Mladina: An alliance is needed to fight SDS-associated media
STA, 30 November 2018 – The left-leaning weekly Mladina welcomes PM Marjan Šarec's appeal against state-owned companies running adds in hate-peddling media, but says it is only a first step. What needs to follow is the fostering of an alliance that will protect these companies in case of a change in power, Grega Repovž says in the weekly's latest editorial.
"Slovenian media have a problem... The Democrats (SDS), a political party, has an increasing number of products on the Slovenian market that are pretending to be media outlets... Because this propaganda machine it costly, it gets financial help from Hungary, from Viktor Orban," Repovž says.
He argues that the people of Slovenia and its media and journalists are not the only victims of this proliferation of fear and hatred by far-right parties working in concert.
Companies also find themselves under pressure, in particularly those that are involved with the state. Their managers know, including from experience under past SDS-led governments, that SDS leader Janez Janša will eventually end up issuing them a bill if they fail to cooperate.
Šarec's call was in order, but now the government has to follow up this first step by offering assistance and an alliance to these companies.
"If he is serious about this, it is not enough to point the finger at these companies. We posit that the reason why most of the exposed companies are advertising on these media platforms is their desire to secure the peace they need to do business normally," Repovž says under the headline First Step.
Speaking of the need for an alliance, he argues "this would benefit all genuine media" and lists several centrist and left-leaning media as well the right-leaning weekly Reporter.
It would also benefit politics, companies and above all the public. "The thing is a that radical politics is abusing liberal democratic institutes and institutions and rights (including those pertaining to the media and freedom of speech) and that this entails the undermining of democracy itself - and through that also of corporate autonomy."
Demokracija: Šarec’s anti-hate speech campaign is an attack on opposition media
STA, 29 November 2018 - The right-leaning weekly Demokracija says PM Marjan Šarec's recent call to state-owned companies to reflect on whether to advertise in media outlets instigating hate amounts to "the worst attack on the freedom of speech since independence", making him No. 1 enemy of the freedom of expression.
Šarec's call not to advertise in media outlets which are critical of mass migrations was a case of abuse of power par excellence, editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says on Thursday.
Although Šarec did not specify what hate content is and did not mention any media outlet, "it was clear he meant private opposition media – Demokracija and Nova24TV".
Instead of endorsing a referendum on whether Slovenia should join the UN-sponsored deal on migration, he in fact started implementing its objective 17, which speaks about media funding and advertising standards.
He announced, in the manner of the hardest communist times, attacks on the media which promote different views from those of the government and left-wing activists.
As an elected representative of the people, Šarec has a right to influence state-owned companies, for instance if state assets are poorly managed.
"But he is absolutely not authorised to use a state-owned company to suppress the fundamental and most important human right, that of the freedom of expression."
Biščak notes there is a short way from dictating state-owned companies where to advertise to police violence against those with different views.
"What is more, his actions show that he would be one of the first to abolish elections and ban opposition, whereby risking a civil war.
"He crossed the Rubicon, which he never should have," Biščak says, quoting philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein's thesis "What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence."
While not denying Šarec the right to be critical or even harsh, Biščak says his instruction that advertisers should end their business cooperation with the opposition's media is "scandalous".
"In this way, by abusing power, Šarec has become enemy No. 1 of the freedom of speech," according to the commentary headlined Ludwig Wittgenstein's Seventh Thesis.
Other posts in this series can be found here (note that sometimes we use another right-wing weekly, Reporter)