What Mladina & Reporter Are Saying This Week: Media Merger vs Big Infrastructure Projects

By , 03 Aug 2019, 11:14 AM Politics
What Mladina & Reporter Are Saying This Week: Media Merger vs Big Infrastructure Projects From the weeklies' Facebook pages

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The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 02 August

Mladina: Dnevnik-Večer Merger

STA, 2 August 2019 - The weekly Mladina comments on the merger of the publishers of the daily newspapers Dnevnik in Večer, both welcoming and regretting the move which it sees as means to preserve the printed media in Slovenia, which are facing numerous challenges brought by new trends.

The merger is a reasonable decision by the publishers' owners, which was carried out surprisingly wisely and thoughtfully, and which strengthens the position of both Dnevnik and Večer at least in the medium term, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says on Friday.

On the other hand, he also regrets the move because it comes as a consequence of the declining readership of the printed media and changed lifestyle in modern societies.

"Although the media compete with each other, it is very important for all of them that as many people as possible continue to read serious media. Decline of any serious media is bad for the rest of them, as it impacts the reading habits of the nation."

Mladina argues that the Slovenian state has done practically nothing for the media in the last 30 years. "They simply did not want to see the importance of (critical) media for the normality of the society."

Politics has treated the national broadcaster mostly badly, and it is almost incredible that something has been left of it at all. But journalists are not blameless either, as they raised their voice only when they were personally threatened, Repovž adds.

Actually, the government of Marjan Šarwec was the first one to make a move, introducing lower taxes for the media and books, and announcing a new system for distributing state subsidies, which have so far been ending up in the hands of harmful media.

It is very hard for serious media to survive on the small market like Slovenia, but this is also true for culture, sport and education. A large part of the surplus generated in these fields is a consequence of personal altruism.

"Problems in all fields are also a consequence of the unwillingness to admit that we are a small country. All fields which are limited by the language are in a very difficult situation. These, of course, include the media," concludes the commentary headlined Dnevnik and Večer.

Reporter: Who benefits from big infrastructure projects?

STA, 29 July 2019 - The right-leaning magazine Reporter writes about delays in public contracting for large infrastructure projects in the latest editorial, asserting that PM Marjan Šarec should take action to prevent a new TEŠ6.

"They want to rob us blind again," writes editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla under the headline Red Alarm, arguing that the attempts to overturn the chosen contractor in the public calls for the construction of the second tube of the Karavanke motorway tunnel and the Koper-Divača rail project show Slovenia has not learned anything from the 1 billion-plus project to build generator 6 at the Šoštanj coal-fired plant.

Šurla says that the only goal of the delays in the public calls is that the right people get the job in the end - that is construction companies controlled by Stojan Petrič, Janez Škrabec and Stanko Polanič.

"Why public calls if everything is said to have been agreed behind the scenes? As long as it is pro forma, a public call because there has to be one? In two construction projects alone, (Karavanke and the Glinščica bridge) local cronies could bleed us of EUR 25 million, the difference to the two other cheapest bids."

Šurla quotes rumours saying that the management of the state-run motorway company DARS could be dismissed if Petrič's Kolektor is not chosen as the contractor in the end.

"The Idrija mogul is exerting huge pressure through his lobbyists, and Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek is said to have succumbed to his charm. A replacement of DARS supervisors has been announced for late August, which could lead to the management's replacement.

"If in exchange for keeping their posts, DARS yields in to pressure in the end and pick Kolektor despite the much higher cost, this would also augur ill for the taxpayer in the case of the second rail track, at a project at least ten times larger in value."

Šurla says that the developments should send alarm bells ringing at least in the office of PM Marjan Šarec. "Unless he pounds the table and keeps pretending he is not in charge like Borut Pahor did in the same office, we will see a new TEŠ 6."

All our posts in this series can be found here, while you can keep up-to-date on Slovenia politics here, and find the daily headlines here

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