The national television RTV Slovenia is also the official television station of the Slovenian presidency, as it signed a contract worth 180 thousand euros, in which it agreed to cover the events of public interest and provide technical support during the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. However, on the very first day of the presidency, RTV proved that it clearly does not have the intent to respect the agreement. During the speech of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who said the following sentence in English: “Slovenia is taking the helm of Europe’s leadership at a turning point of our Union,” they broadcast subtitles with a completely different meaning. Instead of translating what was said, they wrote the following: “We need to trust the free, independent and properly funded media outlets. Equality must be respected.”
RTV Slovenia should by no means allow itself such moves, as it has committed itself to the contract that covers all 200 events that will take place during the Slovenian presidency, and they are supposed to be shown to the public correctly. Perhaps, we would believe their claims that a “technical error” happened during von der Leyen’s speech if some other text was broadcast, but for this “mistake,” they chose the text that the mainstream media and the opposition have been trying to “sell” to the general public for more than a year now. We are now wondering who will be held responsible for this, as it goes beyond meanness. RTV basically used the European Commission President’s speech for their own purposes.
“The Presidency of the Council of the European Union is the most important foreign policy event in Slovenia this year. Covering such an important event is extremely important from the point of view of the reputation of RTV Slovenia and, of course, its mission, too,” RTV Slovenia wrote when the contract on its services during the presidency was concluded. However, the move they allowed themselves to make did not in any way contribute to the reputation of the television – on the contrary; they successfully tarnished what was left of their good reputation. Director-General of RTV Slovenia, Andrej Grah Whatmough, said that this is a large project that will require the exceptional engagement of all employees. “We have proven many times before that we are able to carry out such large and demanding projects flawlessly.” But this attempt to mislead the public certainly does not indicate that they are capable of carrying out such large projects correctly.
Even though many Slovenians speak English and were, therefore, able to see for themselves how RTV works, there are also many older people in Slovenia who do not speak English and only read the subtitles. The public has, therefore, already been misled by RTV on the very first day of the presidency, as it now seems as if everything revolves around the media in Slovenia when that is actually far from the truth.
Viewers of RTV Slovenia were outraged
The reactions to this inadmissible move made by RTV were more than obviously negative, as the viewers of RTV Slovenia were appalled. “We are not all Bratušek or Tomić. We can understand what she is saying and see that the translation is false,” “We should show this to von der Leyen!”, “Manica Ambrožič, do you feel responsible for this translation mess??? Do you really believe Slovenians are this stupid? Congratulations, you have successfully damaged the RTV’s reputation and the trust we have for this institution even further; it is now equal to zero,” “Who got fired because of this, and why was it nobody?”, “The new RTV Director should do something about this or resign. It is a good thing that most Slovenians understand English,” are just some of the comments that appeared online.