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Monday, May 27, 2024

Joze Biscak, editor-in-chief of the magazine Demokracija: Open letter to the general secretary of EFJ, Mr. Ricardo Gutiérrez

I appreciate your concern for the journalism in Slovenia. That is appropriate. But, unfortunately, the record on your website clearly shows that you are very one-sidedly informed. Therefore, I will dare to take some of your time and briefly explain the situation on the other side, too.

I’m the editor-in-chief of the magazine Demokracija (Democracy). The magazine is conservatively oriented and is one of the few in Slovenia with this value determination. It can be said that 95 percent of the media in Slovenia are progressively oriented, favoring leftist ideology. And we experience that a lot.

Due to a different worldview, in the magazine Demokracija we do not only receive threats and insults from strangers on the streets, discredits and criminal charges. Let me tell you that one of the charges against the magazine and myself was made by the Slovenian Association of Journalists, the organization you are talking about. Why? Because of the allegedly controversial cover that talked about migration and the inconvenience that illegal migrants bring with them. Because of this, I was questioned at the police station. I’m asking you, is it a crime, if we have a different view on migration? Is it a crime to warn that there are dangers? And I’m asking you, is it the job of the Press Society to press charges?

Once, when we were still in Jugoslavia, we had a secret political police named Udba, who persecuted (and murdered) different-minded people. Somehow I feel like this dirty work is now being done by DNS. Just find out how many “respectable” DNS journalists have worked for Udba and how many of these journalists are still active.

At the magazine Demokracija, we receive not only uncovered threats from strangers, but also from the government. Did DNS perhaps inform you, that in the fall of 2018, then prime minister Marjan Sarec (in resignation today) has “recommended” the leadership of state-owned enterprises not to advertise in Democracija? It was not only a direct attack on freedom of speech and expression, it was a direct threat with abuse of power. And what did DNS do back then? It applauded the prime minister!

This was one of the most shameful acts in the history of Slovenian journalism and the most gross abuse of power for intimidating journalists of Democracija. Mr. Sarec had the highest executive power in the country and his call was harmful and scandalous, his statement was the worst attack on freedom of expression after Slovenia gained independence and it was in direct conflict with the Constitution. And instead of condemning such attacks on freedom and democracy, the DNS applauded him. They were referring to the alleged hate speech, which no one had yet proved. You will probably agree that only a court that is an independent branch of government can condemn you for allegedly offensive words.

A few days ago, the president of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Borut Pahor, appointed Mr. Janez Jansa (right) as the prime minister to form the new government. What happened? With the help of journalists, who are members of DNS, civil society organized street protests, where they shouted: “Kill Jansa, kill Jansa!”

I will waste no more time, neither God’s nor yours. Just a few more words. DNS complains about insults on social networks. Do you know what they call me on social networks? »Tramp, rasist, media rug, mentally retarded pig, fascist, latent pus, intolerant, jansist, inhuman, collaborator, islamophob, chetnik, extremist, xenophob …« Friendly, isnt’t it? But I take it as part of the journalistic profession.

I wish nex time you will inquire a little bit more about the situation in Slovenia and will not believe blindly what DNS tell to you. For DNS there is no second opinion, no other view. For them, anything that is not in line with their agenda, is so-called hate speech. What they do is not a dialogue, it is a monologue in which they see only one side of the coin. In doing so, they stubbornly insist and urge the Slovenian government to prosecute and severely punish all those who do not think or act the way as DNS think they should.

You can read my letter to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) at the Council of Europe (HERE)

Best regards,

Joze Biscak, editor-in-chief of the magazine Demokracija

Disclaimer: I am not a member of DNS since 1995. Together with some colleagues from the largest Slovenian newspaper Delo, we left DNS. Why? Because we were discovering a wild privatization carried out by directors who were set up under communism. The then DNS president walked around in the Delo building, yelling: “We will close you all!” We didn’t get any support from DNS and therefore we left. Today I am the president of the Association of Slovenian Patriotic Journalists.


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