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Will Jourová Keep Quiet Once Again?

“Directors, editors and journalists are being let go… Will you keep quiet this time, too?” MEP Romana Tomc reacted strongly on Twitter, calling on those who are largely responsible for what is going on to take responsibility after the most recent brutal staff purge at the national media outlet Radio-Television Slovenia (RTVS), which is more than obviously about nothing else but the current authorities eliminating “those who are not theirs.” She listed the European names who are famous for defending the “freedom” of the media, but who are themselves its executioners. MEP Milan Zver was also critical of the European allies of the Slovenian left, announcing that he would inform the European Union’s Court of Justice of Jourová’s behaviour. 

“In Slovenia, we now know what the complete political subjugation of the public media outlet RTVS means. Directors, editors and journalists who are not completely on the political line of the current far-left government are being removed, archives are being deleted, and even programmes are being cancelled overnight,” said MEP Milan Zver in his response to the personnel purges at RTVS. In addition, he has still not been given a transparent answer by the European Commission on what the EU Commissioner Věra Jourová was doing in Slovenia at the time when the constitutionality of the Radio-Television Slovenia Act was being decided by the Constitutional Court. MEP Romana Tomc was also harsh in her response to the situation, calling on all three quasi-advocates of the rule of law, human rights and independent media, who have so far remained silent about the situation at hand.

“After the complete political takeover of RTV Slovenia, for which you, Věra Jourová, Sophie in’t Veld, and Dunja Mijatović are also responsible, because you knew about what was going on but still did not act, the thorough political cleansing continues as planned. Directors, editors and journalists who are not firmly on the line of the extreme left and the current government are being let go. So far, the following people have been swiftly removed from their posts: Director-General of RTVS, Director of TV Slovenia, editor-in-chief of the news programme, editor-in-chief of the internal policy, editor-in-chief of the foreign policy, editor-in-chief of the daily news programmes, editor-in-chief of the RTV’s web portal MMC,” wrote Tomc, referring to the personnel purge, which, according to our sources, is currently coming at the behest of the editor-in-chief, Ksenija Horvat. “Announcements are then followed by cancellations of programmes critical of the work of the government, as well as programmes that expose the crimes of communism. How will you protect the freedom of the media you talk so much about? Will you keep quiet this time, too?” Tomc added, tagging the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe in her post on the social media X.

The national media outlet RTV recently announced that it had “refreshed” the show Arena by removing its presenters Igor Pirkovič and Vida Petrovčič and replacing them with new presenters. Valentina Plaskan was also left without her show – Dnevnik (Daily News). The new term for depoliticisation and the reckoning with recalcitrant presenters is, therefore, “refreshment”. In the near future, the show Pričevalci (Witnesses) and its presenter Jože Možina are also to be dealt with, and Luka Svetina is not safe either.

Investigative journalist Bojan Požar recently revealed the new victim of the depoliticised RTV authorities, Jaka Elikan, one of the few journalists at the public broadcaster RTV who dared to report on the “soft underbelly” of power, the Prime Minister’s dealings from his time at the Gen-I energy company. “At RTVS, the axe keeps on chopping. Jaka Elikan, the editor of the news show TV Dnevnik, who was supposed to edit Dnevnik over the weekend, has just been removed,” Požar wrote on X.

A little later, Luka Svetina also announced that his work on the show Odmevi (Echoes) is coming to an end. “Today, the acting editor-in-chief informed me that she no longer counts on me as the host of Odmevi, but that I will remain part of the news programme. Thank you to the previous management for the opportunity and to Rosvita Pesek for her help. I will continue to pursue my journalistic mission according to my conscience and strive for objectivity.”

Where are the defenders of the media, the rule of law and human rights now?

There is no doubt that the left-wing activists Sophie in’t Veld and Věra Jourová, who became Euro-commissioners thanks to the European coalition’s combinatorics, are the big stars of the Slovenian left-wing media scene. They have perfectly assisted in the demonisation of the former Slovenian right-wing government by merely uncritically repeating the lies and one-liners of the Slovenian activists who, together with the Friday political cyclists, fought against Janez Janša. Jourová recently gave a lecture on how journalists will be better protected by the new law on the protection of journalists, so MEP Tomc is not the only one who is wondering whether Jourová will finally speak up this time, when journalists are being fired for all to see.

The European Commission is still hiding the minutes of Jourová’s visit to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia

“Your role in the case of the “depoliticisation” of RTV Slovenia, when you visited the President of the Slovenian Constitutional Court in the run-up to the final decision on the suspension of the amendment to the Radio-Television Slovenia Act, was immeasurable. For several months now, the Commissioner in charge of values and transparency at the European Commission has been avoiding publishing the details of her visit to Slovenia, which a large part of the public considers to have been unacceptable interventionism leading to a complete political takeover of a public media house, the likes of which we have never witnessed before in Slovenia,” pointed out MEP Zver, who is still waiting for the minutes and notes from Jourová’s visit to the Constitutional Court while the latter was deciding on the constitutionality of the Radio-Television Slovenia Act.

Tearing down the rule of law and fundamental human rights

The current developments on public television also violate all the legality of the “rule of law,” about which even MEP Sophie in’t Veld has admitted between the lines is a political pamphlet of the European left political option. The latest report, quoting the far-left NGO wing of the current government, the Peace Institute (Mirovni inštitut), clearly spoke of “progress” in the rule of law in Slovenia, compared to the “dark” years of the previous government. The fact is, however, that we never witnessed such purges under the previous government, but they have become a constant feature of the current government.

The support for Slovenian left-wing NGOs is truly incredible. The two aforementioned European Union representatives are complemented by a third, on which MEP Tomc also called for a response. The personnel purge is not only completely undemocratic, but also an issue that concerns the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović. The same person who called for an end to all proceedings against civil society activists in Slovenia and for their sentences to be abolished. So, she is familiar with supporting delinquents, or with the way in which they operate.

“The double standards and political activism of some top officials within the EU institutions will not lead to greater media freedom and pluralism, but quite the opposite. Next year’s European elections will be an opportunity to send this dangerous left-wing agenda, hidden under the labels of ‘media freedom’ and ‘rule of law’, to the dustbin of European political history. Until then, I will continue to work hard to expose arbitrary practices by individuals within the EU institutions that may constitute flagrant violations of EU values and law. In the case of Jourová, I will take her case to the Ombudsman and also to the Court of Justice of the EU,” MEP Zver concluded.

T. B.

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