Ljubljana related

23 May 2020, 14:25 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 22 May 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: No one dares question govt's economic policy

STA, 22 May 2020 – The left-wing weekly Mladina says in its latest commentary that there are many questions for the government to be asked about its economic policy during the coronavirus epidemic, but the problem is that economists and executives do not dare ask them because they are afraid of being blacklisted by Prime Minister Janez Janša.

While all sorts of conflicts are being produced in Slovenia left and right, there is no serious debate about the government's economic measures. "Well, there is no debate because many do not dare utter a word," the weekly's editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says.

The business sector remembers that the current PM likes to be praised, and absolutely hates to be criticised. This is why a majority of business representatives are publicly praising him, as no one wants to be blacklisted, or put entire industries on his black list.

The questions that the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is silent, should be asking are, for example, "how Slovenia can afford to lead a conservative monetary and economic policy while all others in its neighbourhood act differently?".

Another question is how Slovenian companies will compete in the common European market if their competitors will have huge liquidity funds at their disposal, and Slovenia's will not, the commentary adds.

Repovž argues that Slovenia has never had such a weak government when it comes to economy - the finance minister is extremely weak, but he is a good friend of prime minister's, while the economy minister has no breadth and is politically weak.

"But we have the same problem the Americans have: we have no time for these actual problems. Because while others are salvaging the future of their countries, we need to defend the foundations of democracy. We need to deal with freedom of the press. With corruption. Forceful replacements."

There is new madness every week - this week it is paramilitary units, private guards which intimidate police officers, while the government takes no measures.

"We all know that these paramilitary phenomena are actually encouraged by the main party in the coalition, and that they are something most dangerous for society. Such units were deniers of the bloody Balkan wars and heralds of Nazi terror."

What is interesting is the delusion of the coalition partners, who are convincing themselves that these dangerous incidents by the Democrats (SDS) will somehow be overshadowed what they believe are good economic measures, concludes the commentary headlined Economy and Guardsmen.

Demokracija: Govt bearing cross, rift with communists persists

STA, 21 May 2020 – The right-wing weekly Demokracija's Jože Biščak expresses in the weekly's latest editorial joy for "the determination of the new government" and gratitude the epidemic has been weathered. He also remembers the 1945 communist reprisal killings in Kočevski Rog, speaking of "probably the biggest massacre on the old continent in the 20th century".

"We are joining in prayer those who are raising their humble hands to God in gratitude that the crisis turned the way it did and we are happy for the determination of the new government, even though the cross it has to bare because of far-fetched 'scandals' involving PPE purchases and invented accusations about some kind of dictatorship will leave it with bloody shoulders," Biščak says.

He then turns to the Kočevski Rog summary killings, in which historians assess up to 30,000 people were killed, saying that "even though some of those with blood on their hands (were) are still alive and could have been easily identified and sentenced, all of them remained completely untouched".

Biščak says the blame for this also lies with the judicial authorities that continued to serve after independence and enjoyed "the unconditional support of [former President] Milan Kučan and the left".

Much was lost in those years and never made up for and the "traces of the tragedy never really found their way to a public cleansing", Biščak says in Death Becomes Nobody.

He then expresses disappointment with the "postmodern world, which is reminiscent of the last days of the retarded Western Roman Empire, and is far from the heritage of the spirit and honour of the time in-between".

"Also belonging to this spirit are those Slovenians who managed to resist the devastations of communism. Communism - an evil that is recognised today in cultural Marxism - continues to rip out the guts and all that used be the heart and that our forbearers cared about. This is the life that mothers carry in them and bring to the world."

"Crimes happened and bad things happened (and continue to happen). Many of them, too many. We are being pushed into them time and time again from the left, which is trying to convince us that we on the right are bad. Ignore these accusations. Be happy to be subjected to them. Be grateful you have experienced this. Sometimes bad things need to happen to make room for good ones. This provides reason for hope."

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16 May 2020, 15:23 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 15 March 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Janša's coalition partners are in tight spot

STA, 15 May 2020 - The left-wing weekly Mladina argues in Friday's editorial that the coalition partners of PM Janez Janša are genuinely shocked that Janša broke his promise that he will not bring up ideological topics. They risked a lot by joining this coalition, and now they are scared, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says under the headline Suffering Coalition Partners.

It is funny, but everyone from New Slovenia (NSi) to the Modern Centre Party (SMC) and the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) is shocked by Janša's moves against the media, attacks on NGOs, his ministers' letters to the Council of Europe, European Commission and foreign media, and his undermining of the country's "entire immune system" from police to oversight over money laundering.

By joining this coalition, the parties risked a lot and they knew that what is happening now could happen. Yet Janša's sweet promises that they could make it were tempting.

The other option was bad and they picked what at least seemingly postponed their problems for two years.

They now admit that the cold shower came as early as the first government session. "Aggression, disrespect and cultural battle, it started immediately. But because of the crisis they kept quiet, hoping that the public will forget all about it because of the crisis. And that Janša will deal with 'his things' and then they will have peace."

Everyone was initially shocked because of coronavirus and because Janša became prime minister, Repovž says.

But this week, coalition partners started raising their voices. Very gently. Matej Tonin of the NSi erased his mildly critical tweet, but he did send out a signal. Aleksandra Pivec of DeSUS stated first criticism, and Janja Sluga of the SMC added some concern to her speeches.

Actually, the coalition partners are afraid. They know what they have got themselves into. At first they were afraid of their leader and they are also afraid of a potential election.

Their actions now show that they realise that Janša and his followers went too far in their spreading of hatred and revenge, and that there is no way back.

Janša's previous government was not swept away in 2013 by protesters but by coalition partners. Some of them knew this will be the end of their political career but did not care. Well, now the coalition partners are in the same tight spot.

They know they cannot uphold the politics that Janša is outlining because it runs contrary to their fundamental beliefs. But they also know he will not want to be distracted.

Reporter: The case for case unbiased journalism

STA, 11 May 2020 – The right-wing Reporter magazine argues in Monday's commentary that journalists should close ranks and fight political pressure no matter whether it comes from the left and the right, as it looks at attacks on the media, in particular a TV Slovenija show which reported about irregularities in the purchasing of personal protective equipment.

Making the case for unbiased reporting, Reporter's editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla says politicians tend to support media when their political opponents are under the spotlight but change tack when the spotlight shines on them.

"Our people are always spotless and as such untouchable. In a black-and-white world one knows in advance who the bad guys are and who the good guys are. The most fervent political supporters are not convinced by any fact, any document, any whistleblower."

The commentator says journalists should in principle always keep a professional distance, which is sadly not always the case in practice since journalists, politicians and ordinary people often see the role of the media through their own interests and political preferences.

"Journalists should be interested in the facts and they should do their job as politically impartially as possible, using the same standards for all political blocs, regardless of the editorial policy of their media."

"But there are few media in Slovenia that criticise both when that is necessary. Instead, we are witness to the utterly absurd and perverse situation of media that like to beat their chests for being 'on the frontlines of the service of the truth' having the strongest political bias. They were founded by politicians who use them as their fist, just like the Communist Party used to to," Šurla says about Nova24TV, which was founded by SDS politicians.

"Such partisan media are now at the frontlines of spewing bile on those who are trying to be independent of politics and are uncovering scandals of whichever government is in power, be it left or right. This is in reality the most hideous political and propaganda machinery disguised as media."

Turning to the Tarča (Target) news show, the commentator says that there had been no untouchables for the show, which had reported about scandals ranging from a 3D model of the Koper-Divača rail track in the Miro Cerar government to the construction of the Stožice sports complex in Ljubljana and the purchasing of egregiously priced stents at hospitals.

It quotes the authors of Tarča writing that those who had praised the show not long ago and demanded changes are now slinging mud at them, while those who dismissed the show as populist are now applauding.

"And we're back at 'us' and 'them', the perverted attitude of politics to the media in a democratic society. It is therefore high time that journalists close ranks and show solidarity with their Tarča colleagues and to clearly say that such pogroms must stop. Today they are on the stakes, tomorrow it will be us," the paper concludes in Today Tarča, Tomorrow You.

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09 May 2020, 10:32 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 08 May 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Uprising is coming

STA, 8 May 2020 - The left-wing weekly Mladina says in Friday's editorial that there is mounting evidence a strong resistance movement against the current government is taking shape in Slovenia.

This is why Prime Minister Janez Janša is in a hurry - he would like to intervene in all structures of this country that he finds disturbing before the situation returns to normal, at least partly, says editor-in-chief Grega Repovž.

He knows that although a majority of Slovenians are horrified by the moves of his government they are handicapped now and unable to respond the way a mature, democratic society would.

"What we are witnessing is not normal assumption of power, which includes staffing changes, but bullying of society and the state administration."

But those in power cannot deny that last Friday, despite fears about coronavirus, thousands of cyclists took to the streets of Slovenian towns. In Ljubljana alone police counted 3,500 of them.

A Facebook group expressing support to whistleblower Ivan Gale has 70,000 followers. "People who were passive not long ago have started showing active interest in the media, which is shown in the ratings of political shows and a rise in the visits of websites that the public perceives as independent.

"That a network of resistance is being formed in Slovenia can be felt at every step," Repovž says.

Cyclists merely presage what is yet to come. Trade unions too are on the verge of rebellion, including because the government has completely frozen social dialogue.

In serious European countries (and companies) the opposite is happening: whoever wants the economy to recover knows this is the time to make a pact with trade unions.

And when it becomes clear that some government measures that are to help companies will have no real effect, the business elite will also turn against the government.

"The situation is going to get very serious soon. Since we are at the beginning of a crisis, this is very bad. Now we would need a government that would know how to create a sense of stability and security," Repovž says under the headline Outlines of Rebellion.

Demokracija: RTV Slovenija & Soros

STA, 7 May 2020 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija argues in its latest commentary that mainstream media criticism and protests against the government in Slovenia reflect a confrontation between conservative liberalism and the George Soros-sponsored liberal democracy, which is on its way out.

Jože Biščak, the editor-in-chief, notes how conservative parties in the Visegrad Group countries, including Viktor Orban's Fidezs, have turned away from liberalism as championed by Soros through his sponsorship of NGOs that supported liberal democracy parties in Eastern Europe in the 1990s.

He says that as a result of their eschewing progressivism/cultural Marxism, the parties, including the ruling Democrats (SDS) in Slovenia, are being targeted by liberal democrats today because they are mostly against accepting migrants, LGBT agenda, feminism, gender theory and life deniers.

"The enforcement of mixing and creation of chaos without a clearly defined future had been met with revolt among the healthy core of Europe's indigenous population (...) by the time of the great migration wave of 2015.

"It appears Covid-19 will accelerate its demise as in isolation people are again searching for their roots, identifying themselves with national culture and their nation, are looking for the lost faith in God. Hence panic everywhere.

"A textbook example is RTV Slovenija, which is no longer hiding its political and ideological bias, and its journalists Mojca Pašek Šetinc, Jelena Aščić and Eugenija Carl are typical representatives of the 'new order', stirring fear of the alleged dictatorship of 'not-our' government they cannot influence any longer.

"The government is good as long as it is headed by people with 'right', their ideas. Once it is not, the 'civil' sphere, educated in the spirit of Soros's tradition, gets activated, relying on the leftist logic of scaremongering. Violent street protests follow that seek to topple a legitimate government."

However, in conclusion of the piece whose headline carries the same message Biščak says that liberal democracy has already been put on a ventilator, "the one that has recently been making the far-fetched story of the media mainstream".

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30 Apr 2020, 17:22 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 1 May 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Hatred will trigger more protests

STA, 30 April 2020 - The left-wing weekly Mladina says in its latest editorial entitled Right to Protest that Prime Minister Janez Janša's opposition to protests is ironic and that open hatred will not stop protests, it will multiply them.

It is understandable that Janša finds protests upsetting and disturbing, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says in reference to Monday's protests against the government held in several cities.

"It is ironic that a man whose freedom as well as political career largely stem from protests whose main initiator (together with radio station Radio Študent) was this magazine detests protests so very much," says Repovž.

Janša's Democrats (SDS) have been among the most active organisers of protests for the last thirty years. Some of them were very questionable, for example those held in front of the courthouse in Ljubljana, but nobody attempted to stop them, he notes.

It is also ironic that the Slovenian Social Democratic Union (SDZS), which Janša later turned into the populist and extreme SDS, was founded by France Tomšič, the man who organised the first trade unions' protests in socialist Slovenia. Moreover, the SDZS emerged from those protests.

And now this party stood against the protesters in the Ljubljana city centre on Monday by sending police and its "violent interior minister" against them. Only the protesters expressing political views were fined.

According to Repovž, the government is trying to scare people because in March 2013 Janša and the SDS were swept away from power by all-Slovenian protests, a massive nation-wide uprising.

Janša's fear is justified and his "police minister" Aleš Hojs is nervous only because now they have no legitimate let alone legal basis to act against the protesters. "But they don't know any other way. They hate and despise openly, and do not hold back even in public anymore."

But if they did not despise and would try to understand, they would realise that such actions will not stop protesters. "One political graffiti erased means a hundred new ones. And the same goes for protests," Repovž says.

"We have actually already reached the point when the NSi, SMC and DeSUS will quickly have to start thinking about the direction that the SDS is taking Slovenia. SDS ministers have crossed several thin lines in the past weeks ... And they were able to cross them only because they are holding these three parties hostage."

Repovž says that it has now become irrelevant that the parties themselves are also to be blamed for this. The only question now is when they realise that some processes are becoming irreversible, he says.

Demokracija: "Mainstream media" reporting on govt

STA, 30 April 2020 - The right-wing weekly paper Demokracija praises in its latest editorial the government's efforts in combating the coronavirus epidemic and adds that while "even foreign governments and media praise the determined attitude of the Slovenian government, Slovenian media rarely praise the right-oriented government".

Demokracija's editor-in-chief Jože Biščak takes issue with last week's Tarča current affairs on TV Slovenija, which also featured Ivan Gale from the Commodities Reserves Agency talking about political meddling in the procurement of personal protective equipment.

Biščak says a time when people are dying "is no time for the kind of political and ideological games that [opposition leaders] Marjan Šarec and Dejan Židan were orchestrating together with the journalists of the national broadcaster in Tarča".

He argues it is strange but not surprising that RTV Slovenija is "reserving its prime time to split hairs and not to protect people".

Biščak adds that this goes beyond the national broadcaster, since the "entire media mainstream...is literary competing in the creation of scandals and chaos from thin air".

"The poorer that Slovenia fares and the sooner this government slips, irrespective of the cost, the better for them - the searchers of the golden fleece," Biščak says in the commentary entitled The Searchers of the Golden Fleece.

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25 Apr 2020, 10:35 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 24 March 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Počivalšek in dire situation over mask purchases

STA, 24 April 2020 – The left-wing weekly Mladina says in its latest commentary that Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek is in a dire position over the blunders with purchases of protective equipment. Not only has he fallen out of favour with PM Janez Janša, he also faces the possibility of the MPs of the party he presides turning their backs on him.

Grega Repovž, the editor-in-chief of the left-leaning weekly, says that considering the developments, it is becoming obvious that the "story about the effective and self-sacrificing campaign to buy masks and other protective equipment will end really badly."

And the person for whom it is to end badly is not just anybody, it is Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, the president of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC), who is obviously "not aware yet how large a snowball is descending upon him".

Repovž notes that the minister is not aware that the snowball is not being rolled only by the media, which are the least of a problem, or criminal police officers who investigate the purchases, or the opposition.

"The snowball is now being rolled by the coalition partner Janez Janša. And it is likely that Počivalšek's SMC party, which does not want to go down with him, will join Janša. This is what Počivalšek is actually facing."

The latest discoveries about the purchases have prompted criminal police officers to visit the Agency for Commodity Reserves, with Počivalšek reacting by quickly dismissing its director Anton Zakrajšek, a member of Janša's Democratic Party (SDS).

Zakrajšek, who was on sick leave, said the following day that he was keeping tabs on Počivalšek's dealings, that he knew everything, and that he would talk about this, Repovž adds in the commentary headlined Počivalšek in Dire Straits.

Počivalšek has only small chances of surviving this politically, as protective masks are too sensitive of a matter, and if he is to face a motion of no confidence, it will be really difficult to defend him, even for his own MPs.

"At a certain point, they will realise that they can't defend him. And why would they? Počivalšek himself let everybody know that this is now a party of pure pragmatism. If they have changed political colours and coalition, why would't they replace Počivalšek too?".

Demokracija: Deep left-right differences in response to pandemic

STA, 23 April 2020 – The right-wing Demokracija magazine argues in Thursday's commentary that the left and the right have reacted to the coronavirus crisis in fundamentally different ways, the left "showing yet again how two-faced they are".

When some governments adopted fairly strict measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, leftists started demanding a free market economy with all the attendant liberties. Together with the mainstream media, they are indignant at people being unable to travel freely, at some shops being closed and suddenly they feel pity for private businesses, the paper says in Chronicles of the Primitive Mind.

"In fact, the virus misfortune has laid painfully bare the difference between the left and right perception of the world. While the left would control and restrict in peacetime and create (anarchistic) chaos in times of crisis, jeopardising human lives, the right resorts to restrictions of human rights and fundamental liberties exclusively in 'wartime' (which a pandemic is) while letting people freely act, work and live in normal circumstances."

What is worst for the left is that people tend to look up to the leaders of nation states in times such as the coronavirus era, rather than expecting salvation from supranational organisations, Demokracija says, noting that leftists see strong nation states, even if their strict measures prove effective, as "a step towards dictatorship".

"This can easily be called a globalist reflex, a primitive mind assuming that a greater number of infected and dead persons is preferable to the right gaining trust among the public. This is why efforts by the coalition need to be cancelled, measures boycotted. Whatever happens, Janša's centre-right government will be blamed anyway.

"This kind of thinking is more primitive than the thinking of an average crook. Whereas the crook allows for the possibility that he may be to blame in certain circumstances (because he did not abide by the rules), leftist crooks (regardless of the circumstances and actions) always claim that somebody else is to blame," the paper concludes.

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18 Apr 2020, 10:27 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 17 March 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: How the SDS is like the Communist Party

STA, 17 April 2020 – The left-wing weekly Mladina takes a look at what it sees as Janez Janša's Democrats' (SDS) obsession with Communism, pinpointing several SDS features which in fact make it resemble a true Communist Party.

It is really oppressive and depressing to listen to the lies about Communism which the SDS is constantly serving to the public.

It's 2020 and they are still going on about Communist media and Communist leaders, the weekly magazine says on Friday.

This could partly be understood if almost all former Slovenian Communist Party officials who are still active in politics were not in the SDS.

Editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says there are currently three former Communist Party officials in the upper echelons of Slovenian politics.

They are Modern Centre Party (SMC) leader Zdravko Počivalšek, who was not a very ambitious Party member, President Borut Pahor, who was ambitious, and Janša, an ambitious and inquisitive young Communist whose character was not entirely to the Party's liking so it expelled him.

The SDS obviously believes that obsessing with Communism will make it win some legitimacy abroad, whereas it only disgraces itself.

All serious people know that only populists, converts and those having a hard time reconciling with reality are promoting "this East European litany".

"Nevertheless, we are grateful to PM Janša, postmen Uroš Urbanija [acting Government Communication Office boss], and FM Anže Logar for the cable sent to the Council of Europe [about Slovenian media with a Communist bias], because we do not have to explain abroad any more what kind of government is in power in Slovenia."

Mladina says the SDS has several features in common with the Party, listing among other things the hounding of those who disagree with it and the personality cult.

It argues the SDS is a movie-like version of the Communist Party the SDS portrays in its cables and descriptions of the situation in Slovenia.

Whenever the SDS has come to power it seems that when Slovenia left Communism behind to embrace democracy, the SDS did not actually want democracy but merely to take power away from the Communist Party.

The SDS is right in that whenever it comes to power, Slovenia returns 30 years back, Mladina concludes the editorial And When Will We Have "Youth Day"?

Demokracija: The pitfalls of green policies exposed by Covid-19

STA, 16 April 2020 – The right-wing Demokracija magazine makes a case against green policies promoting renewables, saying on Thursday the coronavirus crisis has shown how attempts to make urban areas green, including by promoting public transport as opposed to cars, are misguided.

Wanting to turn urban centres into countryside-like places is a time bomb in that bringing wildlife to cities increases the chances of viruses being transmitted to humans.

Although the novel coronavirus is not necessarily such a case, such behaviour represents a highly risky interaction between nature and urban areas, to which the majority of national and global officials who want to build a green agenda with billions in taxpayer money turn a blind eye.

"The zeal to make urban areas green has reached psychopathic proportions in the fight against global warming," says editor-in-chief Jože Biščak.

He says that the expulsion of personal vehicles from city centres forced many people to use public transport amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has resulted in hundreds of deaths recorded in Madrid, Milan, Paris or New York, yet media agitators and progressive politicians continue to wave the green flag.

"Those who use public transportation know the effect of being packed like sardines; immense crowds using public transport services have proved to be a deadly variant of exaggerated green thinking," the weekly says under the headline The Effect of Packed Sardines.

Nevertheless, the European Commission launched a public debate on the strategy of sustainable finance as part of its multi-billion euro Green Deal.

But Biščak says the smart EU countries have not responded to it, because they know the recession to stem from the pandemic is a much bigger threat to people's prosperity.

Demokracija says the EU's energy policy based on renewables will have to change because no EU country will probably be able to afford the green luxury after the economy contracts, especially because the western civilisation's prosperity is built on cheap fossil fuel, which is right now emerging as a straw that could help restart the economy and save jobs.

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11 Apr 2020, 09:33 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 10 April 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Mystery of Janša’s attack on Čeferin after mild criticism of govt

STA, 10 April 2020 - The latest editorial of the left-wing weekly Mladina reflects on what it sees as a rage reflex that seems to be triggered in PM Janez Janša by even a hint of criticism. It looks at the attacks mounted against Aleksander Čerefin after the Slovenian UEFA head said he was tired of hearing the constant apocalyptic coronavirus comments by Slovenia's leading officials.

The weekly paper's editor in chief Grega Repovž argues that Janša's comment about greed causing football matches not being cancelled also after the WHO had declared an epidemic, made during Tuesday's special address to the nation, was a jab at Čeferin meant to suggest UEFA could have prevented the fateful 19 February Milan match between Atalanta and Valencia.

Repovž points out that a potential cancellation of the match had been in the domain of Italian authorities, which had recorded three coronavirus cases in the county by that point.

While also highlighting other demonstrably false statements made by Janša in a part of the address targeting the former government, Repovž says the criticism by Čeferin, who just argued he would prefer a less bleak and more encouraging tone from Slovenian officials, should have been easy to swallow for those in power.

"But no, no. Janša cannot allow that. An attack followed. A fierce attack. Janša's propaganda machinery jumped first, followed by his twitter trolls. There was no mercy," Repovž says, adding that this was still not enough for Janša to later at least hold back in his address to the nation.

"What kind of person do you have to be to accuse somebody of what Čeferin was actually accused of by Janaša, through his media directly and in his speech indirectly? What to think of a man who has so much power and responsibility, but invests so much energy and anger into a single critical remark and even brings it up in an address to the nation," Repovž wonders in the commentary entitled Rage.

Demokracija: Beware of WHO's Advice!

STA, 9 April 2020 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija rebukes the World Health Organization (WHO) for its action in the Covid-19 crisis. "Even if it was probably set up with good intentions, the WHO has turned in a politicised and corrupt organisation."

The WHO first long insisted on the stance that "general use of protective masks is not necessary", but then made a U-turn this week, starting to support the countries which encourage their citizens to wear them.

Editor-in-chief Jože Biščak finds it hard to believe the medical reasons have changed in the meantime, saying WHO staff simply want to keep their well-paid jobs, blowing hot and cold depending on where money comes from.

It recalls several cases of its "odd" action, ranging from a cheap purchase of malaria vaccine, which caused thousands of child deaths in Africa, to its complete inefficiency in fighting tuberculosis, Ebola and Covid-19, wondering if it was deliberate.

When some started warning that flights from China to Europe should be suspended, the WHO said there was no evidence the virus is transmitted with contact among people.

"When the moment of truth came, it was already too late. The number of victims is nearing 100,000 and the number of those infected goes into millions."

Demokracija blames "the belated and totally misplaced reaction" to the virus spread on the WHO and its national offices in the form of public health institutes, in reference to Slovenia's National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).

"So when you listen to the WHO advice in the next crisis, mind your money and use common sense if you want to do best for you and your family.

"When the WHO is giving advice, people are often dying, which Spain, Italy and France are realising as they mourn their deceased." The situation would be similar in Slovenia if the new government had not taken the necessary measures and advised people, unlike the NIJZ, to wear masks.

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04 Apr 2020, 11:22 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 3 April 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Govt using coronavirus to push its own agenda

STA, 3 April 2020 - Commenting on the government's actions in the light of the coronavirus epidemic, the left-wing weekly Mladina argues that Prime Minister Janez Janša is capitalising on the coronavirus crisis and driving his own political agenda by proposing extreme measures that use people's fears to appear warranted.

One would hope that Janša has learned his lesson after three "thunderous falls from power", that he "finally knows he must respect democracy, the existence of different opinions, that experts' opinions are professional even if people have different political beliefs, and most notably, that in this country one cannot rule this way".

When he started showing first signs of doing just that, driving disproportionate measures to bend Slovenia's society to his will, it was first thought that the extreme times called for a bit tougher ruling methods to ensure that citizens internalise Covid-19 containment measures or it was said that the government was still finding its feet during difficult circumstances.

However, the situation has escalated quickly, says the commentary headlined Propaganda War, adding that Janša's party, the Democrats' (SDS), is truly admiring the developments in Hungary.

History teaches us that there is plenty of people who "want to have absolute power and who actually see democracy as something which limits them. And that such people are currently leading quite a few countries".

"Everything that seems like a bad version of a grotesque is true," says Mladina, listing a few examples when Janša pushed his own agenda of "transforming this nation into one great SDS party", such as convincing people that some citizens were actually flocking to tourist spots over last weekend.

Some media found families and individuals at the seaside and lakeside resorts, but they talked about "an invasion". The government knew this did not actually happen - "the police issued only some 90 warnings across Slovenia, and only a few in the Gorenjska and Primorska regions" which are deemed the most popular for weekend trips, but the situation nevertheless paved the way for a ban on movement outside municipal units.

On top of that, the government's coronavirus crisis spokesperson Jelko Kacin scolded couples and families for sitting closely to each other on benches in parks as if they were children.

The weekly wonders why such conduct is tolerated if families are after all allowed to stay together during the crisis. Moreover, it also points out that the government has made a clear distinction between couples and "couples" by laying down that only those living in shared households are allowed to be with each other during the lockdown.

After the introduction of the municipal ban, children of divorced parents are not even allowed to see the other parent if they live in another municipality.

Mladina hence argues that the government is "abusing the epidemic of a dangerous virus for its own political purposes", capitalising on our fears and distress.

Such actions should not be tolerated, particularly in such circumstances, says editor-in-chief Grega Repovž, adding that relevant data show citizens are actually respecting the restrictions and should deserve praise for that.

Demokracija: Condemns media critical of govt

STA, 2 April 2020 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija is critical in its commentary on Thursday of "leftist mainstream media attacking the centre-right government willy-nilly with heavy artillery". It says this reaction is understandable because anti-coronavirus measures have not only been well-received by the people, but also undermine the leftists' agenda.

This agenda is known as cultural Marxism and is based on the undermining of traditional values. These ideas have long been spread by a variety of NGOS, mostly founded and funded by George Soros, the weekly's editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says under the headline Resurrection.

"Now this delusional dream of Slovenia again becoming a swampy socialist community, are bursting... The hardest blow being that LGBT activists and retarded social scientists can no longer brainwash students."

Now, for at least a few months, upbringing in back in "the right hands - the hands of parents". Parents must build a mental wall in the heads of their offspring so that "no degenerate leftist idea will ever again come near the brains of our descendants".

Children must come to understand that there are only two sexes and that each has its own historical burden in preserving a nation. They must understand that "hordes of foreigners from Africa and the Mohammedan world cannot replace noble Slovenian women and courageous Slovenian men".

"These days, luckily, we are witnessing a slight turning in Slovenia back to the family, religion, patriotism, the almost forgotten principles, above all there can again be seen a return to values that allowed the Slovenian nation to survive."

Demokracija says leftist media fear that Slovenia would wake up a different nation after the coronavirus epidemic. "Not a dictatorship, a threat they have been using to scare the people, but a country of free people, who showed in isolation their true solidarity and brought back humble pray to God."

"This will be a renewed resurrection, in which progressive 'rebellion' will disappear and Slovenia will be on its way to a new future, where nothing will be out of reach of hard-working hands."

All our posts in this series are here

28 Mar 2020, 09:04 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 27 March 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Beware surveillance capitalism

STA, 27 March 2020 - In the times that are coming, democracy will be more important than we could ever imagine and the countries that do not have people fully committed to human rights and democracy in power now will have it hard, the editor-in-chief of the left-wing weekly Mladina, Grega Repovž, argues in Friday's editorial.

"In the coming weeks (!) so much will happen that we will indeed wake up to a different world, a different world order", Repovž says, pointing to restrictive measures and electronic surveillance devices that Asian countries are using to prevent the spread of coronavirus among their citizens.

"The use of such applications is undoubtedly controversial, because they severely encroach on personal privacy. But as long as health arguments are used we are somehow trying to understand them," Repovž says.

However, the world today trembles before another fear: the fear of a great economic collapse. "This fear is getting worse, because for healthy people quarantined today it is much more tangible and known than some unknown diseases. One of the reasons for this is that only a decade has passed since the last major crisis."

It was only a matter of time before those who are primarily concerned about the state of the economy realised that these applications and surveillance of infected persons can actually enable them to allow citizens to return to their jobs early in the name of the economy and assume their role of consumers again.

The technology enabling surveillance of infected persons is sending the message that capitalism can function even before the pandemic is completely contained.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn revealed for Die Zeit this Wednesday that the German government was already working on a plan to revive public life before the end of the epidemic, so that life could return to normal for most people right after Easter, except for the older and the most vulnerable, who would be asked to remain in quarantine.

He argued that in a liberal society it is not possible to restrict contacts between people in the long-term, which Repovž says is a seemingly acceptable view for any liberal. But his next sentence was that digital tracking of people's contacts, meaning tracing people's mobiles, will be inevitable in this scenario.

"And so it has happened. The wall has been penetrated. The one thing we feared has happened: the argument of liberal values has been used to violate those exact values only to let capitalism start its engines again."

The question now is whether we will give up our freedom and privacy to enable life to start again despite the virus that is among us. Will we even have a chance to be against? "Is this the world we want to live in? And primarily: Can you trust your authorities - for example in Slovenia - that they will not abuse the situation?"

But what if this experiment causes the disease to spread even more, and bring even more deaths, Repovž wonders under the headline Surveillance Capitalism Is Coming.

Demokracija: Mainstream media should not attack government

STA, 26 March 2020 - The right-wing magazine Demokracija endorses government restrictions aimed at slowing down the spread of coronavirus in its latest edition, berating mainstream media for accusing the government of censorship.

In the piece headlined What the World Will Be Like After the End of the Outbreak, Jože Biščak, the editor-in-chief, writes that everyone should abide by the restrictions and behave as if they were contagious, including journalists.

"In particular the ladies who are reporting on the ground in front of cameras without protective masks (great example for the viewers indeed), and then when the government cancels live press conferences, go crying that they cannot do their job, complaining about censorship, talking about dictatorship, curbs on the freedom of speech.

"Dear readers, we are at war, at war against a virus we do not know well enough and do not know what consequences it will have on people's health."

Biščak says that no one is denying anyone's right to express their opinion, or hindering journalist work and that no one will be any less informed if the government responds to questions remotely.

He accuses the media mainstream of using the state of emergency to attack the centre-right government, arguing that people are not interested in who has been replaced at the helm of the army or police force at the moment, but rather if and how they will survive the epidemic.

"Things that are completely irrelevant to health at the moment are only of interest to socio-political workers, a phalanx of NGOs and ideological parasites as they are helplessly watching how they are losing their influence and how ordinary people are welcoming government measures."

Biščak says that restrictions will pass and that the current government has no desire to extend the state of emergency beyond what necessary, as mainstream media commentators claim.

"However, this is a time for a rethink what world we want to live in after the end of the outbreak. A globalised one where international elites take decisions that affect us and decide the quality of our lives, or a world where the power would be decentralised, people freer and regions more independent?"

All our posts in this series are here

20 Mar 2020, 13:37 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 20 March 2020

Mladina: Populists will abuse COVID-19

STA, 20 March 2020 - In its latest commentary, the left-wing weekly Mladina labels as very unusual several moves made by the new government in order to contain the coronavirus outbreak, and notes that some of them are actually about populists wanting to consolidate their power by abusing the crisis situation.

In the commentary headlined Unusual, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says that some things done in recent days have remained unexplained, including the formation of a crisis management team which does not belong under the auspices of the Health Ministry.

In all comparable countries, the coronavirus is being fought within the civilian sphere, under civilian legislation, while the military performs only support activities.

"In Slovenia, as the government is being taken over by the Democrats (SDS), the management and communication of the situation has been stripped away from public health experts," with the matters being formally transferred to the defence department.

"It is a different way of governance, of thinking. The civilian sphere, the healthcare sector in this case, has been formally subjugated to the defence sector."

What is even more unusual is that all healthcare institutions have been instructed not to communicate with the public about the epidemic without permission. "There is no good reason for this whatsoever," Repovž says.

"Basically all key people appearing in the public on behalf of the government are party members first and foremost, even the only health expert. This is very strange for a European country in 2020."

Repovž notes that the Guardian had already written about European populists trying to abuse the coronavirus, and that they can be stopped. He points to the "latest attempt to abuse the crisis situation to make social changes" not so long ago.

This was done by the Janša government in 2012, which faced protests because he tried to use people's distress because of a difficult financial situation to carry out social subversion.

"The committed behaviour and solidarity expressed by people at the time when an invisible virus is roaming the country shows us very clearly how people love this country - but only as a free, fair and open society."

Demokracija: No time for ideological, political disputes

STA, 19 March 2020 - The coronavirus epidemic is a war-like situation and this is no time to engage in ideological or political settling of scores, the right-wing weekly Demokracija comments in its editorial on Thursday.

"We must all act as if we are infected. Only responsible individuals can contain the spread of the virus. No decree can stop the virus, no government can abolish it, all it can do is take some unpopular measures that (temporarily) restrict personal and economic freedom," editor-in-chief Jože Biščak writes in the commentary Covid-19, Liberty and the Free Market.

"Believe me, it pains me (as a sworn classical liberal of the Hayek Café mould in the economic sense) to see the restrictions. But the arrival of Covid-19 is like war, where logic often fails and drastic measures must be resorted to.

"Notwithstanding the political and economic situation in Slovenia (and the world), it will therefore take a lot to get through this challenge. And the fear (or ruthless insinuations by the political opponents of the new government) that Janša may exploit this difficult time to revive old methods of operation of leftist governments at the expense of liberties is unfounded."

All our posts in this series are here

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