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[Exclusive] Key Statements By Commissioner Jourová On Political Interference In Internal Affairs Revealed

At Tuesday’s press conference, Janez Janša and Milan Zver presented key internal documents related to the more than controversial visit of European Commissioner Věra Jourová to the Slovenian Constitutional Court. Now, these accusations have also been backed up by facts, even though the European Commission and Věra Jourová have tried their best to delay the disclosure of the documents. We have also received key quotes and reminders, which we reveal in this article.

Key quotes from the disclosed documents:

“The new government enjoys a comfortable majority in the Parliament. Prime Minister Golob’s party won the election in a landslide as voters mobilised against the excesses of Prime Minister Janša’s governing style.”

“The meeting with Slovenian media will give you good insights on how the media perceive the situation of media freedom in the country, the efforts of the current government to initiate reforms, after the tense period under Janša.”

“The new law on RTV Slovenija – one of the main election pledges of the current coalition government – entered into force on the 28th of December 2022. Politically, one of its main aims is to remedy the situation at the public broadcaster by “depoliticising” it, which in practice means changing the composition of the programming council and the management.”

“The public broadcaster bill was prepared in close cooperation with media experts and an NGO ‘Legal Network for Protection of Democracy’ – ‘Pravna mreža za varstvo demokracije’ (you will meet them in the course of your visit). The bill had been dopted under the emergency procedure as a means to depoliticise the public broadcaster after allies of the previous government were appointed to key posts.”

“On the 20th of February 2023, the Constitutional Court stayed (i.e. implemented a kind of interim measure to wait until the final ruling) the key provisions that enable the change of management. The decision is somehow controversial because it means that the procedure of appointment of the new management structures can proceed while the Court continues deliberating, but the appointments will not take effect until the Court has reached the final decision on the matter. So in practice today there are two governing structures, the old one calling the shots and the new one waiting for the final court ruling. On the positive side, the new governing body is appointed without involvement of politicians, but by civil society and RTV staff.”

“Several stakeholders have complained about an increased worsening of the situation since the appointment of Andrej Grah Whatmough as the new Director-General of RTV Slovenia in April 2021, and the appointment of Uroš Urbanija, former head of the Government Communication Office (UKOM) as Director of RTV Slovenia.”

“Both figures are seen as politically tied to former Premier Minister Janša. While Urbanija headed the Government Communication Office, the body suspended financing for the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), a move that was heavily criticised by the Commission and that several stakeholders considered as politically motivated, and it led to a number of staff leaving. In the past months, several journalists of RTV Slovenia made claims of harassment and pressure while their unions organised several strikes.”

From the list of reminders for the meeting with media representatives:

Key messages:

  • I know you have been through difficult times.
  • I understand that the situation now is changing, with the good efforts by the new government to initiate reforms on a series of important issues, including the independence of public service media.

Additional info from the list of reminders for the meeting with media representatives:

  • Disinformation and fake news in Slovenia are most often peddled by outlets close to the Slovenian Democratic party – SDS (part of the European People’s Party – EPP), which lost re-election in April 2022. These outlets are controlled by Hungarian business people from Viktor Orban’s circle and run by SDS sympathisers.
  • Chief among them are the news portals and (where SDS has more than 30 percent direct ownership stake) that often distribute disinformation produced by foreign far-right portals, most often The reporting of both portals has been repeatedly condemned by the Slovene journalists’ honour tribunal. The reporting of both portals is often referred to by some local portals.
  • The former director of Nova Hiša, which controls the portal, Aleš Hojs became the Minister of Internal Affairs in the last Janša’s government in 2020. In this position, he publicly spread disinformation or false claims at least five times.
  • The only regular fact-checking project in Slovenia, (, was established in 2019 by Oštro, a centre for investigative journalism in the Adriatic region.
  • Meta (Facebook) detailed that it partners with the fact-checking organisation Oštro in Slovenia. Over 220,000 fact-checking labels were applied to content in Slovenia on Facebook and 12,000 on Instagram from the 1st of October to the 31st of December 2022.

From the list of reminders for the meeting with the Legal Network for Protection of Democracy NGO:

  • The main aim of the network is to offer legal protection to individuals and organisations in their peaceful work for the respect, implementation and protection of democratic principles and human rights, which have been put under pressure by the government’s measures, in particular under the former government led by Janez Janša (SDS-EPP), whose modus operandi soon raised concerns of the NGOs.
  • The work of your legal network is an important one. Successes at all levels of the courts (including the Constitutional Court) are a demonstration of quality and a confirmation that your work is indispensable.
  • I would also be interested to learn more about the activities you have developed through cross-border cooperation with Polish and Hungarian colleagues facing similar challenges.

The controversial third point of the objectives of the meeting between Jourová and President of the Constitutional Court Accetto

It is important to note that despite the disclosure of the documents, the European Commission is still censoring the third point of the objectives of the meeting between Commissioner Věra Jourová and the President of the Constitutional Court, Matej Accetto. It is assumed that this point refers to a direct instruction from Jourová to Accetto to speed up the procedures regarding RTV Slovenia. Why?

In the accompanying letter, the European Commission justifies this censorship by protecting the decision-making process and goes on to say: one of the censored sentences on page 8 of document 3 contains the opinions of the Commission services as part of internal consultations within the institution. As explained above, the document was prepared for internal use under the responsibility of the relevant Commission services and does not reflect actual interventions made during meetings.

A further indication that the third point refers specifically to RTV Slovenia is found in the report of the meeting, where in the last paragraph, chronologically following the two topics listed above, they write the following about Accetto:

Last time, he stressed that he had noticed a growing trend of attempts to transform political problems into legal cases to be presented to the European Court of Justice or national constitutional courts. In his opinion, this increases the perception of the politicisation of the judiciary, as any decision is likely to divide opinion. In this context, the “biggest political problem in the country at the time” was broadcasting, but it was also a political problem that was delegated to the Constitutional Court.

T. R.

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