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Monday, December 5, 2022

The Brutal Interference In The Media That Golob Is Engaging In Is A Political Scandal That Should Not Be Overlooked By The Competent Institutions!

By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv

“What is also clear from what has been said is that Golob, the Prime Minister and President of the Freedom Movement party, is personally recruiting and appointing the editors of media outlets owned by state-owned companies.’ And Sophie in ‘t Veld is staying silent… The idea of “ours and theirs” also works in the EU. Unfortunately,” political scientist Dr Miro Haček commented on the current developments. Prime Minister Golob has announced, in full public view, the replacement of the editor-in-chief of the state-owned Siol web portal with his own Primož Cirman from the notorious “Necenzurirano.si” (“Uncensored”) web portal. If something similar had happened under the previous government, all the alarms would have been ringing now, all the way to Brussels.

Sophie in ‘t Veld is also the head of a kind of Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group within the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament. In this capacity, she also dealt with Slovenia during the term of the government of Janez Janša, and she even visited Slovenia. First, she met with the representatives of non-governmental organisations, such as Amnesty International, CNVOS (Centre for Informing, Cooperation and Development of Non-Governmental Organisations), Mirovni inštitut (the Peace Institute), Pravna mreža za varstvo demokracije (the Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy) and Info Kolpa – which tells you at first glance which side she is really interested in. She is a liberal MEP (from the Renew party), like her Slovenian colleagues Irena Joveva and Klemen Grošelj. In the end, of course, the whole investigation led to nothing – because the leftists were merely peddling lies abroad, as the delegation soon realised.

“The Uncensored takes over the Government Communication Office, is involved in the National Assembly’s Commission of Inquiry, and will likely take over the editorship of the Siol web portal. On the right, we are very grateful to Golob for being such a cowboy. The previous governments did this much more subtly. Now, it will be very simple to show the European Union and the world just how fused Slovenian media are with left-wing politics,” wrote political analyst Mitja Iršič, somewhat optimistically. Indeed, after the latest “transfers” of the socio-political workers of the Uncensored web portal and Golob’s personnel appointments, there is a lot to prove, provided, of course, that anyone in the EU would even be interested in it. Namely, Iršič realised that the EU institutions and their media extensions are not interested in the left-wing politics in Slovenia when he was still working at the Ministry of Culture –they sent very precise data to the publications preparing articles on Slovenian media, which completely discredited those who claimed that there is no media freedom in Slovenia or that the Janša government is subjugating the media with its proposal for a new media law, but the government’s response was not correctly summarised even once. Sometimes it was even cut out completely.

The Uncensored web portal is taking over the country
“Now you know that people like Cirman, Vuković, Modic… Were never actually journalists, but just ordinary regime servants, who merely copied the “documents” that were delivered to them,” wrote Vane Gošnik, a member of the national media outlet RTV Slovenia’s programme council. But unfortunately, it seems that this is still not clear to many people, as people continue to talk about transitions from politics to journalism. Even a professor from Ljubljana’s Faculty of Social Sciences, Dr Marko Milosavljević – with whom Sophie in ‘t Veld also met on her visit to Slovenia – naturally picked up on this interpretation and told the N1 media outlet that the case of Vesna Vuković and the Uncensored web portal is actually about highly exposed journalists who have published a number of investigative stories in recent years. Therefore, he said, the transition of such investigative journalists into politics is much more relevant for Slovenian journalism than the transitions of some other journalists.

“It is a fact that when an investigative journalist takes a political stance or the stance of a certain party, that is also much more important or problematic for the public because journalism, especially investigative journalism, has to maintain a constant distance from politics and give the impression of professional distance, and this impression is difficult to maintain not only for the current period, but also for the past months in the case of a journalist switching parties or associating with certain policies,” said Milosavljević, and he is undoubtedly right – but the biggest problem with his explanation is the timeline. The three journalists in question did not associate themselves with a particular policy just now; they already did it two years ago, or perhaps even earlier. This is confirmed not only by their payroll, but also by the selection of “investigative” stories on the Uncensored web portal. “The problem is not that the Uncensored web portal was strongly one-sided (biased). The problem is that the national media outlet RTV Slovenia often referred to it and thus expanded its influence. Without RTV, Uncensored would have remained a marginal media outlet with a limited scope,” Igor Pirkovič commented on the situation, thus also targeting Primož Cimran’s wife, Petra Bezjak Cirman, who will now take over the position of Director of the Government Communication Office, but while she still worked at RTV, she made sure that her husband regularly appeared on the shows “Odmevi” and “Dnevnik” on RTV.

However, according to Milosavljević, the bigger problem is the involvement of journalist Tomaž Modic as an expert assistant in the National Assembly’s Commission of Inquiry, which is headed by an MP from Golob’s party and a former “independent” journalist, Mojca Šetinc Pašek. The President of the Slovene Association of Journalists, Petra Lesjak Tušek, also believes that this undermines the credibility of the Uncensored web portal and that such a conflict of interest should be avoided. “It would be more hygienic,” she told the N1 media outlet. Well, truth be told, the credibility of the Uncensored web portal can hardly be undermined by anything because the web portal actually never had any true credibility. According to the professor from the Faculty of Social Sciences, in this case, there is no longer “a clear distinction and distance between the practice of the journalistic profession and acting in the service of a political institution, such as the National Assembly, for a fee.” But as we have already mentioned, this distance did not exist before either – because the Uncensored web portal was created for one purpose only, and the journalists of the portal were paid accordingly. Let’s not forget that Vuković’s company SEE M. & C. was on the payroll of the state-owned company Gen-I, which was run by Golob, and it certainly did not end up there by chance. To use Robert Golob’s own words: “He who believes in coincidences is, well, he is a Slovene.”

But we will be faced with an even bigger problem if, in the autumn, when the new government coalition takes over the management of the state-owned Telekom company, Cirman is indeed made editor-in-chief at Siol – which Telekom controls through its subsidiary TS Media, d.o.o. Namely, Cirman is the most damaging in his role as a journalist or editor, and he would be especially damaging on a web portal that is regarded by the general public as a central one. This is a direct attack on a media outlet that, with Cirman’s arrival, would become a kind of version of the Uncensored web portal – but unfortunately, with a much greater reach. We are, therefore, rapidly approaching an even greater media monotony, with Sophie in ‘t Veld and Věra Jourová looking the other way or, as many people believe, even nodding conceitedly.

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