Ljubljana related

25 Oct 2020, 10:46 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 23 October 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Calls for solidarity with social victims of the crisis

STA, 23 October 2020 – The left-wing weekly Mladina says in its latest commentary that the numbers showing the social crisis brought by coronavirus are as horrifying and painful as the numbers of the infected, hospitalised and deceased. It adds that one must not express solidarity to patients without expressing solidarity to people who have been impacted in other ways.

"We cannot build the fight against the epidemic on the daily count of the infected, hospitalised and deceased. Of course, these numbers are important...but betting on these numbers distorts the picture. Other numbers hidden behind these numbers."

Under the headline In the Name of the Coming Weeks, Grega Repovž, the editor-in-chief of the left-leaning weekly, adds that the entire industry of socialisation, entertainment and recreation was halted last week in order to reduce the number of persons affected by coronavirus.

"The number of people without income, without means of subsistence drastically increased this week. These numbers are as horrifying and painful," Repovž says, adding that solidarity should also be expressed to these people.

The government has failed to prepare itself for this form of crisis in the past months, and now this problem may be solved only with humaneness and love. "This sounds cheesy and cheap, but it is not. If we want to solve what is coming, we badly need sentient people at all levels."

Repovž wonders whether Slovenians are aware at all how terrifying a social bomb is ticking as the "state has failed, and municipalities are pretending they have nothing to do with it," as there are no funds to finance rents and there is no additional welfare.

He also notes that it was politics which has taken the decisions which now reflect in all these numbers, and that society only followed it by default as it has limited power in the relation with politics.

"Politics is now telling us that it is best for us to point fingers at each other. Let's not fall for this trick. They are doing this in order to mask their own responsibility," concludes the commentary.

Demokracija: Mainstream media promoting resistance against government

STA, 22 October 2020 – The right-wing weekly Demokracija says in Thursday's commentary that Slovenian mainstream media encourage opponents of restrictive measures while promoting resistance against the government.

"The epidemiological situation in Slovenia is progressively worse while the media mainstream promotes the conduct of [rapper Zlatan] Čordić and company who encourage boycotting masks and the application for tracing infected persons, and promote resistance to the centre-right government in these difficult times," says the editorial Born (and Raised) for Violence.

"It seems (and it is probably not far from the truth) that they genuinely want the virus to murder as many Slovenians as possible so that they can point their fingers at the faces at Gregorčičeva Street."

"And when someone from the government reacts, condemns their behaviour, they scream about attacks on media freedom and stories about the establishment of totalitarianism on the sunny side of the Alps are flying around the world, travelling to all possible and impossible addresses of (ideologically kidnapped) international progressive (media) associations."

The paper notes that these media are, however, not reporting on last week's attack on the Nova24 cameraman. "This would not be in line with political correctness and the maimed ideology of liberal democracy. It is allowed to beat the conservative-oriented (rightist, if you will), until exhaustion, is it not?"

According to the commentator, it is perhaps time that "good and peace-loving people no longer (just) pass olive branches. And that the principle Vim vi expellere licet [it is permitted to expel force with force] is not just dead ink on paper."

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11 Oct 2020, 12:07 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 9 October 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Janša dividing and not uniting people amid epidemic

STA, 9 October 2020 - Mladina's latest editorial says that PM Janez Janša stayed true to himself and launched an attack on Wednesday on the media and opposition as it became clear that his government failed to contain the epidemic. However, Slovenia's ongoing defeat against the epidemic is the result of a poor and incompetent leader, the left-leaning weekly paper asserts.

While Janša accused the media of encouraging violations of protective measures, this is a "dirty lie", Mladina's editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says, arguing there is not a single serious media outlet in Slovenia that would not be calling for respect of measures and spreading knowledge about the epidemic.

Even more, the media, despite being hammered by Janša constantly, have been rather gentle with regard to some major government blunders and the same holds true of the opposition, which never once sank to the level of Janša who threw insults at the previous government as the epidemic began and threatened with lawsuits even though this instilled even more fear in the already frightened public.

"Thus it needs to be stated before his lie spreads: Janez Janša is the one incapable of handling crises, he does not understand what a crisis situation is, which is something that he already showed in 2012 and this merely got confirmed now. It again showed that Janša is without leadership abilities, without organisational abilities and above all completely incapable of uniting the nation in distress," Repovž says under Back to 2020.

"Instead of working, he puts out 30 tweets a day or more and constantly follows developments on this social platform," adds Repovž, who draws hope from the initiative to form a centre-left government as an alternative to Janša, from the discourse accompanying this effort as well as from the demands of the protest movement.

"The stakes are very high. We are in the middle of the epidemic. But in the middle of such a situation, the current government finds it more important to replace the directors of all oversight institutions than to unite the people in the fight against the epidemic. While everybody is taking the epidemic seriously, Janša is only using it."

Reporter: Search for Janša's replacement speeds up

STA, 5 October 2020 - The right-wing weekly magazine Reporter says in its latest commentary that the opposition's search for a new prime minister is gaining steam, with several scenarios being in play behind the scenes on how to get the required 46 votes for a constructive vote of no confidence in Janez Janša.

Janša is pushing his agenda in an uncompromising fashion and is triggering the left-leaning opposition and its political backing to make plans for how to bring down the current government as soon as possible.

Under the headline to the Last Breath and Further, editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla says that a six-month transitional government until a snap election is out of the question, and that only a new political government until the regular 2022 election is an alternative.

But in the latest plans of the "uncles behind the scenes", some of the current parliamentary party leaders taking over at the government is not an option, either, and the path to the 46 votes is gradual.

With the ousting of Aleksandra Pivec as the head of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), the DeSUS takeover operation is half-way through, and intensive talks are being conducted with its former leader Karl Erjavec, who is willing to return only under certain conditions.

This would be followed by a merger of DeSUS with the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) and Modern Centre Party (SMC), which would together with the MPs of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD) and Left then vote Janša out of office.

The problem is that they still do not have a name for prime minister-designate, who would be a supra-party candidate. Two names have been circulated in the media lately - the former European Commissioner Janez Potočnik and Court of Audit president Tomaž Vesel.

But it is expected that the prime minister, while the opposition is digging him a political grave, will not be idle and that he will do everything he can to keep the current coalition together as long as possible, preparing the grounds for the next election.

"In the tense game of political poker, Janez Janša has better cards in his sleeve compared to the political plotters from the left, but the game nevertheless remains unpredictable," the commentary concludes.

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03 Oct 2020, 15:12 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 2 October 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: The way to a new govt

STA, 2 October 2020 - The left-leaning magazine Mladina argues in the latest editorial that the only way to stop Slovenia being turned into a "little Hungary" is to find a non-partisan candidate for PM and a merger between several current coalition and opposition parties.

The editor-in-chief Grega Repovž lambastes the opposition for its response to calls this week to close its ranks and establish whether it is capable before the election to stop "Slovenia's being turned into a little Hungary with one leader and one party and its satellites, with limited media freedom, party-run economy etc.".

He finds it ludicrous that former PM Marjan Šarec should have offered himself as a candidate considering that he had blown his chances as PM by "stupidly" resigning, after showing himself as a bad leader.

Repovž goes on to say that the prospects for Šarec's LMŠ party are not promising, as are not for the Left and its leader Luka Mesec, who lost credibility in voters' eyes when it parted their ways with the Šarec-led coalition.

Voters blame the Left and the LMŠ for bringing PM Janez Janša to power, and "the arrival of something new", i.e. a new party, will be destructive for both, writes Repovž, adding: "And this new something will arrive."

He goes on to say that SocDem leader Tanja Fajon neither has the political power nor skills to be PM and does not appear to be capable of strengthening her party.

For anything to change, it has to be in the Modern Centre Party (SMC) and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), Repovž says, adding that while DeSUS might survive, the SMC has no future as an independent party, while both parties know they cannot recover as long as they continue in coalition with PM Janez Janša.

"The only serious chance for a potential attempt to form a coalition is a candidate for PM who does not belong to any of the parties and is a powerful enough personality (a former publicly esteemed politician) on the one hand, and a process to form a new political party within the current parliament on the other."

Repovž proposes a merger between the SMC, SAB and DeSUS and possibly another party, saying that the whole proposition seems unlikely but is the only way out of the current situation, while anything else is hopeless.

Reporter: Scenarios for a new government

STA, 28 September 2020 - The right-wing weekly Reporter looks at potential scenarios that could lead to a new government in the latest editorial, saying that unless the Janez Janša government gets a vote of no confidence by the end of the year or by the end of the winter, the third Janša's government will be firmly in the saddle until the next election in the spring of 2020.

Janša is back in power not so much thanks to the voters of the Democrats (SDS), who gave the party the most votes in the June 2018 election, but primarily thanks to Marjan Šarec, who resigned as prime minister at the end of January and his coalition partners, who denied him support, starting with the Left.

And now this left-leaning lot is working on creating a new government, editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla says. They say that they could agree on at least five key projects but the problem is they cannot agree on who would be the new prime minister.

Former PM Alena Bratušek has sensed the opportunity to return to power and could offer to be a compromise solution, as Šarec and SocDem leader Tanja Fajon have publicly clashed, both wanting the post.

Šarec's argument is that his LMŠ party still has the most votes among left parties, while Fajon claims it would be ridiculous if Šarec became prime minister again, given that he had resigned from the post.

However, the LMŠ, SD, SAB and the Left have only 39 votes in the 90-member parliament, so they would have to get at least seven votes from the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) and Modern Centre Party (SMC) for their no-confidence motion to succeed.

After Aleksandra Pivec resigned as DeSUS head the chances of at least four of its MPs changing sides are a little bit bigger. But in that case at least three SMC MPs would also be required. Some say that even SMC head Zdravko Počivalšek could change sides.

But these are nothing but political calculations. In the 30-year-history of independent Slovenia, the country has never had three governments in a single term and the left has never been so fragmented, Šurla says.

Perhaps, everything is merely a show for voters of left-leaning parties. So that their leaders could say that they did what they could to beat Janša but failed. "Taking on the responsibility and rule in these difficult times of the epidemic and multi-billion gap in the state budget is no walk in the park."

Only the SD has a relatively stable election base, while the LMŠ, Left and SAB do not, so their interest is primarily political survival. Hence their selfishness and political calculations. The joint interests of the left bloc come second to them. Being a veteran politician Janša knows that very well, Šurla says under the title Mission Impossible, Part III.

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27 Sep 2020, 10:52 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 25 September 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Education Ministry rebuked for situation at schools

STA, 25 September 2020 – Mladina, the left-wing weekly, criticises the government and Education Ministry for "sending the education system into the corona-autumn completely unprepared". It says in Friday's editorial that all staff at schools, not just teachers, are on the verge of exhaustion and that the system could easily collapse.

No additional teachers and kitchen or cleaning staff - vital to keep the system going in the difficult times - was hired, the idea for teaching in shifts was not examined and no plan was made to adjust teaching for individual subjects in case face masks have to be worn, says editor-in-chief Grega Repovž.

Talking with a face mask for six hours in a classroom is hard and calls for adjustment. "But how could have the ministry made the plan when it had claimed there would be no masks," the editor wonders.

"The ministry has let schools down," he says, adding that teachers who cannot wear masks for health reasons were given no concessions, and while healthcare workers are entitled to coronavirus testing, no such testing was provided for teachers.

Instead of providing masks free of charge for teachers and children, the government provided 500,000 disposable masks for the entire education system. The figure is bizzarely low, given that 200,000 children and youth go to school every day, whereas masks free of charge are said to be provided to small businesses.

Mladina says Education Minister Simona Kustec should not resign because of a minor mistake of not wearing a mask at a gala dinner, but so that somebody who is up to the challenge takes over at her office.

The entire government has failed to deliver, with the education system breaking down three weeks after the new school year started, and a similar fiasco can be observed in other systems, such as public transport, Mladina says.

It suffices to look at healthcare to see what education is in for. While doing nothing to prepare the healthcare system for the autumn, it is clear already that the government will use the situation to quickly and mercilessly privatise it. Laboratories are the first to go.

Reporter: Slovenian healthcare not public but state-run

STA, 21 September 2020 - The right-wing weekly Reporter is critical of an expected rise of the compulsory healthcare insurance, saying it signals a potential continuation of the decline of the healthcare system even under the centre-right Janez Janša government.

Speaking of continuing systemic issues, Reporter argues in its latest commentary Slovenia does not have public healthcare, but state-run healthcare that prevents access to all the doctors available in the country and to direly needed services in time.

Moreover, the system is rife with corruption, with some of those distributing the public funds also representing those vying for them, the weekly says under The Millionaires and the Victims of 'Public Healthcare'.

"People known best in the public for calls for public healthcare can afford fast and private healthcare...When they are told the waiting line for tests is six months or more, they go to a private doctor and get treatment within a few days.

"The 'small people' in whose name the former ones are raising their voice on the other hand cannot afford this. They can stand in line and hope their condition does not deteriorate drastically in the meantime. This happens after years of paying compulsory insurance in order to have access to healthcare."

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20 Sep 2020, 13:37 PM

STA, 18 September 2020 - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs has purchased a plot of land on the Slovenian coast for less than a third of the price the Koper municipality could have potentially fetched with the sale, Mladina reports on Friday. It suggests that Boris Popovič, the mayor of Koper at the time the land was initially sold to a Russian company, is involved.

The weekly says that Hojs purchased last July building land in the village of Kolomban, which overlooks the Slovenian coast near Koper.

The property was purchased from the Russian national Marat Idrisov, whose company had bought a larger piece of land in April 2017 at a public auction from the Koper municipality, which decided after the auction to service the land with a road and a sewage system.

The municipality, which was run by Boris Popovič at the time, sold a total of 3,894 square metres of land in Kolomban. Idrisov was the only bidder, as the land had not even been accessible by road at the time.

His company, Rjeckon, purchased the land at the asking price of EUR 262,920 or EUR 67.50 per square metre, which is a lower than the Koper municipality usually sells land plots to its residents, the weekly adds.

It notes that Rjeckon "is an unknown company, without particular references, and which prior to 2017 actually had no noteworthy revenue or assets expected from a company registered for real estate deals".

Idrisov is an acquaintance of Popovič's infrastructure advisor Radivoje Anđelković, who is believed to have helped the Russian buy the land. For instance, Anđelković allowed Idrisov to register his company at his home address in Ljubljana.

When the land was sold to Idrisov, it was still inaccessible by car, but after the sale the municipality decided to build utility infrastructure there - including a road to all land plots sold and a sewage system, the weekly notes.

Idrisov had thus actually purchased land for which other interested buyers could not have possibly known or predict that it would be provided with infrastructure at the municipality's expense.

Moreover, instead of a plot on which the local authorities built an access road, Idrisov was given the remainder of the available adjacent land to improve the functionality of the entire land plot.

Idrisov then divided his land into several plots and sold it to four persons, including Popovič, Anđelković and Hojs. The interior minister purchased 882 square metres for EUR 75,910, or EUR 86 per square metre.

Had the municipality serviced the land before selling it at auction, it could have fetched more than EUR 300 per square metre or more than EUR 1 million. In that case Hojs, would have to pay EUR 264,600 for his plot, according to Mladina.

The minister has told Mladina that he had reported the deal to the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, that he had financed it with his own assets and a loan, and that Popovič had not helped him with the purchase.

In a response, Hojs told the press in parliament he had nothing to add because everything is written in the opposition Left's online bulletin - Mladina.

Hojs is defending some of his past actions in the National Assembly as MPs are discussing the opposition-sponsored motion of no-confidence in him.

20 Sep 2020, 13:19 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 18 September 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: SDS driven by greed not ideology

STA, 18 September 2020 - The left-wing weekly Mladina argues in the latest editorial that the government's actions and decisions are driven by the ruling party's desire for money rather than by ideology.

"It is all about money (...) this is why the Slovenian government is one of the few that, at the time when the country is paralysed and hysterical with the epidemic, are busy with changes in the very system and makeup of the state," writes editor-in-chief Grega Repovž.

As one example he offers the creation of a demographic fund where he says the coalition are admitting they are redistributing the state silverware and the power of its management based on party formula.

Another is the tax reform where Repovž says the tax burden on top earners will be reduced, and the plan to annul tax on luxury vehicles.

He finds it paradoxical that "the government is mostly supported by voters who will never have those luxury cars, who will never be in top tax brackets, and they still believe those in power are some kind of fighters for social justice."

Instead, Repovž says that PM Janez Janša, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs and other members of the government are those rich people that they are fighting for, so they do not see what is wrong with leveraging power to adapt tenders, legislation and business ways to make money.

He refers to an article in the latest edition of Mladina about how Hojs was sold an elite plot of land by the Koper municipality under Mayor Boris Popovič to the local community's detriment.

"We have people in power who are involved in suspicious dealings, do business with suspicious people, meet people who are in criminal procedures, work with people who propagate publicly they do tax evasion, they interfere in criminal procedures to help people in procedures over human trafficking and prostitution (...). None of them has denied any of that."

In conclusion of the piece headlined In Plain Sight, Repovž says that the hardest thing to understand is how none of deputies or other ministers of the junior coalition partners are bothered even though they know exactly what is going on.

Demokracija: Charges against Hojs ludicrous

STA, 17 September 2020 - The right-wing magazine Demokracija defends Interior Minister Aleš Hojs against accusations in the opposition-sponsored motion against him and the criminal complaint targeting him, which it finds absurd.

In the latest edition, Jože Biščak, the editor-in-chief, calls the charge over the reversal of the ban on concert of Croatian singer Marko Perković Thompson "the most stupid accusation on the planet" after the US Democrats' attempt to impeach President Donald Trump.

He says the accusation is based on disagreement with the ideological views of a Croatian singer the majority would never even heard about had the leftists not banned his concert in 2017, a ban that the Interior Ministry lifted after a series of complaints.

Biščak supports Hojs's view that the ministry's decision is based on human rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution, including freedom of speech, arguing that a Thompson concert is one such freedom, while being offended by such a concert is not a basic freedom.

He argues that back in 2017 the Miro Cerar government should have provided security to Thompson and his fans against a mass of people who planned to prevent the concert.

Meanwhile, he says it "would not be worth wasting one's breath over the criminal complaint against Hojs for ordering a revision of the most controversial corruption cases that have never seen a closure if it did not make obvious the political motivation of those who filed it".

The fact that they signed the complaint as 'honest police officers' should send alarm bells ringing as it is, writes Biščak under the headline The Heartbeat of Guerilla Politics, adding that the anonymous complaint is likely to be taken seriously by prosecutors even though it should end up in a bin.

"Experience of the justice system, which instead of guaranteeing equal and fair treatment of all by law dwells behind the door to hell, teaches us that we will witness a new farce. You know the way it goes: leftists adapt and change rules in guerrilla fashion so they suit the conduct of deep state evil doers."

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13 Sep 2020, 10:48 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 11 September 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Janša creating chaos, offering impressions without content

STA, 11 September 2020 - The left-wing weekly Mladina is critical in its latest editorial of what it sees as a policy of hollow impressions pursued by Janez Janša-led governments. It argues Janša is all about chaos, in which he can pursue an ideological agenda, while true content in terms of effective measures is absent.

Accusing Janša of scaremongering during the refugee crisis and during the last financial crisis, Mladina editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says that similar behaviour can be witnessed again in the fight against coronavirus.

"A lot of wind, and above all a large number of measures that create the impression of a government working around the clock, moving from one extreme to the other, closing municipal borders and all the way to a dramatic end of the epidemic and the flypast by US aircraft," Repovž says under Chaos.

He goes on to list a number of crucial measures against Covid-19, saying they have all remained unimplemented, all the way down to the quarantine orders, which are still without legal validity.

The government has also failed to convince people that masks are effective, Repovž argues, saying officials often do not wear them, including not Janez Janša when receiving Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz with whom he moreover shook hands.

"We are not saying that the situation is alarming at this point. But one thing is clear: the good results of the fight against coronavirus are mostly the result of responsible behaviour on the part of the residents of this country. They are really tough and patient, having had to observe the double-faced behaviour of politicians for months."

Reporter: Police force politicised

STA, 7 September 2020 - "The police force has been more or less politicised under every government," says the right-wing weekly Reporter on Monday, arguing that if the police were truly independent and professional, then they would be more successful in cracking white-collar crime and corruption.

However, only a few thieves have been caught among those who were stealing and capitalising on the transition period, "but nothing happened to the rest, who had good connections, including political ones".

The editor-in-chief Silverster Šurla notes in the editorial that the Janez Janša government has replaced a number of persons holding top posts, just like any other government, including in the tax office, police, military and the intelligence agencies.

"The new government has not yet taken complete control over the police though, particularly not in case of the elite National Bureau of Investigation," says Reporter, pointing out that information about what is going on at the Interior Ministry and police is leaked to media almost daily.

The police should be independent of politics, but that has not been seen in Slovenia yet and probably would not be ever since the force is a major tool for the authorities, either left-wing or right-wing.

Since Slovenia's independence, there have been a number of cases of political interferences in the work of the police, either to drag the procedures or to speed them up. "However, it is true that the police have been longer and more controlled by the political left than the right."

Both sides of the aisle are finger pointing and proclaiming efforts to depoliticise the police when they are ruling though, says the editorial under the headline Danger in the House at the End.

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29 Aug 2020, 13:11 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 28 August 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Beović spreading hysteria while not controlling infections

STA, 28 August 2020 - The latest commentary in the left-leaning weekly Mladina comes as a letter by the editor-in-chief written to Bojana Beović, the head of the Health Ministry's Covid-19 task force, in which she is being criticised for spreading hysteria in Slovenia over potential infections while practically doing nothing to control infections.

In Letter to Prof. Bojana Beović, Grega Repovž says that while a majority of expert guidelines so far have been logical and well explained, "this of course could not be said for the government's policy, which you also belong to and support with your statements."

"The government policy is based on scaremongering, exaggeration and misleading, because of which most of the people do not trust you enough, which public opinion polls show. This is bad, because the autumn is coming."

Repovž says that citizens deserve respect from representatives of the authorities, and that Beović has acted the opposite in recent weeks, especially when it comes to the return of Slovenian holiday-goers from Croatia.

"You deliberately mislead people, and exerted psychological violence on them with fearmongering and spreading uneasiness. Acting like this had no logic, especially if it is compared to how the relevant expert bodies in Austria and Germany acted."

Beović claimed that quarantine is a better solution than testing, and it is, but "your government did not introduce quarantine for people returning from Croatia at all - everyone who returned by the evening last Monday avoided quarantine."

Hysteria was being spread among people for ten days, but all who were in Croatia during the most critical period returned to their jobs on Monday without being tested or quarantined. "You were not stricter than Austrians and Germans, as you tried to portray, but you actually did nothing to control the infections."

Repovž also notes that it is not true that the authorities are able to compare data on entry and exit from the country, which people were threatened with. "These databases do not exist. This is exaggerating and arrogantly inventing things, while control of infections is missing. Why?".

He wonders if Beović perhaps believes that "hysteria and fearmongering are means to an and - people in general being aware of the situation, expressing solidarity and acting safe. This does not even work in small children."

What Beović has done is only spoiling people's vacations and scaring the entire nation, while actually not introducing quarantine or testing. "You introduced quarantine only now, when families with small children, older persons and people with lower income are going on holiday."

Demokracija: Judiciary should admit mistakes

STA, 27 August 2020 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija says that the "swamp" of Slovenia's judiciary is slowly drying out, judging by "obvious nervousness seen in reactions by the (heads) of the judiciary and the prosecution to criticism occasionally offered by [Prime Minister] Janez Janša".

Under the headline Red Vipers, the weekly says on Thursday that judges and prosecutors in Slovenia are not held accountable for the mistakes they make.

Even though they have been proven to hand down wrongful rulings, at odds with the rule of law, and charges borne out of political constructs or confrontations, judges and prosecutors continue to defend their work.

"None of them ever has tried to correct the wrongs in the Patria case. Nobody has even apologised," the weekly says about the defence corruption case that saw Janša being found guilty of accepting the promise of a bribe before a retrial was ordered and the case became statute barred.

And now they are trying to avoid facing the consequences in the lawsuits brought against them by Janša and his party, the Democrats (SDS), the paper says. The most recent manoeuvre is a local purview ping-pong in lawsuits against a prosecutor and judges involved in the Patria case.

"Lawyer Franci Matoz is right in saying that the 'comic tragedy has become a serial'," the paper says in reference to Janša's lawyer.

Slovenia has never really broken away from revolutionary law, and the judiciary and the prosecution "can not only cost you your good name but can force you to spend your time and money on (impossible) defence from something that is very obviously a fabrication".

"But neither the prosecutor using manipulated evidence nor a judge from the judicially 'indicative circle', face any consequences." Not only that, they get promoted. The public should be afraid of such judges and prosecutors and should not keep quiet.

"Every day, the every-man should come to the swamp and help dry it, because the smelly and slimy untouchables can do injustice to him as well," the paper says, also accusing the "mainstream media" of supporting untrue indictments and rulings, while attacking those who dare speak out about injustices.

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22 Aug 2020, 13:15 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 21 August 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Lack of info makes it hard to see through govt measures

STA, 21 August 2020 - A poor flow of information stemming from the coronavirus pandemic makes it harder to compare Slovenian government decisions to developments in other countries, the left-wing Mladina weekly says in Friday's editorial, headlined Closed Society. It criticises a decision to introduce quarantine for returns from Croatia instead of offering testing.

Editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says that we are witnessing a year when information flow has drastically slowed down globally, with the focus on Covid-related information.

The lack of information makes comparison with other countries harder, so Slovenians see government decisions as "completely logical and the only possibly ones".

Repovž points to a decision to impose a two-week quarantine for travellers returning from Croatia, saying public debate is centred on whether to introduce it or not, instead of considering a third option - mandatory testing.

While this option has been introduced in the majority of Western countries, there is no public pressure to consider it in Slovenia and the government is not mentioning it.

If one decides on voluntary testing, they can do it at only two points, and it comes with a high price tag of over 90 euro.

Belgium, a much richer country, offers it for a mere 46 euro, and it is free of charge in Austria or Germany for those returning from other countries.

Repovž says that many people being quarantined has economic consequences for entire Slovenia which go beyond the potential cost of testing for the state.

But being closed information-wise, we see the government's thoughtless moves as the only option, he says.

Education is another area the editor takes issue with, saying the government should have changed legislation to give schools more autonomy in adjusting to Covid-19.

Instead, headmasters and teachers are terrified not knowing whether they will be able to observe all the recommendations.

Repovž says that if there was no emergency due to the epidemic, all major world media outlets would have sent their teams to Slovenia by now.

The epidemic has somewhat concealed the fact that Slovenia is an EU member state where anti-establishment protests have been going on for the fifth month running.

Was there no epidemic, it would be clearer the country is in a deep political crisis, says Repovž, adding that foreign media will probably realise that in the autumn when protests get more radical.

Problematic East European countries linking up in an ever louder and self-confident manner gives the EU and its powerful members more opportunities to react in a harder and clearer manner to the course pursued by the European East, to which Slovenia now belongs, concludes the editorial.

Demokracija: Remote learning prevents left-wing indoctrination

STA, 20 August 2020 - Two weeks before students are to return to brick-and-mortar schools, the right-wing weekly Demokracija says there would be no harm for students if remote learning continues in the autumn, saying that left-wing politicians are critical of this scenario because it would make it harder for them to indoctrinate children.

The weekly says that the results of the matura secondary school leaving exam were better this year following months of remote learning, but the left wing leaves this out of debates. Instead, they focus on "socialisation, which is actually indoctrination and has been made harder in distant learning."

"They are scared that they are losing power over the young and over their training to become future obedient multiculturalists and rainbow warriors," Demokracija editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says under the headline Dialectics of Good and Bad.

When a child learns by themselves or with the help of parents, focus shits away from things deemed important in the 2011 education white paper put together by a left government.

The biggest victory of cultural Marxists was to change education white books so as to render knowledge unimportant. Standards have been lowered to accommodate the "new citizens, arrivals from countries where the average IQ is by up to two standard deviation classes lower than the average IQ in developed countries".

The goal was social engineering that made subjects like the mother tongue, mathematics, physics and other natural sciences unimportant, replacing them with environmental activism, hunger and poverty, LGBT rights, multiculturalism, the fault of Europeans for the underdeveloped third world, green energy and social fairness.

The consequence is that children are raised to be mediocre to reduce the differences between them. "This is a typical socialist concept of being equal in poverty, but with an enlightened (and self-proclaimed) elite at the head".

The elite is the only one to benefit from the system that makes the development of any country virtually impossible by repressing meritocracy, whereas the latter benefits everybody, even those who are unsuccessful. The meritocratic elite can split an atom, research nanoparticles, send a man to the moon, make iPhones and laptops and boost food production with sophisticated technology.

To raise as many such people as possible, the education system should only provide young people with knowledge, they can form their own view of the world later on by themselves. This is the only way we can move forward, Demokracija says.

"You don't believe me? I ask you, which of these studies is more important to tackle hunger and poverty: studies by various 'peace institutes' about patriarchy in rural areas and gender equality in agricultural work, or a study by a technical institute about new and more effective ways to grow corn and cereal?"

All our posts in this series are here

15 Aug 2020, 13:00 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 13 August 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Government creating atmosphere of hate

STA, 14 August 2020 - The left-wing magazine Mladina speaks out against hate speech, insults and an atmosphere of hatred that it says is being fuelled by the current government and coalition, a situation its editor says is worse than any economic crisis or the worst of the Communist era.

Grega Repovž, the editor-in-chief, argues in the latest edition that the review ordered by Interior Minister Aleš Hojs of some of the police investigations that have already been closed is yet another attempt to smear political opponents of the ruling coalition and two media outlets, POP TV and Mladina.

If there was "a shred of evidence" about the allegations of abuse of the dominant position by the broadcaster Pro Plus or about the money from public procurement of stents allegedly being siphoned off to Mladina, Repovž does not doubt investigators and prosecutors would have filed charges a long time ago, if only in order to get a conclusion in court.

"However, there has been no such evidence, the two stories are political fabrications, they have done enough damage to both media outlets because they are intriguing just enough to sow doubt in people. The aim of SDS leader Janša and Minister Hojs remains to impact on the reputation of the media by repeating those untruths."

However, Repovž says that no one is spared the insult or a smear campaign as long as they dare express criticism or a different opinion in public. As one example he offers the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, whose news programme editor Manica Janežič Ambrožič has shown on main news but a glimpse of the base insults she and other journalists are subject to on a daily basis.

"What is happening today is violence against society that is being committed by the ruling coalition of the SDS, SMC, NSi and DeSUS with the abetting of Zmago Jelinčič's nationalists (...) It is worse than any economic crisis."

Repovž argues that all the coalition partners take the blame for the level society has sunk to, no matter if they point their fingers at each other or at the senior coalition Democratic Party (SDS).

"This level of yours is an attack on (...) everything we wanted of this country, it is an attack on its formation, on a democratic and enlightened state that is supposed to unify (...)

"You are turning this society into a society of beasts. Does anyone truly believes that once you have conquered everything you aimed for, once you demolish all the systems, smear and humiliate the last civil servant, teacher, journalist and politician who will not humour you in your politically-motivated trials, a morning will break when it all goes back to normal, when we become people again?

"It is conduct not committed by the Slovenian Communists in the worst of times. And how many years it took us to pick ourselves up from that system and its errors? There are still traces of that history throughout society."

Demokracija: Conspiracy against Pivec

STA, 13 August 2020 – The right-wing Demokracija magazine argues in Thursday's commentary that the accusations against Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) leader Aleksandra Pivec are in fact an attack by proxy on Prime Minister Janez Janša and the entire government, as part of a conspiracy between leftist parties and the mainstream media.

"The hysterical and bizarre screaming by the left opposition and the mainstream media has one goal only: after they failed with the fabricated scandal with [Economy Minister] Zdravko Počivalšek and masks, Pivec is a handy target for an attack on Janez Janša and the centre-right government, which must collapse no matter the cost," the paper says in Media Mafia on Steroids.

"The DeSUS president is just collateral damage. If she was not, she would have been 'manhandled' every day over the SRIPT project. But she was not, because she was a part of the left coalition at the time.

"It is surprising and utterly fascinating how many negative traits the dominant media have suddenly discovered in Pivec. That is why what they are doing with their staged shows is a paranoid attack orchestrated with the left, it is by no means investigative journalism," editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says.

The commentator speaks about "mass hysteria" driven by the realisation that fewer and fewer people are buying this. Their only chance therefore is to scream and "increase the dose of lying steroids, but in the end this will lead to a collapse of their depraved philosophy".

Everything that is not theirs is labelled as a rightist conspiracy, but this is "a figment of their imagination, of a sick mind". There is no such rightist conspiracy, but there is a very tangible leftist conspiracy.

The media "no longer serves justice and the truth, this is why it is the job of (good) people to prevent the media mafia from continuing to make Slovenia their home," the paper concludes.

All our posts in this series are here

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