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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Dr. Milan Zver: In their article, Politico severely damaged Slovenia’s reputation

By: dr. Milan Zver

Just over two days ago, the newspaper Politico published an article entitled “Inside Slovenia’s war on the media”, in which the basic premise of the article is that journalists are so afraid of the government of Janez Janša that they started self-censoring. The article also mentions a number of deceptions, inaccuracies, and a huge number of references to anonymous sources, and although the government’s communication office answered all the journalist’s questions extensively, consistently, and accurately, she instead of summarising them in any way only glanced at them fleetingly. It is also common for journalists to confront the statements of their interlocutors with the statements of official institutions, which the journalist did not do in the article, but published something from the context of the torn sentences.

While reading the article, I cannot get rid of the feeling that it is a well-known tactic of the left wing parties to deliver manipulated and misleading news to foreign journalists, who uncritically summarise it, and then pompously present it to Slovenian readers and viewers, again without any additional response of Slovenian authorities.

Should I list just a few facts that the journalist overlooked in her article in Politico:

  1. An analysis of media pluralism conducted by the Faculty of Media shows that the majority media have a strong anti-government, oppositional media stance with left wing views prevailing over right wing ones, which is contrary to anonymous reports that journalists are forced into self-censorship. The analysis included the 10 most important media and found that 80% of them were predominantly anti-government, 18% neutral, and 2% pro-government.
  2. The Slovenian government awarded 2.6 million euros through a media tender (mostly to the left wing media) and tens of millions more from intervention funds to mitigate the consequences of coronavirus disease.
  3. RTV Slovenia will not be left without funds even with the planned change in legislation. A small share of the RTV subscription, which is planned to be transferred to other media, would be replaced on the basis of a new law that would enable RTV Slovenia to earn at least 11 million euros more annually by giving RTV more advertising opportunities. These revenues have been limited until now.
  4. Slovenia was the highest on the international scale of media freedom published by the organisation Journalists without Borders during the first government of Prime Minister Janez Janša, from 2004 to 2008. During the previous government of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, Slovenia was ranked in the 32nd place on this scale, which is more than three times worse than in 2005 and 2006, when it was 9th and 10th.
  5. At anti-government protests, which the Slovenian opposition regularly attended and also invited, and which are intensively reported in the media, slogans like “death to Janšism” are shouted, people call for the assassination of the Prime Minister, carry banners and signs with death threats. All of these threats are also being broadcast in the media as something completely normal. Moreover, in such threats and the words that a concrete politician is “a dog that needs to be executed”, the prosecution does not pose a serious threat.
  6. Unfortunately, no one told the journalist anything about the threats, including physical ones, which some journalists actually receive, including, for example, the fortunately failed liquidation of journalist Miro Petek, as well as the case of rapper Zlatan Čordić who attacked a journalistic television crew, snatched the camera from the cameraman’s hands and damaged it, and later harassed the NIJZ director on the street. Let’s also not forget that during the anti-government protests, an extreme leftist physically attacked a photojournalist and severely injured him, he also attacked a cameraman, knocked him to the ground and kicked him around, and then did the same to a police officer.

It saddens me that the once-respected newspaper, which is read in the European capital by many diplomats, MPs employed by the European institutions… has completely lost its independent and impartial direction and has fallen for all the allegations made to journalists by local political activists.


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