By: Franci Kindlhofer
When I saw a report from Slovenia in the evening reports of the German First Television, ARD, I first thought that they had simply taken the news from some German newspaper, Der Spiegel, Südeutsche Zeitung, or Die Welt. Then I was surprised by an ARD journalist living in Vienna, Nikolaus Neumaier, how passionately he tweets about this show. So I could not help myself but to send him a personal mail of my opinion on his report on Twitter:
Dear Mr Neumaier, I have discovered many irregularities in your report on Slovenia. It looks like you have adopted the language of the communist opposition 1:1. I know that it is very difficult to report objectively on Slovenia if the rapporteur does not know its history at least since 1941, or if he only knows the communist version of history. As an expert on the political situation in Slovenia, I will have to contact your employer in Munich due to inaccurate reporting. However, if You want to know more about Slovenia yourself, I am of course happy to be at Your disposal.
On April 4th, the journalist surprised me with his answer:
Thanks for Your email. I do not know why you want to get in touch with me if you have already decided to complain about my work? I assume you just wanted to tell me that.
Other than that, I do not know what to do with terms like communist, or non-communist. To me, it is just a matter of freedom of the press, and European values. This is true for me, regardless of worldview.
With kind regards
Now we know what kind the rub is: the communist kind. Because not all Western journalists of the younger generation see communism as a dictatorship of the same quality as fascism and Nazism. The journalist also revealed that he is committed to European values. Yeah, but what are these? Is that not a matter for politicians to argue about what is European and what is not? What is liberal and what is conservative. Journalists can report on this at great length, but it is not their job to evaluate what is the right or wrong political direction.
To the best of my conscience, I replied as follows:
Dear Mr. Neumaier,
thank you very much for Your reply. I prefer direct communication with You. With Your last sentence, the problem of communication with German journalists became clearer to me. You evaluate communism differently than, for example, National Socialism. Practiced communism is not just a worldview, but above all a brutal dictatorship, just like in fascism and National Socialism. In some details it is even worse.
Today’s situation in Slovenia is very related to communism. The political opposition consists of staunch successors to communism. The opposition party SD is the direct successor of the League of Communists, i.e. the KPS. Its members of parliament also say this quite openly. The party’s president, Tanja Fajon, pays public tribute to communist criminals, such as Boris Kidrič, who was one of the main people responsible for the massacre in the communist revolution. In 1945, when Western Europe was liberated from both fascist dictatorships, Stalin’s revolutionary Tito introduced a communist dictatorship in Yugoslavia, and thus also in Slovenia, which then lasted another 45 years. Now comes something very important: the existing public media, such as DELO and especially RTVS, are still relics of the old dictatorship. The current directorate also had connections with the communist UDBA, (read GESTAPO). Your way of thinking that all events in Slovenia have nothing to do with communism is fundamentally wrong. We did not have a Nuremberg trial to convict and punish communist criminals.
RTVS is a public company financed by the state and citizens with mandatory contributions. Therefore, there is also a contract between the media house and the state, which is reflected in the RTV Act. Point 4 states exactly what the obligations and rights of a public institution are. In any way, obligations include ideological and party-neutral reporting. Obviously, RTVS does not adhere to this. Hence the mass protests, against the mandatory payment of contributions. The TV station openly supports communist-contaminated opposition.
STA has a similar status. It refuses to submit financial reports to its founder. The dispute was not about the content of the work, but about completely ordinary administrative matters. Namely, there is a reasonable suspicion that the STA misused taxpayers’ money to finance private newspapers by paying them for expensive advertisements that the STA does not need.
Thus, the communist past plays an absolutely very important role in Slovenia. Just as the takeover of power by the National Socialists was fatal for Germany in 1933, the takeover by the Communists was fatal in Yugoslavia. First in 1941 with the violent subjugation of the uprising and then in 1945 the final submission to Stalin and Soviet Communism.
The main problem for the Slovenian left wing opposition at the moment is that it has no power in its hands, which is a severe defeat for non-democrats.
If German journalists do not want to continue to be helpers of Slovenian’ forever yesterday’s politicians, they must change their misguided positions and focus on the real problems of Slovenia.
I wish you happy holidays and
I greet you kindly.
From the thinking of journalist Neumaier, it can be seen that the main problem of journalism, and thus of real reporting, is the belief that communism is something else, better. Above all, something that is not dangerous. In this case misled intelligence is more dangerous than the left radical.
Even Stalin said after the war: “What do I care about left wing students who fight with police officers in Paris. One Marxist professor at the Sorbonne benefits us more.”
Franci Kindlhofer is vice-president of the Association of Political Prisoners and Other Victims of Communist Violence.