“They are financially ready to bring the institution to its knees just to achieve their goals. The law is problematic because it sets a precedent, it lowers standards. The authorities will refer to it every time they want to replace the leadership with people loyal to them. They will pass a new law, install a new leadership. This (Golob’s) law, in addition to the politicisation of RTV, exposes it to the influence of the current government, so that it can appoint people loyal to itself,” said the president of the programme board at the public RTVS Dr Peter Gregorčič.
On November 27th, a referendum will be held on three laws of Golob’s government, an amendment to the law on RTVS, government expansion, and long-term care. Peter Gregorčič, president of the programme board of RTVS, actively joined the campaign because the law was adopted following an urgent procedure during the summer holidays, which excluded a public debate. “I think it is right that this country knows what it is about when we talk about such an important law, which in fact also regulates freedom of speech,” he explained.
When asked what is problematic about this amendment, Gregorčič explained that it is first necessary to know what was adopted in the first place. “They have packaged the things they want to do so well that it took me quite some time to experience the ‘aha effect’ of what this is all about. Here, those transitional provisions that remove the governing bodies are probably key. However, other issues are also problematic here”. Gregorčič recalled how our economy was sometimes tycoonied under the guise of national interest. Regarding the so-called depoliticisation, he said that it is essentially a de facto politicisation of governing bodies. “In reality, it is the tycoonisation of the national media”.
One of the key changes, of which there are several, is that, according to Gregorčič, the structure of the management bodies is changing. RTVS currently has two management bodies: the Supervisory Board (it has 11 members, five of which are appointed by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia). To the greatest extent possible, it must represent the parties in the National Assembly (four are appointed by the government, two are elected by the employees). Then there is the programme council, which is the supreme body for the programme policy of this institute and determines the programme-production plan (rough outline of what will be watched on TV) but does not determine the content. According to Gregorčič, the programming world must not meddle in the content. “It must not evaluate the programme before its publication. This would be an inadmissible interference with editorial independence. Editorial independence is protected both from the programming council and from the interventions of the general director,” he emphasised.
RTVS employees will now have more than a third majority
Currently, the programme board has 29 members, and the supervisory board has 11 members. “The supervisory function is spread among 40 people. This is combined with the new law into a world where there are only 17 people. Two will be nominated by the national community (Hungarian, Italian, this remains the same). We currently have two representatives of the religious community (now there will be only one, he is appointed by the President of the Republic), it remains the same that one member is appointed by the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. According to the current law, three representatives are appointed among themselves by employees (from the fields of cultural and artistic activities, technology, information activities). The number of employees will now double, which means that there will be six of them,” Gregorčič explained, adding that since there will be as many as six out of seventeen employee representatives, this means that they will have more than a one-third majority. “The tendency leans towards self-management”.
“Currently, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia appoints five members with a simple majority at the proposal of political parties. This is being abolished, I have no problem with that, because this is the only way to abolish politics here. Now we come to the key “cake”. Now 16 of them are appointed by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia with an absolute majority on the proposal of listeners, viewers, and civil society. In reality, the users of the content have to co-create the management policy of this institution. With the new law, civil society is actually reduced from 16 to two, i.e., the Olympic Committee of Slovenia and the National Council of Disability Organisations. Then there are four more qualified proponents,” he explained, adding that the key is who is behind them. Since their argument is that the National Assembly is a politicised body, Gregorčič called it crazy. Our Constitution states in Article 82 that MPs are representatives of the entire people. This means that MPs are the only ones who have the constitutional authority to make decisions on behalf of all people. “With all due respect, the OKS does not have the right to act on behalf of all people,” he emphasised and added that because in this case it is a union of societies that answers to industry sports federations. According to Gregorčič, two members are appointed by the National Council for Culture. “Since this is a body appointed by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia at the proposal of the government, the question arises, where is the depoliticisation here? Next is the Council for Sustainable Development. Since this is the consultative body of the minister, it means that he decides. So, you do not even need a discussion here, because it is a personnel body. The Information Commissioner appoints one member. The Information Commissioner is appointed in the National Assembly at the proposal of the President of the Republic. Then we have the ombudsman, who we could agree is depoliticised, but a two-thirds majority is required for his election,” he explained regarding the new composition brought about by Golob’s law.
Currently, the rules of procedure appoint the programme council with a two-thirds majority of all members. Gregorčič emphasised that this is now being moved to the statutory level, which means that an absolute majority is enough. “So, whoever controls more members of the council (9) will be able to do whatever they want. Nine members are required. Six are employee representatives, two are from the National Council for Culture, and a council appointed by the minister is also added, and you have a majority. You do not even need an information officer or anyone else. You can do what you want, others are there to hold the bar for you,” he explained.
A fascistoid approach to governance
Political analyst Edvard Kadič explained that this development is consistent with the doctrine of this fascist approach to absolute rule. “Which means that you have to ensure that the short-term goal is the media, and the long-term goal is education, science, and culture. In this way, in the long term, you ensure the ideologically correct side, but in the short term, you use the media to brainwash people”. According to Kadič, since Golob’s election, Slovene reason has been exposed to an insane amount of lies and logical nonsense that are being produced all the time. He gave an example of an accusation that we hear all the time, namely how the director of Ukom became the director of RTVS. According to them, this is a usurpation of RTV, but at the same time it is not said that the labour director of RTVS became the director of Ukom. According to him, there is a lot of such logical nonsense. “It is necessary to secure power through non-governmental organisations, so that it can influence what ensures the long-term ideologically correct definition. But in the short term, it is guaranteed by the daily politics and usurpation that is currently going on.”
Extremely low legal standard: only the notification of a suspected criminal offence by the CPC is sufficient for dismissal
“Whoever enters the world of programming will definitely be controlled by the new government,” the host of the show and journalist Bojan Požar pointed out. Požar reminded that the Olympic Committee of Slovenia also has some history. The deceased Janez Kocjančič was the president of the programme board, and he joined it as a representative of OKS. “I am sure that people close to the government coalition will agree with OKS on who they should delegate to the programme council”. Gregorčič believes that this agreement is not necessary at all, since they have the National Council for Culture, the Council for Sustainable Development. “That is three already. Someone who is appointed by the politician, the politician must agree with him and is somehow dependent on him, but at the time of appointment. Politics then has no leverage over him”. He explained that the politician cannot remove him, unless he resigns himself, if he does not meet the new conditions.
Gregorčič also pointed out that they also introduced reasons for the dismissal, and there is a reason that even the legislative legal service pointed out, which in fact violates the presumption of innocence. “According to this law, if you are not diligent, it is sufficient to inform the CPC of a suspected criminal act for dismissal. Beware, a suspicion is a complaint. The Legislative Legal Service said this was an extremely low legal standard and was advising that they go to a final indictment to satisfy the presumption of innocence at least partially. The legislator did not respond to this. Of course, he did not. This law actually does two things: it introduces politics outside the National Assembly, de facto politics, not through civil society, since there are two civil societies, and the other members are from politically oriented bodies. Under the guise of integrity, a mechanism is introduced to discipline the one who is not friendly. The court can say that you are not guilty, but your mandate is already over,” he explained. Gregorčič is convinced that when working in such a body, he should be protected from removal, otherwise they can manipulate you with threats. “They suspect you, but you do not have a voice anymore. The pressures are really violent.”
Požar went on to remind that they had created the “We are RTV” website. According to Požar, this website is anonymous. “It is fascinating that journalists of a public institution write anonymous articles where they insult individuals from the management and others”. Kadič says that this is the product of years of brainwashing. “For them, the normal years, and years of “ours”. This is ours, you are with us”. According to him, it comes to light that we lied to ourselves for twenty years that we are going through a transformation of society. “Regarding RTVS, every politician is well aware that this is a key element in achieving political goals. You establish a law that provides for the exchange of saints. If we had left it as it was, I think in the next year, so many representatives would change, then stay, and we would have our programme council again. This is about Golob’s personal mania, that it is necessary to occupy everything as soon as possible, in the energy sector, he is trying in the media.”
Gregorčič recalled the existence of vertical mobbing. “Mobbing is an unethical act towards someone. So, that you are bullying a colleague. It can be vertical from top to bottom or vice versa. Bottom-up is when a group of co-workers mobs superiors with the intent of removing them. There can be mobbing here from inside or outside, depending on where the group is coming from. From the inside, in this case, it is the union that made the request outside the framework. Namely, it requires the removal of management. In this case, external mobbing is politics because it is partial to it,” he explained. The minister talks about depoliticisation, but tweets that the leadership must go. “This is applying pressure; this is an unethical act. He claims that management did something. In a country governed by the rule of law, a person has the right to make a statement, maybe someone sees something wrong.”
They are ready to bring the institution to its knees financially, just to get their way
Kadič believes that Golob is used to rolling, consolidating his path. “This is his only fuel. I think that he is in dire straits because he does not arrange anything with RTVS and therefore uses all means.” Among other things, Gregorčič touched on the request for financing. According to him, this did not happen because the institution would not be doing well. The management set a precedent. For the first time in its history, the institution had a 2.5 million surplus of income over expenses in the first half of the year, i.e., it is doing business positively. “The problem is the increase in the price of electricity, from 3 million to 8 million, next year even to 11.5 million. That is why the director turned to Golob. He told him that he would not talk until the leadership is changed and the law is enforced. They included all public institutions except us in the measures for the costliness. We sent three or four urgencies. They are ready to bring the institute to its knees financially, just to get their way.” According to him, the law is problematic because it sets a precedent and lowers the standard. “It will be referred to every time the authorities want to replace the new leadership with people loyal to them. They will accept a new law, a new leadership. This law, in addition to the politicisation of RTV, exposes it to the influence of the respective authorities, so that it can appoint people loyal to itself”, he concluded critically.