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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

President of the RTVS Programme Council Dr Peter Gregorič responds to the DNS and other signatories: “Your call is based on the erroneous claim that UKOM has no legal basis for conducting analyses of RTVS reporting”

By: L. K. F.

After the Slovenian Journalists’ Union, the Slovenian Journalists’ Association (DNS), the Coordination of Journalists’ Unions of RTV Slovenia, MMC Working Group, and other signatories last week called on the RTVS Programme Council regarding the analysis of RTVS reporting prepared by the Government Communication Office (UKOM), the president of the council Dr Peter Gregorčič answered yesterday…

“UKOM should stop pressuring journalists and the RTV leadership should oppose them,” said the Slovenian Journalists’ Union, the Slovenian Journalists’ Association (DNS), the RTV Slovenia Coordination of Journalists’ Unions, the MMC Working Group, the FDV Department of Journalism and the Research Centre of social communication at the FDV in a protest letter to the RTVS Programme Council.

DNS, SNS, FDV, MMC Working Group: “UKOM is politically pressuring journalism with analyses”

They added: “The signatories condemn the parallel ways of putting pressure on the work of journalists and editorial offices, UKOM is not competent to evaluate their work, and the public service broadcaster RTV Slovenia has clearly legally defined mechanisms of regulation and self-regulation. With ‘analyses of RTVS reporting’, UKOM encroaches on official government pages on the foundations of media freedom, without which it is not possible to think critically and discuss common problems in society.” They also point out that UKOM broadcasts and journalistic contributions, even individual journalists, appropriates powers for which it has no legal basis and abuses them to put pressure on journalists and journalism with the aim of politically subordinating public service broadcasting.

Gregorčič: “Your conclusions about the illegal basis of UKOM’s analyses are wrong”

“Your call is based on the erroneous claim that UKOM has no legal basis for conducting analyses of RTVS reporting,” wrote Gregorčič in response to a letter from the above-mentioned signatories. He explained the Decision on the tasks of UKOM, adopted by the Government based on Articles 25 and 25a of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia Act, namely Article 3 defines the tasks related to the provision of professional support to public relations services in ministries and government services. In accordance with the fourth indent of Article 3 of the above-mentioned government decision, UKOM monitors the media and prepares collections of articles (clippings) published in domestic and foreign media. In accordance with the fifth indent of Article 3 of the said resolution, UKOM performs analytical documentation activities related to the monitoring, documentation, and analysis of articles published in the media.

“Analyses of RTV Slovenia’s reporting are nothing but that. Because your call is based on erroneous assumptions, the conclusions you draw from erroneous assumptions are erroneous. In addition, you state in the summons allegations that you do not substantiate. Namely, you do not substantiate your flat claims that UKOM without legal basis (which, as justified above, is not true) ‘abuses its analyses to put pressure on journalists and journalism with the aim of politically subordinating public service broadcasting’. From the above, I can therefore conclude that regular analysis of RTVS contributions in accordance with the UKOM Tasks Decision, adopted by the government based on the Government Act, cannot mean pressure on the work of journalists and journalism,” added Gregorčič.

Senders should respond with arguments to UKOM’s analyses

He also stated that this cannot be a relevant circumstance in the assessment of the violation of the competence of a body. “Consequently, your call, in the absence of any other evidence of an objective overstepping of UKOM’s powers, does not prove political pressure on journalists and journalism, but rather on the unaccustomedness of senders to work in a democratic and plural society. Such a society, which is grounded in Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, necessarily requires the confrontation of different opinions and views. I am convinced that the ability to confront different opinions and views is especially important for journalists who want to carry out their mission in a democratic system. I therefore suggest to the senders that they examine UKOM’s analyses and that ˗ if they recognise that these analyses are incomplete, inaccurate, or perhaps even misleading in whole or in part – they provide UKOM with their opposing arguments. I urge the senders of the call to inform the public about their findings,” said the president of the RTVS programme council.

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