By: T. F.
On the web portal Domovina, they talked about current events in Slovenia and Europe with a computer scientist and publicist Tomaž Štih, who has been living in the United Kingdom in recent years, and regularly monitors events in Slovenia and actively comments on them. He is known on Twitter as Libertarec. During the second Janša’s government, he participated in the preparation of the Public Finance Balancing Act at the Ministry of Finance. They discussed the image of Slovenia abroad, the structural problems of Slovenian politics, reporting on Slovenia in foreign media and the functioning of the Slovenian media landscape, especially in light of the current crisis at STA. They also touched upon the Slovenia’s and Europe’s response to the obvious crisis.
When asked what he tells people abroad because he comes from Slovenia and if there is negative coverage of Slovenia and the current Slovenian government in foreign media by people he is in contact with, Tomaž Štih said that according to his personal experience this is not known among the ordinary people. “However, this is not necessarily a reflection of the entire population. I myself work mainly with the British, Japanese, Indians, and Russians. Half a year ago, the most common reaction when you mentioned Slovenia was: A, Melania Trump, what a beautiful woman. Everyone knew her.”
“Today, the more well-informed mention that they stopped in Ljubljana on a trip, while the less well-informed say Dubrovnik, beautiful, beautiful. (laughter) Or Bled. The hysteria we are following is more or less limited to Brussels and is not known among ordinary people, at least in the UK. It is true, however, that most people live their quiet lives and do not delve into politics. That is why they rely on the media to serve them with key and accurate information, so that they will not have to deal with politics,” quotes Štih on the web portal Domovina. The well-known tweeter believes that Slovenian left wing journalists have “great potential” to do great damage to the country by exporting news to foreign journalists. “Most people know practically nothing about Slovenia. If such a person reads an article that Blaž Zgaga does not dare to go out for a walk in the streets at night because he is so endangered in Slovenia as a journalist, or that the far right, fascists controls RTV and POP TV, and the reader creates an image of Slovenia based on that, damage is done. When s/he comes to Slovenia, s/he will come with this perception.”
According to Štih, the case of foreign journalists who have recently been reporting negatively on Slovenia and its Prime Minister are mainly younger journalists from similar faculties, such as the Ljubljana FDV. “If they are leaning a little to the left, it is easy because they have similar views to our leftists and are making contact with them. They then upgrade this distorted picture with additional misinformation according to the KGB model. I think it is done on a purely human level. They look for weak journalists without sources and deliberately serve them information from left wing sources,” Štih comments on a journalistic perception. The second factor is probably the fact that certain journalists, such as Blaž Zgaga, no longer have any credibility in Slovenia. People do not trust them anymore. Therefore, they have no choice but to market their goods abroad, because no one wants to buy them at home anymore. Slovenians know that there are no fascist groups in Slovenia that hunt for independent journalists from Mladina, Dnevnik and the like. “Only Deutsche Welle can really sell this,” adds Štih, who also points out the phenomenon of news laundering.
“When a story is exported abroad, so that it comes back home as a more credible story. Our journalists make a great effort to sell the news to an Austrian colleague, he publishes it, and then they say, look, the Austrians published it, and then it has to be true.”
Štih also has a very interesting answer to the question of whether STA deserves the status given to it by the media these days. Why does he think that director Bojan Veselinovič does not want to hand over the required documentation to UKOM for further funding, but instead collects donations as it if was a humanitarian organisation?
Tomaž Štih, computer scientist, publicist, and blogger:
“The nature of the STA is different today than it used to be. Today, it is one oversized, politicised public service that the state does not really need at all. STA started its journey as a six-member collective, which is supposed to offer foreigners a window into events in Slovenia. Today, however, we pay around a hundred people to disseminate inside-political information, which we never needed. This information is also extremely one-sided. STA is a mechanism for spreading disinformation throughout the media. It is not right that those who benefit from this misinformation should pay the same as those who are victims of this misinformation.
Who is who can be seen by who defends STA the most. The left sphere of interest has no desire for an independent STA. If it had it, it would have already set it up. They want to keep the STA on the left. Over the years, they cleared the STA of the right wing journalists. Director Veselinovič, who today presents himself as a victim, played a key role in this. This is why he removed the terminally ill editor Meško from the STA – because he did not have the appropriate political orientation. He thought wrong.
Such political inquisitors are now faking independence and professionalism. This is funny. Now that they have cleared up all the different opinions and are left with only the left, they want to be untouchable and for the state not to interfere with them. That is not credible.”
You can read the entire interview with dr. Tomaž Štih on the web portal Domovina.je.