By: Ivan Šokić / Nova24tv
On Friday, the 15th of October 2021, a press conference of MEPs on EU values in Slovenia was held in Ljubljana. Little was said about the values themselves, but the head of the delegation of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Sophie in ‘t Veld, did speak at the press conference. The conference itself was short, and there was very little time for press questions, and all in all, nothing of substance was really said. In ‘t Veld found that public institutions in Slovenia are operating well, and she categorically rejected the division into left and right. She is confident that her group has done a good job.
According to Sophie in ‘t Veld, the head of the delegation of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the results of a multi-day mission to investigate the actual state of media freedom and the rule of law in Slovenia are reminiscent of an ostrich burying its head in the sand. According to in ‘t Veld, the fact that in all the days the delegation was in Slovenia, they did not meet with a single representative of the media who actually had the opportunity to experience political pressure is not an obstacle in providing a comprehensive picture of what is happening in Slovenia.
The progressive Member of the European Parliament said that when it comes to the persecution of journalists, she does not accept the division into left, right, conservative, liberal, or any other division. She believes it is crucial to ensure that journalists are not prosecuted for doing their job. Which is fine, but a utopian view like that does not change the fact that the reality is drastically different.
When a Nova24TV journalist asked why the Ministry of Culture was not allowed to record the meeting with the representatives of In ‘t Veld’s committee, the head responded that the meetings were held behind closed doors. At first, she insisted that it was not them who prevented the recording but that it was the fault of the Ministry of Culture, as it does not have its own recording equipment. However, she later admitted that they said NO to the recording because they did not want to make exceptions and do not usually record their conversations with government officials behind closed doors.
The journalists were able to attend In ‘t Veld’s press conference in person or online. All of the questions that the Nova24TV journalists posed online were ignored, but the MEP did take the time to answer a question from Politico’s journalist Lili Bayer, who joined towards the end of the press conference.
Questions that remain unanswered
Thus, the question of what European values really are, and if In ‘t Veld could list them, remains unanswered. We also did not receive an answer to our question of whether the members of the committee watched the video about the state of the media in Slovenia, which Prime Minister Janša could not broadcast at one of the hearings. The question regarding her concern about the state of media freedom in the Netherlands, where journalists are being killed in broad daylight in Amsterdam in 2021, also remained unanswered. In ‘t Veld also did not respond to the question of whether she demanded a meeting and an explanation from the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte due to the assassination of the Dutch investigative journalist Peter R. de Vries, nor did she respond to the question of why, among other things, she spent as much as 27.840 euros for hotel rooms in Brussels, despite the fact that she has been permanently living there since 2005. Given that the MEP constantly highlights the need for transparency, the current situation is definitely worrying.