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The Media Abused the US Report on the Media in Slovenia and Left Out the Criticism of Our Country Due to the Stolen Jewish Villa, in Which the SD Party’s Headquarters Are Located!

It is a well-known fact that when the leftists fail to achieve a turnaround and therefore do not get back in power, they resort to exporting lies abroad. However, since the media and the people abroad are not familiar with the actual situation in our country, they buy into the lies very easily. The most ridiculous part of this whole thing is how the leftists quickly cause a commotion when foreign media finally report on their exported lies, saying that even abroad, people are aware of the “alarming” situation in our country. Similar to some of the foreign media outlets, the US State Department has also been exposed to the lies. They copied all of the false claims that the left-wing anti-government media outlets have managed to launch into the world last year and included them in their report on Slovenia. All well and good, but apparently, the leftists “accidentally” overlooked the part of the report in which the Americans problematise the seizure of property of the Jews, which has not been returned to this day. They also seem to have overlooked the statement: “Independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of views without restriction.”

Among those who were particularly excited about the report was also the former POP TV and RTV Slovenia journalist Jure Brankovič, who, among other things, also wrote the following: “’Few countries in Europe have experienced such a swift downturn in press and media freedom after a new government came to power,’ the US State Department sums up the situation in Slovenia.” With his post, he, of course, wanted to create the impression of the Department being concerned and critical about the state of the media in Slovenia.

Brankovič, who is now a PR representative of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, is clearly very enthusiastic about the content of the report. However, it should be noted that when it comes to the part of the report that he so enthusiastically highlights, this is what is actually written: “The International Press Institute estimated that “few countries in Europe have experienced such a swift downturn in press and media freedom after a new government came to power,” leading to “a worrying decline in press freedom in a very short space of time in a country previously considered a relative safe haven for independent journalism, sending up further warning signs about deteriorating media freedom in Central Europe.” If Brankovič shared the paragraph in its entirety, as it is written on the State Department’s website, it would have been quite clear that this is merely a quotation of the position of the International Press Institute and not the position of the State Department.

On the one hand, it is ridiculous that Brankovič is trying to be a know-it-all regarding the attitude towards journalists when in the past, he himself clearly showed that he does not have an attitude that one would expect of him. When we learned that the first case of the coronavirus infection had been confirmed at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, we immediately turned to them with questions. Brankovič, who is the head of the Public Relations Office, did not want to answer our journalist’s questions. Instead, he lectured us on how we should act. After all, this was an expected response from a former journalist, who became known because he revealed his source. He built his path to the position of head of PR at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana on the basis of excellent connections in Šarec’s LMŠ party. At the beginning of the year, Reporter revealed that Brankovič has a higher salary than many of the doctors. When responding to a journalist’s question, Brankovič explained that he was initially in the 49th pay grade and then moved up to the 51st pay grade in November. Brankovič is also a member of the Supervisory Board of the Slovenian Press Agency.

The Report of the US State Department also states that Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional republic. “Power is shared among a directly elected president (head of state), a prime minister (head of government), and a bicameral parliament composed of the National Assembly (lower house) and the National Council (upper house). In June 2018, the country held parliamentary elections. Observers considered the elections free and fair.” In the section regarding the respect of the integrity of an individual, they point out that in Slovenia, there were no reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, nor were there any reports of disappearances caused by on or behalf of the government authorities. The report also states that there were no reports of the government or its employees torturing others or engaging in other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments or punishments. “Physical conditions were generally acceptable, according to the human rights ombudsman,” they write, adding that “local NGOs stated the government-run asylum centre and other intake facilities housing asylum seekers were often overcrowded.”

Independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of views without restriction
“The constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary, and the government generally respected judicial independence and impartiality,” they wrote, adding that there were no reports of political prisoners or detainees. “The constitution and law provide for freedom of expression, including for the press, and the government generally respected these rights. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of expression, including for the press.” Among other things, the report states that at the protests, slogans, such as “Death to Janšism” were seen. “The Prime Minister claimed the slogan was a death threat that could escalate into physical violence. The state prosecution did not press charges, determining on May 20 that the word “death” in the slogan should be seen as metaphorical and as a call to halt the policies of Janša.” Interestingly, the US State Department also states: “Independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of views without restriction.” It adds that the journalists’ organisations still reported growing hateful rhetoric and threats against journalists online, spurred by the animosity from officials. “The International Press Institute highlighted a series of Twitter attacks on reporters,” they add. As we can see, the negative news surrounding the media attacks refer to the statements of others, so this is not the US State Department’s position.

Seizure of Jewish property problematised
One part that is especially interesting is the paragraph in which the Americans problematise the seizure of property of the Jews, which has not been returned to date. They state that some Holocaust survivors and their relatives, along with Slovene deportees, reclaimed pre-1945 confiscated property through 1945-46 restitution legislation. “Most Holocaust-era claims are categorised as heirless property, for which there is no provision in law for restitution or compensation. In 2018 the WJRO and Ministry of Justice agreed to launch a joint research project to compile as complete a historical record as possible of heirless, formerly Jewish-owned properties in the country. Research teams commenced the project in 2018. Ministry of Justice researchers concluded their research in October 2019, while the WJRO report was under review as of year’s end. The ministry agreed to a one-year timeline for evaluating the values of heirless property after completion of the study. Some remaining non-Jewish confiscated properties appeared to be unrecoverable because the parties occupying the sites were politically influential and thwarted attempts to reach a negotiated settlement.”

It is, of course, clear as day why Brankovič did not talk about the Jewish property. By doing so, he would have to also criticise the left. Namely, the SD party has its headquarters in the stolen Jewish villa Moskovič, which the proud successors of the communists do not find the least bit controversial. The Social Democrats have repeatedly denied any theft, but the facts are different from their claims. The last owner of the villa, Feliks Moskovič, died in the Holocaust, and the villa was nationalised by the communists and then passed into the hands of the SD party free of charge. This truth came to light, despite the SD party and its subordinates faking ignorance. Serbian President Aleksander Vučić, for example, said the following: “We have decided to send a letter to all international institutions, saying that Tanja Fajon stole the Jewish villa Mosković. How can she not be ashamed by her actions?”

Given that Brankovič published part of the report, which was supposed to represent the position of the US State Department, while not writing that the Department was only quoting the position of the International Press Institute, leads many people to rightly think that he tried to reinterpret the contents of the letter, in the sense of: “Look, even the Americans have noticed that with the new government, there has been a decline in press and media freedom.” Apparently, some people believe that their lies will become the truth if only they repeat them often enough. This is unbelievable and sad – after all, their actions are causing damage to Slovenia as a country. But obviously, the desire for the left to regain power is so strong that they are willing to do whatever it takes.

Sara Kovač

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