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Oštro – How This Extremely Biased Web Portal Became The Creator Of Truth

The media “fact-checking” projects have gained a bad reputation in a very short time. Not much is left of the lofty goals of debunking “fake news”. Some believe that this is actually about censoring conservative voices, while others think that it is an attempt to co-create politics. We asked Dr Žiga Turk, Branko Grims, M.Sc., and Tino Mamić for their opinion on this increasingly pressing topic – the nature of such projects.

On Tuesday, the President of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), Janez Janša, and SDS MEP Milan Zver, called on European Commissioner Věra Jourová to resign. There are strong indications, despite the censorship of official documentation, that she tried and actually influenced the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia’s decision on the controversial amendment to the Radio-Television Slovenia Act. In fact, shortly after her meeting with the President of the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court allowed the controversial amendment to be implemented, and with it, it brought about the complete usurpation of the public institution by the political left.

Who gives a politically biased person the right to check the facts?

But at the press conference in question, we also learned something else. Namely, the official document of the European Commission also mentions the Oštro web portal. This is a media project, among other things, aimed (at least declaratively) at exposing fake news, under the leadership of a former journalist of the Delo newspaper, Anuška Delić. Oštro is presented in the document as a legitimate project, despite the obvious political bias of the project leader. Janša said at the press conference: “Now we have officially found out who the censor is in Slovenia. Someone who also tells the European Commission whether it is true what you (the media) publish, without being able to complain about it, because you don’t even know it. Without any legal protection. Oštro, an institution elected by nobody, has been appointed here to check whether something is true or not. Now you tell me, is Anuška Delić Zavrl a politically neutral person?”

Turk: Just another journalistic column

We asked former minister and professor Dr Žiga Turk about the nature of “fact-checking” media projects, and he explained that fact-checking is just “another journalistic column,” which is subject to the same temptations as all the others, except that the name of the column tries to fool the readers into believing that the articles published in this column are particularly truthful.

“But they are not. Every journalist either is or is not committed to the truth. Some media have made this an independent business model and do not consider themselves a media, but something “above” other media, which is just as much a trick. The trick may or may not have been bought by the directors of social networks, who, at least since the Brexit referendum and the 2016 elections in the USA, have been under pressure from politicians to tone down the propaganda of some of the policies that have been taking place on these networks. These networks have understood from the signals coming from the authorities that such “fact-checkers” as Oštro are desirable and that such fact-checkers will control what is “right”.”

We also asked Turk about the partnership between Oštro and Meta (Facebook and Instagram). When asked whether Oštro is a moderator of public debate or merely a censor in the context of this partnership, he said: “Of course, it is about censorship, or the adaptation of a multinational to local customs. Apple is doing all sorts of things that are even worse than that in China, in order to be able to sell there. Facebook, as a private company, is concerned about maximising returns for its owners and, therefore, has to find a balance between what users want and how to have as few problems with the authorities as possible. By awarding the power of censorship for the Slovenian-speaking space to a company that politics deems legitimate (read orthodox), the authorities have done something to save themselves the trouble of doing business.”

MP Grims: It is a form of left-wing censorship

We also asked SDS MP and candidate in the upcoming European elections, Branko Grims, M. Sc., who experienced first-hand how the distorted “fact-checking” works, about his opinion on the matter.

“The whole concept of fact-checking is, in fact, a form of online censorship and imposition of left-wing ideology. The Oštro web portal is a textbook example of this. In my recently published book, The Triumph of Good (Zmaga dobrega), I describe a couple of examples of this. The most obvious one is when I published that the Second World War started with the collaboration of national and international socialism, that is to say, the Nazis and the socialists of the Soviet Union,” Grims said in the interview.

On the Oštro web portal, one can still read an article to this day claiming that this is a lie. But it isn’t. It is, as MP Grims explains, a historical fact. “Oštro obtained the opinion of a historian, which was written in a highly ambiguous way. This is pure nonsense. That article is still available on the portal today, but it does not matter, because that’s how they reveal what they really are. A left-wing mouthpiece, a left-wing censorship machine and a tool for imposing left-wing ideology instead of facts and instead of the truth,” MP Grims said.

“The lie was so blatant that even the Polish ambassador later reacted to it by issuing an official protest,” he pointed out.

We also asked him about the fact that the Oštro web portal appeared in the European Commission’s official documentation as the only regular fact-checking portal in Slovenia. Regarding the undeserved legitimacy the portal seems to enjoy in Brussels, MP Grims said that the European Commission, in its current form and composition, has only proved that it is “a tool of the globalists”. “By taking this side, the Commission has explicitly taken the side of the globalists. I really hope that it is absolutely clear why I publicly voted against von der Leyen. If necessary, I will do so again.”

Mamić: There is a political agenda behind this

We also asked the editor-in-chief of the weekly Domovina Tino Mamić about the nature of the web portal Oštro, who believes that the web portal Oštro is a political portal. He believes that the portal does not simply write about politics, but instead tries to create politics.

“Behind the writing of the portal is not the disclosure of facts in the interest of the public, but a political agenda. Anyone who follows the portal’s writing can quickly see that the articles benefit, or rather serve, the political interests of the Slovenian government parties. The Oštro web portal is not engaged in investigative journalism but in political journalism. The portal should consider itself lucky because in Brussels, they do not know the Slovenian media and consider all media to be democratic. The European Commission does not understand that any media outlet could be politically and financially linked to the political underworld,” Mamić wrote.

Žiga Korsika

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