A letter has been sent from the National Assembly’s main office to all municipal councils and mayors, requesting the delivery of documentation related to the parliamentary inquiry, with which they want to silence the media outlets that have been critical of the current authorities. Namely, the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry is supposed to investigate whether there were abuses of advertising or fictitious advertising deals made during the election campaign for this year’s elections to the National Assembly. Among other things, they are looking into the purchase of Planet TV, which the company Telekom Slovenije sold to the Hungarian company TV2 Adria, and they will also be checking to see whether the operations of Nova24TV, Nova hiša and Nova Obzorja were being illegally financed by the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS) from abroad.
The investigation will also supposedly cover the conclusion of advertising contracts by the state-owned companies Telekom Slovenije, Pošta Slovenije, and Petrol. The commission will investigate whether the financing of advertising content was actually used as a disguise to pay for political content before the elections. The aforementioned letter, signed by the Commission’s Chairwoman Mojca Šetinc Pašek, states that the Commission of Inquiry for determining the political responsibility of holders of public office with regard to the alleged illegal financing of political parties and party political propaganda in the media before and during the 2022 elections to the National Assembly with financial resources from state-owned enterprises, state institutions and foreign entities, has adopted a decision to carry out preparatory investigative actions and has defined the range of documents to be examined within the framework of the parliamentary inquiry. According to the letter, the documents in question are also in possession of their addressees.
“Consequently, on the basis of Article 1 of the Parliamentary Inquiries Act /…/ and with the powers and competencies of the Commission of Inquiry, determined by the Constitution, which are reasonably equal to those of the judicial authorities, as a user of state funds, I hereby request that you, as a user of state funds, provide the Commission of Inquiry with all business documentation related to the possible conclusion of advertising contracts and changes made to the already concluded contracts for the provision of advertising services from the 13th of March 2020, to the 30th of June 2022, including the payments for the advertising services provided,” Šetinc Pašek threatened the addressees, and of course, listed a select group of media outlets that have been critical of the current authorities in the past, which includes the weekly Demokracija, Nova24TV, Požareport, and several others.
The Slovenian Democratic Party parliamentary group submitted a request to extend the parliamentary inquiry
In mid-September, the SDS party parliamentary group submitted a request to extend the parliamentary investigation ordered by the Commission of Inquiry chaired by Mojca Šetinc Pašek, an MP from the Freedom Movement party (Gibanje Svoboda). The SDS group also requested, among other things, an investigation into the “Necenzurirano.si” (Uncensored) web portal, and the largest commercial television station in Slovenia, POP TV. “I believe that the proposed extension of the above-mentioned parliamentary commission’s inquiry is justified and in the interest of the public, as it concerns the broader issue of election campaign financing,” wrote MP Žan Mahnič in the party’s explanatory statement, adding that what the SDS party has been claiming for years – namely, that the mainstream media outlets are intertwined with the left-wing political option – has been proven in recent weeks. “I am talking in particular about the media’s “fusion” with the Freedom Movement party and the ruling coalition,” he explained. Of course, it goes without saying that the very fact that the chairwoman of the Commission of Inquiry is a former “independent” journalist of the national media outlet Radio-Television Slovenia turned Freedom Movement MP is controversial in itself. The SDS party also demanded some time ago that Tomaž Modic, a journalist from the “Necenzurirano.si” web portal, be removed from the parliamentary commission.
The SDS parliamentary group has requested:
– that the political responsibility of individual holders of public office be established for suspected unlawful influence on members of the management board and supervisory body of the company Telekom Slovenije d.d. for the conclusion of a contract with Pro Plus d.o.o. in 2016, on the basis of which Pro Plus d.o.o. increased the compensation for the broadcasting of five programmes on the network of Telekom Slovenije d.d. by as much as 12 times;
– that the full circumstances of the financing and operation of the companies Salomon d.o.o., Media24 d.o.o. and the companies which are linked to it by ownership – SEE M. & C. d.o.o., KCA d.o.o., Media Partner d.o.o. (which is the published or the web portal “Necenzurirano.si”) and all companies linked to them by ownership or business relationships be established, on suspicion that these media publishers and the media they publish were allegedly used for the illegal financing of political advertising content and other political propaganda, in the run-up to and during the elections to the National Assembly in 2022;
– that all circumstances be established of the conclusion of advertising contracts with the media publishers referred to in the previous indent and any other media publishers identified in the investigation, in the case of contracts concluded with the companies Telekom Slovenije d. d., Pro Plus d. o. o., Petrol, Holding Slovenskih elektrarn d. o. o. (Slovenian Power Plant Holding – HSE) or the entire HSE group, Slovenska energetska družba d. d. (Slovenian Energy Company), GEN-I trgovanje in prodaja električne energije d. d. (GEN-I trading and sale of electricity), and that the role of the members of the management and supervisory bodies of those companies and the role of the members of the management bodies of the Bank Assets Management Company be established, in view of the suspicion that those advertising contracts were not economically justified or were not in the commercial interest of those companies, and the possible political responsibility of individual holders of public office also be established due to the suspicion of undue influence on the members of the bodies of the management and supervisory bodies for the conclusion of the contracts.
– that all the circumstances be established of the conclusion of advertising contracts with the media broadcasters referred to in the previous indent in the investigation, concluded with them by the State Administration, public institutions, public agencies and public funds, directly or indirectly through advertising agencies under the law governing the media, due to the suspicion that these advertising contracts were contrary to the market logic of leasing media space, to establish the possible political responsibility of individual public office-holders for suspected unlawful influence on the public officials who were authorised to conclude these contracts or for suspected unlawful influence on advertising agencies under the law governing the media as outsourcers of media leasing in the media of these broadcasters,
– that all the circumstances be established of the conclusion of contracts by SEE M. & C. d.o.o., KCA d.o.o., Media Partner d.o.o. (which is the publisher of the “Necenzurirano.si” web portal) or other media, as well as the establishment and operation of the aforementioned legal entities, to determine whether they were misused for the allegedly unauthorised political promotion of the political party Freedom Movement and the allegedly illegal financing of the electoral campaign of the Freedom Movement in the period preceding the elections to the National Assembly in the year 2022;
– that all the circumstances be established of the conclusion of contracts by the company SEE M. & C., which allegedly received the following payments: 103,000 euros from the GEN-I energy company, 34,000 euros from BRIO svetovalni center d.o.o. (a consultancy agency), 73,000 euros from Adventura Investments d.o.o., and 60,000 euros from Gorenje d.o.o.
– that all the circumstances be established of the contracts between SEE M. & C. d.o.o. (later renamed KCA d.o.o.), Verovškova cesta 52, Ljubljana, and the legal entity GEN-I d.o.o., Vrbina 17, Krško, and its related companies, and that the possible political responsibility be established of individual public office holders on suspicion that they allowed the contracts to be concluded for the alleged illegal financing of the political party the Freedom Movement or its election campaign for the elections to the National Assembly in the year 2022;
– that all the circumstances be established of the signing of the agreement on participation in the procedure for the joint sale of 75 percent of the shares in GEN-EL between GEN-I and ELEKTRO Ljubljana d.d. and establish the possible political responsibility of individual public office holders for the suspicion that they allowed the agreement to be concluded with the intention of financially damaging the assets of the Republic of Slovenia;
– that all the circumstances be established of the contract for the provision of sell-side M&A financial advisory services between KPMG Poslovno svetovanje d.o.o. (KPMG business consulting) and the legal entity GEN-I d.o.o., and establish the possible political responsibility of individual public office holders for the suspicion that they may have allowed the contract to be concluded with the intention of financially damaging the assets of the Republic of Slovenia.