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Smear campaign after the failed vote of no confidence: The left-wing journalist from Austria compares Janša to a nightmare

After the project of the vote of no confidence failed, an article appeared in Politico the very next day – completely by chance, surely – in which the journalist Lili Bayer claimed that the Prime Minister of the Slovenian government, Janez Janša, allegedly intimidates and persecutes the media which are not to his liking. She made this claim, even though it is perfectly clear that the Slovenian landscape is filled with anti-government media, which mercilessly attack the government and make up scandals where there are none. As she did not cite a specific source, many people rightfully came to the realisation that she was apparently only referring to the allegations of the left-wing activists. But apparently, the left-wing option, which lost the project of the vote of no confidence, is no longer satisfied with just the Politico article, as a new article has now appeared in the Swiss NZZ am Sonntag, in which the journalist Adelheid Wölfl claims that Janša is not popular in Slovenia and that his anti-communist views are what helps him stay in power. Wölfl is a journalist who also writes for the left-wing newspaper Der Standard.

Adelheid Wölfl, a journalist who also writes about Slovenia and the Balkans for the Austrian liberal-left newspaper Der Standard, stated that Janez Janša recently managed to help his government survive the vote of no confidence because the critics of the government simply failed to gather enough votes. She also wrote that Janša had already been the Prime Minister twice before the current term but that he had ended his second term because he was accused of corruption and had to go to prison. With this, she created the impression that the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption’s report is the one that sent Janša to prison. This is nothing but deception, as the prison sentence and the Patria affair had nothing to do with the Commission’s report. If a journalist makes mistakes when writing about the most basic data, we can expect nothing else from her, except for even more mistakes. And that is exactly what we got.

Wölfl went on to write that Janša is supposedly not popular, but that like the US President Donald Trump, he has around 15 to 30 percent of loyal voters who worship him as a hero. “Some of them come from families that were oppressed in communist Yugoslavia. Just like Janša,” she wrote. In her claim about Janša’s unpopularity, she referred to the list of most popular politics in Slovenia, which we know is not the most reliable source for making any solid conclusions. Namely, Members of the European Parliament and the European Commissioners from Slovenia are usually deemed most popular by these lists; however, most Slovenian citizens know very little about their actual work (and here is a very telling fact that proves this theory: Ljudmila Novak, for example, just recently defeated the President of the Republic Borut Pahor and became the most popular politician in Slovenia, according to the list). Here, it would be much more appropriate to use the information about which party would win the election if they were to happen on the upcoming Sunday, and who the people think is the most suitable person for running the government.

The reason why the journalist decided not to do this is probably that the SDS party, whose president is Janša, is always in the lead in these polls. The latest Parsifal poll showed that Janša’s SDS party would win by a large margin, with 36.8 percent of the vote. The poll showed that the second-ranked SD party would only get 12.6 percent of the vote. The journalist should have also taken into account who the citizens think is best suited to run the government. To the question “Which of the following politicians would, in your opinion, be the most suitable option for the role of Prime Minister or for running the country?” the largest part of the respondents (26.4 percent) answered that they believe this person is the current Prime Minister, Janez Janša. Tanja Fajon came in second place with 10.1 percent of the votes, and the former Prime Minister Marjan Šarec came third with 7.5 percent of all votes. It is clear as day why the journalist decided not to use this information.

She then went on to describe Janša as a person who is populist and radical. Among other things, she pointed out the personnel changes that have been made during the time of his current government. She, of course, forgot to mention the fact that, regardless of which government comes to power, personnel changes always happen, as everyone places those who they trust the most among their closest associates. It is also worth mentioning that during the previous government’s term, for example, as many as 252 staff changes happened, which ranged all the way from the police to the judiciary, the infrastructure and directors of the directorates, and other public institutions. At the time, no one thought of this as a problem, of course, because the “right” people (meaning the left) were in power. This complaint is thus completely superfluous.

She compares Janša’s government to a nightmare
“Janša is fighting against communists who no longer exist. Even at night, on Twitter, for example,” Wölfl pointed out, adding that he likes to spread conspiracy theories on Twitter, as well as retweet right-wing extremist statements. “That is also how he got the nickname ‘Marshal Twitto.’” At the end of the article, she also criticised Nova24TV and the Nova hiša media company, which, according to her, are actively helping Janša with his cultural war. “He is trying to intimidate the journalists from the public service broadcasters, who are critical of him, with personal attacks.” It is true that Janša actively uses Twitter, but he uses it in order to reveal untruths to the public and quickly inform the citizens about current events. The reason for this can also be found in the nature of the Slovenian media’s landscape, as the media outlets in Slovenia are traditionally biased and faithful to the left political option. In any case, this mantra about the alleged intimidation of the public media has become somewhat trite already, especially in light of the nature of the mainstream media’s reporting. The action of criticising a media outlet for its incorrect reporting cannot be treated as an attack. In any case, the fact that the journalist singled out Nova24TV is not surprising, as our media outlet, unlike most of the others, stands out because it does not say the same things as everyone else. It reveals what the mainstream media often “accidentally” ignore.

The fact that another article that attacks the Prime Minister has popped up is not surprising. By writing articles, the left-wing opposition is drawing attention away from the failure of the members of the Constitutional Arch Coalition and Karl Erjavec and their vote of no confidence. Apparently, the author of the aforementioned article is also not happy about the outcome of the vote. This can be deduced from her description of Erjavec, which she wrote at the end of December for the Austrian left-wing Der Standard. Namely, she described Erjavec as an experience former Minister of Foreign Affairs. And at the end, she clearly wrote: “Let’s hope that, just like in 2013, the Janša government will only go down in history as a short nightmare.”

Nina Žoher

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