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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

[Analysis Of Reporting] The Bias Of The 24ur Web Portal Is Off The Charts

By Andrej Žitnik (Nova24tv)

The Slovenian mainstream media are left-wing. This is as clear as the fact that the Sun rises in the east. It is true, however, that at least until the appointment of the last Janša government, they hid this quite successfully and somehow managed to tame their bias to such an extent that it was at least not comical. But everything changed in 2020. The main news web portals became the PR services of the left-wing parties and the main promoters of the agitprop against the right. Let’s look at the web portal 24ur, for example: its parent television station, Pop TV, was jokingly considered to be the official television station of the List of Marjan Šarec between the years 2018 and 2020, then it was the official television station of the so-called Constitutional Arch Coalition (the left-wing parties of the former opposition), and now it has finally become the “official” FREEDOM TV – the media outlet of the Freedom Movement and its coalition partners.

Let’s look at some examples.

When the acting director of the police, Andrej Jurić, in accordance with his powers, demanded an investigation into the already completed criminal investigations, the media outlet Pop TV published three headlines on this topic in the same week by the authors Jure Tepina, Mirko Vorkapić and Nika Kunaver. The headlines read as follows:

Aleš Hojs apparently wants to settle the score with our media outlet through the police

Profession: The director of the police should reject Hojs, politics should take action

This is an inadmissible interference and influence on the Director-General of the police

In the articles, they claimed that the police understood the former Minister of the Interior Hojs’s instructions as political pressure, even though the only ones who understood them as such were some of the trade unionists, who did not like the fact that such an investigation would be happening. Pop TV even called Dr Miroslav Žaberl from the Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security in Maribor to comment on the matter, as an expert on police powers, and he claimed that these measures were illegal. They also published the responses of the opposition, the members of which also claimed that this was an open abuse of power.

Changes in the police ranks are, of course, bound to happen, and it is completely normal for the Minister of the Interior to work with his experts. However, Pop TV also wrote lots of articles about the personnel changes in the police. And how did they report on this on the web portal 24ur?

The takeover of police with nine personnel changes and an “experiment” at the National Bureau of Investigations

In the article, the director of the police was contemptuously called politically appointed staff, and the director of the National Bureau of Investigations, Petra Grah Lazar, was described as the “friend of Rok Snežič,” with the connotation implying that they are, in fact, lovers.

And now, let’s fast forward two years. Golob’s government is not only making personnel changes but also compiling “death lists” and not only transferring civil servants, which was the case during the Janša government, but dismissing them in a Stalinist-like manner.

So what kind of headlines can we read on the 24ur web portal nowadays? No headlines. At least no political ones. They recently reported on a Croatian who drowned, a hot summer and holiday destinations. Politics is on the sidelines, and when they do report on Golob’s personnel purges, they do it very shyly. Recently, the Director-General of the police, Boštjan Lindav, fired two police officers who were allegedly connected to the former Director-General of the police, Anton Olaj. And here is what 24ur used as the headline in the article reporting on this:

Two of Olaj’s people have been fired

Suddenly, the presumed innocence of the civil servants was no longer relevant, nor was there any suspicion of political personnel changes happening. This was a faulty termination of the employment contracts of two of “Olaj’s people.” No one asked Miroslav Žarbel to come on the show and talk about political pressures. 24ur “unofficially” found out about this news much earlier – of course, they found out about it from the left-wing police circles. And suddenly, this was no longer a political purge but the termination of the employment contract due to serious breaches of work obligations.

But let’s go back to 2020 again. How did 24ur report on personnel changes when the government was taken over by Janša and his team? The headlines read as follows:

Attacks on the media and announcements of personnel purges certainly aren’t helping to improve the situation

Loyalty repaired by cabinet employment

Appointments as the subordination of institutions?

Kidnapped state-owned enterprises

Now let’s compare that to the headlines that followed after Golob’s “personnel lists of death” and the expansions of ministries happened:

The new structure of the future government: 19 ministries and a government office

The three new ministries will be filled with existing public administration staff

The new government team has begun its work, the majority of state secretaries have already been appointed

Mesec: From now on, the Ministry of Labour will be on the side of the worker

Golob after the first session of the government: An excellent starting point for cooperation and connection

And the responses of the opposition are either not mentioned, or they are buried deep in the text. No experts to explain that 20 departments in a country with two million people is decidedly too many. Just happy reporting for good luck and some of Mesec’s socialist slogans. A free PR promotion has also already been written about Mesec, Šarec, and, above all, his State Secretary – the former extreme leftist Damir Črnčec, and all of these articles border on pathos in terms of their sweetness.
In short, the 24ur web portal is behaving as if the Golob government has liberated us from an occupier, instead of understanding this for what it really was -just a peaceful transfer of power in a democratic country.

It is very obvious that the most influential and richest media outlet in the country is no longer hiding its political affiliations with the left, which is extremely dangerous for the democratic process in the country. Especially if we consider that the company ProPlus receives lots of its money from taxpayers through an illegal cartel agreement with operators. The so-called “second RTV mandatory contribution” must be paid by everyone with IPTV television packages, as they are forced to pay for the ProPlus programmes (including Pop TV and Kanal A) in the basic package.

It will be very interesting to see whether the new Golob government will repay ProPlus for its loyal attacks on Janša’s government and support for the Freedom Movement. If this really happens, this should sound the alarm for both the Slovenian judiciary and the competent European institutions. Namely, that would be a matter of a real overthrow of the democratic order in the country with a conspiracy between the media and the anti-citizen politics.

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