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Sunday, July 3, 2022

An Analysis Of Foreign Media Reporting On Slovenian Elections Reveals The Real Tragedy – Practically Everyone Relies On Left-Wing Sources!

By Sara Bertoncelj (Nova24tv)

In the last two years, the majority of Slovenian media outlets practically did not report on the successes of the Janez Janša government but instead focused on manipulative and negative reporting and thus clearly showed the extent of our media world being unbalanced. We can also attribute lots of credit for the victory of yet another “new face,” with a party that did not even exist a few months ago, to the majority media. The fact that left-wing ideological networks are strongly present in institutions and the media in Slovenia is also shown by the fact that the public media outlet RTV mainly invites “experts” to its shows who all share the same political orientation. While the low level of journalism in our country is, unfortunately, not even all that surprising anymore, one would expect professional journalism to at least still be present abroad – but after reviewing hundreds of articles about the situation and elections in Slovenia, it turned out that this is, sadly, not the case. And interestingly – instead of dealing with the upcoming prime minister, all attention is still focused on Janez Janša.

After reviewing several hundred articles published by foreign media outlets about our parliamentary elections, we really could not say that the content is the result of actual journalistic work. Namely, these are one-sided interpretations, supported by comments and quotes from people like Miha KovačVlado MiheljakAlem MaksutiUroš Esih, and even Mojca Šetinc Pašek – the latter was elected to parliament on the list of the new party, the Freedom Movement (Gibanje Svoboda). And even though we are accustomed to the fact that Slovenian journalism is mostly about activism rather than objective reporting, it is still surprising to see that professional journalism is clearly disappearing abroad as well. Journalists are not even ashamed of not trying to reach the bare minimum standard of balanced presentations of events and facts. “Regarding the reporting on the Slovenian elections abroad, the fact stands out that only those who are absolutely against the current government and the holders of the so-called democratic alternative are reporting on them. This is surprising mainly because the media – especially in the West – should be committed to Western standards of media impartiality and media democracy,” said Boštjan M. Turk, Vice-Dean of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

A Slovenian living in Australia also pointed out the biased interpretations of the ZDF journalist on Twitter – she told the media outlet that their reporting harms not only the reputation of the journalist in question but also the reputation of the media outlet itself. To give a better idea of the real situation in Slovenia, she also provided some facts and data, such as the fact that Janez Janša‘s team took over the government on the evening of the declaration of a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic, but his government still managed to reduce unemployment to a record 4.1 percentage and achieve the highest GDP growth rate in the European Union. The Economist ranked Slovenia’s economic measures as one of the best in the world. Prime Minister Janša was also the initiator of a visit to Kyiv to support Ukrainians and give them hope. On the contrary, Robert Golob‘s position is appalling, as he has already announced that he will “normalise” the interstate relations between Slovenia and Russia. Regarding democratic values, the Slovenian population should really be worried – the confidence that Slovenians have in the judiciary is one of the lowest in the EU. According to the social media user mentioned above, this is also thanks to Supreme Court Judge Branko Masleša.

If anyone in Slovenia is close to Europe, it is Janez Janša
As we have already mentioned, the one-sided summarising of foreign media outlets is mainly surprising because the media should be committed to Western standards of media impartiality and media democracy. However, this is clearly not the case here, and the reasons for it are multifaceted. Among other things, Turk pointed out that the media is constantly trying to disqualify the current Prime Minister with claims that he is a nationalist and a supporter of the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, which should not be a problem in itself. However, in Turk’s opinion, the European dimension of the Prime Minister’s work and his very deep interventions in the impulses that structured modern European policy regarding the war in Ukraine should actually be the focus here. With his visit to Kyiv, Janša proved to be a man who cares about Europe. Because if Ukraine were to fall, then Poland would also fall, and the Baltic states would follow soon after, and it would only be a matter of time before the Russian tanks were in Germany, Turk warned. “It is very unfair, on the part of the European media, to not recognise the pro-European dimension of the current government,” Turk was critical, adding that what is coming is neither pro-European nor pro-NATO but is actually what embodies the darkest layers of what is being called counter-Europe – it is Putin, it is Russia, and so on. The current government has clearly condemned the aggression in Ukraine, but on the other hand, we are hearing statements about how the blame is actually shared – this is what the last head of the Communist Party of Slovenia and the first President of our independent country, Kučan, also said, among other things. It is, therefore, quite wrong that the foreign media are uncritically quoting the Slovenian left and describing Janez Janša as someone to whom Europe is not close. “If anyone in Slovenia is close to Europe, it is Janez Janša,” Turk said.

The articles in the foreign media are quite repetitive – it seems that the media outlets mostly drew their material from the same sources. This, of course, further contributes to the one-sided presentation of the situation in Slovenia, which is not only biased but also untrue. “The vote was a vote against Janša,” Kovač told the Guardian. “Against Slovenia on the Hungarian path, against an illiberal democracy in Slovenia, against the government taking over the public television, against the control of the judiciary.” Meanwhile, Esih told the France-Presse agency before the elections that the upcoming election represents a “turning point” with the clash of liberal and illiberal political forces in Slovenia. Activists of the transitional left portray Janša abroad as an extreme and autocratic right-winger, inspired by his ally Viktor Orban, while Slovenia will supposedly be better off “without the right-wing populist Janez Janša, who attacked the free press and democratic institutions in Slovenia.” The fact that the mainstream media and democratic institutions in Slovenia have been kidnapped – and not by Janša – is something that is difficult to understand for the majority of the people abroad, especially since they also mostly communicate only with members of a certain political option.

They kept quiet about the fact that the “independent” journalist had joined Golob’s party
The situation in Slovenia could be a little clearer for our neighbours, but nevertheless, some Austrian media outlets also mention the deep state, but only in the context of a conspiracy theory, which is supposedly being spread by members of the Slovenian right. In relation to these claims, they also quoted a journalist who transferred from RTV to Golob’s party, the Freedom Movement, Mojca Šetinc Pašek, who explained that Milan Kučan had retired a while ago, but Janša continues to claim that he is giving orders to her and other journalists. They also summed up the “research” we portal Necenzurirano (Uncensored), which is an entirely new level of shameful. According to them, the Nova24TV media outlet is a kind of Slovenian Breitbart, which uses photomontages to show George Soros as a puppeteer with politicians hanging on his strings. While Janša is supposedly a weekly guest on the Nova24TV shows, Pašek Šetinc is no longer allowed to report on domestic politics due to a legal dispute with Janša. “Now she moderates talk shows instead of researching corruption cases,” they wrote but did not mention that the “independent” journalist has also entered politics. However, they did mention that the former director of our media outlet, Aleš Hojs, had turned to politics.

If a piece of news does not appear in the “reputable” media, it does not exist
“Janez Janša is the biggest loser of these elections,” political scientist Alem Maksuti told Politico, explaining that he expects Janša to challenge the legitimacy of the election, just as he supported Donald Trump‘s claim that the US elections were fraudulent. He also told the media outlet that the media close to the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), the President of which is Janša, published several articles after polls closed, claiming Russian interference in the election – however, this claim has not appeared in the “reputable” Slovenian media. With this, Maksuti, of course, wanted to hint that if the public RTV, where he is the on-call commentator, does not publish something, then it simply does not exist. Politico also published some statements by the activist and trade unionist Tea Jarc, who said, among other things, that many felt cheated because of the elections that should have taken place (but did not) after the previous Prime Minister, Marjan Šarec, resigned. However, the latter did not even win the previous elections – while the SDS party received 24.92 percent of the vote, the second-ranked List of Marjan Šarec received only 12.60 percent.

The institute’s announcement indicates that the time has come to repay the former energy benefactors
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Professor Zijad Bećirović, Director of the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana, was asked to comment on the current situation after the surprising defeat in the elections. However, it is important to note that IFIMES has in the past been sponsored by the Gen-I energy company, where up until recently, Golob was the President of the Management Board. We recently wrote about the fact that it is apparently time to pay back the former energy benefactor who founded his own party. Bećirović said that the police and the Slovenian Intelligence and Security Service, which, according to him, were a tool in the hands of Janez Janša and his model of government, were particularly abused and that we should also not forget illegal wiretapping and surveillance of citizens. To this, he also added a number of media outlets that are Hungarian owned and are constantly producing scandals and dealing with Janša’s rivals. He also mentioned that financial investigations related to the illegal financing of the SDS party were underway in Bosnia and Herzegovina but did not say anything about Robert Golob’s affairs in Bosnia.

Tanja Starič and Aljaž Pengov Bitenc also commented on the situation for the DW media outlet – the latter believes that the result of the elections is an obvious rejection of two years of an increasingly authoritarian regime. Some media outlets also mentioned that support for the new Slovenian government in building a democracy in the Western Balkans would help stabilise the region, especially at a time of fear that Vladimir Putin‘s Russia could try to destabilise the Western Balkans. Thus, Slovenian journalist Novica Mihajlović expects Golob to stop the politics that lead to “very risky border changes” (in the Western Balkans) and that he will draw a clear line when it comes to the people in the region who advocate such a policy – for example, Milorad Dodik and Orban. “I expect Golob to return the course of Slovenian foreign policy to that before Janša’s coming to power, so that Slovenia’s position will be more harmonised with Brussels than before,” Mihajlović told Al Jazeera. Kovač also commented for the same media outlet that Janša’s trip to Kyiv may have been one of the ways to cover up the connection between Janša and Orban and Orban and Putin. And a foreign journalist was not embarrassed when he wrote these words down. Seriously?

If there is anyone who is not pro-Russian, then it is the current Prime Minister
According to political analyst Boštjan M. Turk, Orban has an ambivalent attitude towards Putin, and Janša’s attitude towards Putin is, in Turk’s opinion, the same as Janša’s attitude towards the Soviet Union. When he separated from it and then left the party – which was a process that in some way sensitised the so-called offspring – he also separated himself from the mental world that defined Putin and Russia. Namely, Putin is acting on a reflex, as he wants to rebuild the Soviet Union, which was the same formation as Yugoslavia, based on the same principles and the same suppression of human rights. “What these media are writing is complete nonsense; if there is anyone who is not pro-Russian or pro-Putin, then it is the current Prime Minister,” Turk concluded.

Sara Bertoncelj

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