Dear European Commissioner Věra Jourová, vice-president of the European Commission, and seven international media organizations (Article 1, European Center for Press and Media Freedom, European Federation of Journalists, Free Press Unlimited, Index on Censorship, International Press Institute and Reporters without Borders).
It is coincidence (or not) that you are in such numbers as to resemble fairy-tale, irrational beings. We believe that you are completely real, although this cannot be said with certainty, in view of the many actions and responses regarding Slovenia.
After the World Health Organization (WHO) have been misleading the world public for a long time, giving the world false information and giving harmful advice to governments, the health care profession today is unanimous that social distance is currently the best cure for COVID-19. Therefore, one of the most important measures of individual governments (including the Slovenian one) is the ban on gathering and mass events, as the virus spreads rapidly at these meetings and events.
There are always people who problematize such an unpleasant but urgent measure. Under other circumstances, we as defenders of freedom would problematize it, too, but the deadly virus, which has caused the deaths of more than 200,000 people globally (most in Europe), is too dangerous for public health to play with. Therefore we agree with the necessary restrictive measures. Unfortunately, some in Slovenia reject them and demand the resignation of the center-right government. In the midst of the pandemic, mass rallies were called for, with just under 1,000 gathering in Slovenian cities. Most people were without masks and did not stick to the prescribed distance, so the police, who did not use force, have listed some of them and will fine them.
What concerns the two of us is that such anti-government protests and rallies that threatened public health were openly or covertly supported by journalists and editors of the largest Slovene media, who openly sympathize with the leftist opposition. Media outlets that should make people aware of how to get out of the health crisis as quickly as possible have encouraged uncontrolled and forbidden socializing. The same media outlets and the Slovene Association of Journalists (DNS), which have written to you in recent days and whining how the government of Janez Jansa is establishing a totalitarian system (which is, of course, a lie), are promoting the spread of the virus today. They do this solely because "their" left political option is not in power. And they threaten public health.
These journalists and editors, who today do so as political activists of progressivism, have been widely supported by you in recent weeks with one-sided letters, press releases and statements. We do not expect you to come forward and ask them why they are acting against public health, as you would shoot in your own foot and admit that everything you've written lately is a monologue which doesn't want to hear the other side, which doesn’t care for a different opinion, which doesn’t hear the one whose views differ from the agenda you have put into your head. And we do not expect an apology to those leaders who have been wrongly attacked by you, but in fact they have brought Slovenia among the most successful countries today in the fight against COVID-19. And not just in Europe, but globally. However, we expect that the next time when you will be unilaterally informed about what is happening in Slovenia, you will at least lightly open your other ear and at pretend that you wish to hear both sides of the coin. And we hope that you will not say then, sorry, we had a clogged ear at the time. And have no worries. As soon as possible, when the danger is gone, the restrictions will be eliminated in Slovenia. And no one will be prevented from protesting or gathering in public places. Even today, everyone is free to express opinions and views without fear of censorship or repression.
Since we have started this letter with the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, then let us also finish with that. Mitchell Stephens, an assistant professor of television history at New York University, by examining the book and cartoon, he found out that each of the dwarfs represents one side-effect of cocaine. Doopey embodies the first sensation after cocaine ingestion, Grumpy represents a symptom of abstinence (irritability). Happy and Sneezy are euphoric, Bashful embodies the discomfort (shyness) that is typical of a cocaine addict, and Doc and Sleepy embody almightiness and tiredness, the latest stage in cocaine addiction. It is up to the readers to judge which dwarf represents any of the organizations listed. And about Snow White only this: she is one of the most innocent and positive fairy-tale characters. It would be nice to stay that way.
Joze Biscak, editor-in-chief of Democracija magazine and president of the Slovenian Association of Patriotic Journalists, and Vinko Vasle, longtime journalist and editor and former director of Radio Slovenia