»It is no secret that in Slovenia we have problems with the rule of law and also with the freedom of the media, but of course we look at these problems differently,« explained Prime Minister Janez Janša. He is convinced that those who talk the most about media freedom also violate it the most.
This was also shown in the debate itself, as the chairwoman Sophie in ‘t Veld did not allow the presentation of a video about the media scene in Slovenia, which is why Janša no longer wanted to participate in the debate. »Everything was agreed, prepared, translated and forwarded in a timely manner. It is simply a censorship of a body that is supposed to defend the freedom of the media. The real face of #EPJustice is sad,« commented Prime Minister Janša after the debate.
A debate on media freedom and the rule of law in Slovenia took place today in front of the The Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group in the European Parliament. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša was also invited to the debate. He has personally been working since 1987 to get the European Parliament to debate the rule of law, freedom of the media and the state of democracy in Slovenia. »When we seceded from Yugoslavia, we needed such help the most at that time,« he stressed. He is convinced that in a way we need such a discussion even now, in fact we have needed it all this time of the Slovenian transition, which is still not complete. »It is no secret that in Slovenia we have problems with the rule of law and also with the freedom of the media, but of course we look at these problems differently,« he explained.
»What is an objective criterion is the facts,« he goes on to explain and welcomes the opening of this debate, hoping that this is not the last such debate, given that the problem is complex. »As representatives of the government, we are ready to cooperate at any time, just to have time for it. We also hope that the epidemic will end as soon as possible and that we will be able to discuss this directly.« He is convinced that long-distance discussions are difficult, and he hopes for a personal discussion as soon as possible and that there will be enough time for speeches and explanations without censorship. »I regret that we have received some warnings in recent hours in the sense that you have to personally approve what we are going to show here as a video,« he said critically, adding that he did not see this as a contribution to media freedom.
Unlike previous governments, Janša emphasizes that they do not want to hide anything and are willing to talk about anything. Anyone who thinks that there is a problem with the rule of law or freedom of the media in Slovenia wants to have the opportunity and enough time to present the other side as well. »And of course we invite everyone who thinks that anything is wrong – and many things are wrong – to come to Slovenia and get directly acquainted with the situation,« he called on MEPs. He is convinced that they need a week in Slovenia and a good translator to monitor the media and political events.
They did not want to play the video
»It will then be clear to every layman what is happening in Slovenia and that the picture is quite different from the one that was tried to be shown by some proposers,« he explained. He is aware that all this debate, which is taking place within the European Parliament, is dedicated to the internal political situation in Slovenia, and he doubts that anyone abroad is interested in this at all. »We want things to be judged objectively and, of course, for each institution to respect its responsibilities.« He then sent a video to MEPs, which actually testifies about the attacks on journalists and the attempted murder of a journalist in the past. »Unfortunately, those who have their mouths full about media freedom do not have such problems as journalists who were beaten almost to death,« he explained.
The proposal to play the video led to a confrontation between President Sophia in ‘t Veld’ and the Prime Minister. Sophia in ‘t Veld’ emphasized that they could not play the video on media freedom in Slovenia, which he provided to them, while Prime Minister Janša claimed that the video had been sent three hours before the debate and that they had enough time to prepare it for the presentation. In addition, the Prime Minister said he had been informed that the chairwoman herself had to personally approve the video. The MEP denied this and stated that the video would not be censored and would be available at the end of the sitting, noting that the European Parliament had technical problems. The Prime Minister pointed out that the technicians had assured him that everything was fine and that the communication regarding the video before the debate had taken place differently (which they can prove). He also said he believes the chairwoman does not want to play the video because of the content. Chairperson In ‘t Veld and MP Barley mentioned that playing the video during the sitting is not a normal thing and called on Janša to speak on his own. The Prime Minister responded that the video was made in order to respect the time frame of the session. He suggested that the session be closed and resumed when the EP could play the video.