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Friday, September 30, 2022

Editor of Demokracija Jože Biščak in a public letter to Council of Europe Commissioner Dunja Mijatović: Your report is extremely biased and one-sided. You missed the opportunity to present the real situation in Slovenia. I never want to participate in such dirty games again

Dear Commissioner for Human Rights at Council of Europe, Mrs Dunja Mijatović,

I will not waste God’s time, neither yours nor mine. So very briefly.

I am reading your Memorandum on Freedom of Expression and Media Freedom (HERE), which is supposedly based on your numerous conversations and the conversations of your professional associates with Slovenian journalists, representatives of civil society and media experts. At your invitation, I also participated in one of the online meetings together with some colleagues. Unfortunately, I note that the issues we highlighted at this meeting were not or almost not used in your Memorandum. Therefore, it seems to me that this report is about another country and not about Slovenia.

In the Memorandum, you constantly rely on the reports of various international or Slovenian associations, which have been speaking out very intensively in the last year – mostly unnecessarily and unjustifiably (that is my opinion). It seems (as can be seen from your report) that the biggest »victims« in Slovenia are journalists and editors with a left-wing worldview. You write about them and their cases very concretely. But this does not apply to journalists who have a different worldview and opinion.

You specifically mention the case of threats to the host of the national television Jože Možina and the vandalized facade of the conservative television Nova24TV. Let me kindly remind you that Nova24TV, as far as I know, has no office, editorial office or correspondence office in Maribor, Nova24TV’s headquarters are in Ljubljana. I believe that it was an unintentional mistake, something may have been lost in the translation, but the question arises as to how many other similar “mistakes” are in your Memorandum.

You write about the advertising of state-owned companies, which is not regulated, and that every party in power can use state-owned companies to “reward” their own media. However, you did not mention a very concrete example that in 2018 the left-wing government of Marjan Šarec called on state-owned companies not to advertise in the conservative media, which allegedly spread hatred. There has never been such an attack on the media in independent Slovenia as was this one by Šarec.

So much in a nutshell, even though I have at least as many comments on your Memurandum as the Memurandum is long.

Today, I regret that I accepted your invitation and participated in the online meeting. The Memorandum shows that you had a preconceived opinion on the situation in Slovenia. You have invited some of us so that you can give legitimacy to the Memorandum; saying that people from different worldviews took part in the meeting. And obviously, you didn’t want to find out from us what we were thinking, but you wanted to reinforce your opinion. Your report is therefore extremely biased and one-sided. You missed the opportunity to present the real situation in Slovenia. I never want to participate in such dirty games again.

Jože Biščak, editor-in-chief of Demokracija magazine and president of the Slovenian Association of Patriotic Journalists

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