israel, RTVS, Troha warned at the time, would be implementing the policy of left-wing government parties in favour of one side in the conflict.

Vehovar: That is entirely the wrong direction

Troha was not present at the meeting this time. Other councillors, however, attempted to get explanations about what else the leadership of RTVS could do when they failed to exclude Israel from the EBU. For example, Ilinka Todorovska asked if there were any other options besides not broadcasting Eurovision or cancelling the participation of the Slovenian representative Raiven.

From the management, objections to the ideas of banning the broadcast of the event in Slovenia or the Slovenian participation in the event were raised by Zvezdan Martić. He pointed out that he did not have the authority to dictate to the directors what they must remove from the programme. This is the jurisdiction of the state censor. The director of television, Ksenija Horvat, who supported Troha’s idea in January to put pressure on the EBU in favour of the Palestinians, remained silent. It seems that in the end, the concerns of the representative of the Olympic Committee, Andraž Vehovar, prevailed. He assessed that the actions of the advocates for Gaza among the RTVS councillors were entirely the wrong direction, as they would then have to boycott the Olympic Games in Paris and numerous other events. “Completely misguided direction. Whatever you vote for in this direction, I will be against,” he said. Later, no voting was observed.

However, the leadership of RTVS had to explain to Forbici whether they were indeed cheating the law after inspectors found a violation because the new editor-in-chief, Polona Fijavž, appointed Gregor Drnovšek, who only has a high school education, as the editor of the TVS editorial office, and Vesna Pfeifer as the editor of central news programmes and a new programme, which was given to journalist Marcel Štefančič for his services to Robert Golob. Pfeifer also has only a high school education. And they are not the only ones like that. Drnovšek has been an important political activist in the past, and government parties carried out purges at RTVS, and he is also a member of the RTVS council. Formally, the editorial responded to the findings of the inspectors that they were violating the law, but in such a way that they appointed new temporary editors only nominally, while in reality, editors without education continue to perform their duties, having obtained their positions through political activism.

Fijavž, in defence of the uneducated: Sensitive positions in sensitive times

Fijavž explained that in the past, editorial boards have often been led by editors without formal education, including some who did not even have a high school diploma. Therefore, even worse examples than Drnovšek and Pfeifer. She warned councillors that she had chosen a team of editors, and that journalists had supported this team when they voted on it. She added that after the inspectors found that she was violating the law, it was difficult to find replacements for uneducated editors because there are many journalists at TVS who lack formal education, and their numbers have been increasing in recent years. “Either they do not meet the requirements, or they do not want to do the job,” she described her difficulties in finding more professional staff for editorial positions. Those who at least have a formal education. When Forbici wondered why, if she had such difficulties, they had not yet announced a call for these positions, Martić said that it should have already been announced and that he did not know it had not been. Fijavž said she needed more time to choose her leadership team, in which trust is important, and that a call for applications would not solve this. She added that these are sensitive positions in a very sensitive time.

Forbici warned her that if there were no call for applications, the RTVS council would face the dilemma of whether to find a new editor capable of assembling their own team. He leaned more towards a call for applications than replacing the editor-in-chief, he added. Employee representative Robert Pajek objected, suggesting it would be good to wait for the final position of the inspectors, who in the past had demanded the employment of a whole bunch of uneducated journalists who had been working on an hourly basis until then. However, Forbici rejected this, stating that the situation with the editors of the editorial offices is not the same. Špela Stare, representing the journalists’ association, summarised that internal regulations require high education for editorial editors, and that discussions could be held about changing these regulations, but not about breaking them. Unionist Tom Zalaznik warned that claims that there are no educated journalists for important editorial positions are unusual, especially when at the same time, five journalists with high education, some even with master’s degrees, and one with a doctorate, are being laid off as technological redundancies. He mentioned Valentin Areh, an experienced editor, journalist, and correspondent, who, it seems, the new management mistreats because he is believed to support Janša, since he served as acting director of the television during the previous government.

Forbici also demanded explanations from the management as to why they exceeded the financial plans for paying high severance payments to nineteen employees, including the more well-known Vida Petrovčič and Marjan Lah, who were retired as technological redundancies. As technological redundancies, they receive ten salaries as severance pay, while with normal retirement, they would receive only three. The financial department explained to the councillors that the money for this purpose for this year is budgeted at a total of 290,000 euros, but the dynamics in the first months exceeded the plans. They had budgeted 20,000 euros for January and February but spent 53,000. Martić estimated that the dynamics were due to negotiations and various circumstances and that it was not a problem.

Unofficially, it is heard at RTVS that after paying bonuses to all employees this month, the institution is dangerously close to illiquidity in preparing for the next salary payment.

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