We recently found out that the European Parliament has prepared an in-depth analysis of the state of the democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Slovenia. This is especially important in light of the exportation of fake news to foreign media, which are then brought back to Slovenia, and for finding ways for foreign policy, especially that of Brussels, to influence the political developments on the domestic political stage, with the aim of overthrowing the current Janez Janša government, after the various experiments with illegal protest, the vote of no confidence and media harassment failed miserably. At the same time, the goal is also to make Slovenia’s forthcoming presidency of the European Council as difficult as possible. The left-wing opposition and the lackey journalists and media houses do not have Slovenia’s best interest in mind, but rather the restoration of power and getting to latch back on to the state budget. Namely, the left-wing opposition is in an abstinence crisis, and at the same time, it is afraid that the success of the current government would further expose its incompetence, how poor its programme is, and their failed strategy of the straw parties and “fresh faces.” The report was completed on the 4th of March 2021, and it uncritically summarises several statements by some of the “impartial” journalists, political activists and organisations: Blaž Zgaga, Marko Milosavljević, Grega repovž and the Slovene Association of Journalists (Društvo novinarjev Slovenije – referred to as DNS), while there is a clear lack of factual statements on the ownership shares in the most influential media outlets, and there is also no analysis regarding the (non)bias of their daily reporting. It would have been wise to perhaps also include some statements from certain journalists and organisations who do not show an obvious left-wing ideological bias. In addition to the Slovene Association of Journalists, they could have at least asked the competitive Association of Journalists and Publicist for their opinion, too. The content of the government’s answer to the Politico newspaper also seems relevant and should have been included, as those who prepared the “analysis” could have found out that Prime Minister Janez Janša has received death threats on several occasions.
Among other sources, the report draws its criticism from the “impartial” web portal Necenzurirano (Uncensored), which is known for its biased judgements, lies, and journalistic activism and has also had to defend itself in front of the court for its controversial activities. The suspicious financing of this media outlet is linked to the media baron Martin Odlazek through the company Kokos. Despite the lack of impartiality of the report, we were still able to extract some interesting findings that reflect the actual situation in our country.
The right-wing politics warns that Slovenia’s mainstream media are “left-leaning”
The report notes that the government’s attitude towards the media is very tense, noting that Prime Minister Janez Janša has repeatedly addressed the media and individual journalists in his tweets, which, according to them, has also provoked international criticism, even from the European Commission. The report also states that the Slovenian Prime Minister called on the European Commission to establish a fact-finding commission in order to establish the actual state of democracy, the rule of law and the independence of the courts, as well as media pluralism. The report then first touches on the sensitive matter of freedom of expression, freedom of the media and media pluralism. As established, freedom of expression and information is guaranteed by the Constitution, and media pluralism is protected by sectorial legislation, as well as by the Public Information Access Act. The report further notes that in 2020, Slovenia ranked 32nd on the World Press Freedom Index.
The report also states that the current Prime Minister Janša called on the public RTV to be more transparent in its reporting and to stop spreading lies, as all Slovenian citizens are paying for RTV in order to be properly informed and not to be misled. Janša also drew attention to the public media outlet’s wasteful handling of the financial resources it receives from the state budget. He also drew attention to the problem of overstaffing at RTV. The often biased Slovene Association of Journalists and the equally biased public RTV tried to portray themselves as the victims and decided to interpret the Prime Minister’s good-intentioned criticism of their bias as an attack on the independence of media reporting. The left-wing Director-General of RTV, Igor Kadunc, also came forward, perceiving the justified criticism of the media outlet as an attempt of its political usurpation by the largest ruling party, even though the coalition leader merely held up a mirror to it.
The editor-in-chief of Mladina, Grega Repovž, passed the participation in the illegal protests off as the “informing of the public”
The report then states that the current Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs pointed out that certain media outlets encouraged the citizens to participate in the illegal protests during the coronavirus crisis with their favourable and extensive coverage of these events, which contributed to the deterioration of the epidemiological situation in our country. In doing so, he drew attention to the anti-government political activism, to which some media outlets and their journalists are entirely committed. The report also includes the excusing of the controversial actions of some media houses, for example, Mladina and its editor-in-chief Grega Repovž, who claimed that the media need to be present at such events, as they are responsible for “informing the public” about them.
The report also includes the opinion of the director of the Government Communication Office (Urad Vlade Republike Slovenije za komuniciranje – referred to as UKOM), Uroš Urbanija, who called on Slovenian citizens to be vigilant in the face of shameless media manipulations, which some media employees like to indulge in, with the aim of deliberately misleading people.
The observation of a high-ranking state official Božo Predalič is also mentioned, who found that the reporting of one of the central and most influential Slovenian media outlets – POP TV – is obviously biased and that this media often uses manipulation in its reporting. The report also states that two journalists of the public RTV were so committed to political activism that on the 15th of July 2020, they co-organised the protests, which were a violation of the restriction of gathering, in force due to the coronavirus epidemic, which led to criminal charges against both of them.
The report also includes Janša’s statement, in which he indirectly pointed out that the Slovenian Press Agency is not really what it should be. The Prime Minister added that the agency is a messenger of false news. Twenty-two editors-in-chief who were apparently unable to face their bias, also came forward, as they stated that they will continue with their work and that they do not intend to change.
What is especially bad is the fact that the statement was also signed by the editors-in-chief of the public RTV, which is paid for by all taxpayers. Their signatures were followed by the signatures of other editors-in-chief of the “impartial” central media outlets, such as: Delo, Dnevnik, Večer, Slovenske novice, Primorske novice, Svet24, STA, Reporter, Mladina and Nedeljski Dnevnik.