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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

President Of The Republic Remains Silent On Anti-Semitism On The National Media Outlet RTV Slovenia

By: Sara Kovač (Nova24tv)

During the election campaign, the President of the Republic, Nataša Pirc Musar, reproached her predecessor, Borut Pahor, for remaining silent on important topics too often, but now she herself, although she promised not to do it, has turned silent, too. When the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the largest international Jewish human rights organisations, wrote to her to warn of anti-Semitism on public television Radio-Television Slovenia (RTV Slovenia), she did not respond.

In a letter addressed to the President of the Republic, Nataša Pirc Musar, the Simon Wiesenthal Center Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, drew attention to anti-Semitism in the Slovenian media. He began by recalling that they were aware of the programmes through which our country commemorates the murder of 90 percent of the Slovenian Jewish community in the Holocaust, and that they were aware that three years ago, Slovenia adopted a legally non-binding working definition of Holocaust denial and distortion, which states, among other things, that Holocaust denial constitutes discourse and propaganda that denies the historical facts and the extent of the extermination of the Jews, the Holocaust, carried out by the Nazis, and their collaborators during the Second World War. “To deny the Holocaust concretely means to claim that it did not happen, but also to publicly deny or doubt that key methods of extermination (e.g. gas cells, mass killings, starvation, torture) were actually used or to doubt that the genocide of the Jews was deliberate. The various ways of denying the Holocaust are an expression of anti-Semitism.”

“Despite this, our attention has been drawn to expressions of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, calls to violence, conspiracy theories, fake news, glorification of dictatorships and terrorist organisations on the national public broadcaster, Radio Television Slovenia (RTV Slovenia) – including the MMC website and social media. The moderator who is reportedly allowing such hate speech is a well-known journalist,” the letter reads.

The journalist they were referring to is more than obviously Boris Vasev, as they wrote that he is a journalist who also expresses his explicit hatred of Jews through his Twitter account, where he claimed that “the vaccination campaign reveals the essence of Israel’s apartheid regime,” explaining that “the policy of Jewish supremacy in Israel means that the government has restricted vaccines to its Arab citizens”. “This has been shown to be patently untrue!” Samuels stressed. On another occasion, however, this journalist qualified Israel as a “European settlement-colonial project”“which establishes and maintains a Jewish majority in Palestine by using methods of ethnic cleansing.” According to Samuels, this is maliciously biased and appalling. While the European Union and other countries see Hamas as a Palestinian terrorist organisation, the “journalist” has declared it to be a liberation movement of freedom fighters.

“Madam President, we call on the competent Slovenian authorities to investigate these allegations and to eliminate any defamatory or hateful rhetoric in the national public media. As a lawyer and former journalist, you are well aware of the boundaries between information or free speech and incitement to hatred or slander,” the letter adds. It seems that the President has simply ignored all of this.

He is no stranger to extremism

Vasev, who works at the MMC web portal, is one of the few political activists who believe that the public broadcaster RTV Slovenia belongs to them and, therefore, with the support of the current authorities, want to see the current leadership replaced. Although the current legislation expects journalists of the public RTV Slovenia to work impartially and professionally, there is room for people like Vasev, who is known for his extremist statements and actions. Namely, in the past, he compared a photograph of Janez Janša with a scythe in his hand to a photograph of the Serbian war criminal Vojislav Šešelj in the image of a butcher, with the caption “find the difference.” He “joked” about using flag poles to hang “traitors to the white race,” accused Janša of denying the genocide in Srebrenica, insulted the film director Mitja Okorn, defended the terrorist Hamas, and insulted and humiliated patriots. He even called for Slovenian flags not to be flown in front of schools and public service buildings, which are paid for by all Slovenian households and shamed Slovenian folk music. Finally, he was so disturbed by the nativity scene under the Christmas tree at RTV Slovenia that he went to report it to the Advocate of the Principle of Equality, who then let him know that the nativity scene was in no way discriminatory.

Last week’s scenes were particularly frightening, as the government’s policies have sided with journalist activists who claim to be serious and impartial journalists who just want to report freely. Given that many are only now noticing that there is more bipartisan reporting and room for those who are indigestible to the hard left, this is all the more bizarre because it is hard to expect these same journalists to report critically on a government that unreservedly supports them publicly. If the public media is incapable of objectively informing the Slovenian public, which is right, left, black, white, or green, then there really is no point in it existing at all. Anti-Semitism, as well as other forms of hostility, should have no place in the public media, and it would be appropriate for the President to speak out. After all, she even considers herself a human rights activist. Many people might wonder if this is because she does not want to go against the public media after having supported Golob’s amendment in the presidential campaign.


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