Skoči do osrednje vsebine

Izjava Ministrstva za kulturo po zasedanju skupine za spremljanje spoštovanja demokracije, vladavine prava in temeljnih pravic v okviru Evropskega parlamenta

Ministrstvo za kulturo se z izjavo za javnost odziva na razpravo o položaju medijev v Sloveniji, ki ga je 5. marca 2021 organiziral Odbor za državljanske svoboščine, pravosodje in notranje zadeve Evropskega parlamenta, ki ga vodi nizozemska poslanka Sophie In't Veld (Renew Europe).

Izjavo objavljamo v dveh jezikih. Najprej v angleškem, nato še slovenskem jeziku. Izjava bo poslana vsem evropskim institucijam, predsednici odbora ter članom odbora.

Angleška različica

With this press release, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia is responding to the hearing on the state of the media in Slovenia, organized on 5 March 2021 by Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) working group of the European Parliament, renamed ''Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group''. The committee was chaired by the Dutch MEP Sophie In’t Veld (Renew Europe).

Invited Slovenian speakers were Goran Forbici, director of CNVOS, Petra Lesjak Tušek, president of the Slovenian Journalists' Association, Lenart J. Kučić, investigative journalist (Pod črto), and Marko Milosavljević, professor of journalism and media policy at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana.

Since factually inaccurate information was put forward, the Ministry would like to clarify matters as well as present its own view of the situation of the media in Slovenia.

Before moving on to actual statements, we would like to point out to certain facts.

Slovenian media are predominately left-wing and fiercely anti-government, as the recent media analysis conducted by the Faculty of media clearly shows. Even RTV Slovenia which should be neutral by its very existence posts 41 percent of anti-government articles. As the American ambassador to Slovenia once already concluded (and as was exposed by Wikileaks): ''Slovenia has a very open information environment in which there is little, if any, overt censorship. The media are critical and react strongly against any perceived attempts to influence the tenor of their reporting. Nevertheless, they often fall short of journalistic standards of professionalism by blatantly mixing facts and opinion in their stories. The media also exhibit a strong left or center-left bias.''

The late former left-wing Prime Minister (and later President of the republic) Janez Drnovšek agreed that ''Slovenian journalists in the 80s exhibited an anti-yugoslavian, pro-western stance, but in modern times they turned 180° towards yugonostalgia.'' For an average Slovenian discussing whether the media are displaying signs of self-censorship is clearly absurd, that is why no one is postulating it in Slovenia, but rather export it abroad where people aren’t clearly familiar with the Slovene media reality. The media analysis displayed – for the first time in years – that Slovenian media have a distinct bias in their reporting. The participants were asked to assess the level of self-censorship and stated it is hard to assess. It really isn’t that hard. We kindly invite the members of the Parliament to have a week’s worth of editions of all daily newspapers translated, as well as to watch evening news both from the largest commercial television (POP TV) as well as the public broadcaster (RTV Slovenia). The headlines are routinely ridden with anti-government propaganda. Then they can form their own opinion on whether anyone in Slovenia is displaying a tendency to self-censor.

Besides reports of self-censoring (which were mostly based on anonymous sources from the Politico article) several claims were made by participants which are factually incorrect. For the sake of clarity and length considerations we will limit our response to statements from dr. Marko Milosavljević, as other Slovenian participants also stated similar if not identical claims. We shall not comment on statements of the European parliament members since they are unfamiliar with the topic at hand and are often relying on – often fallacious – information from Slovenian sources.

We are highlight the following statements:

''The general manager (of RTV Slovenia) was actually changed before his term ran out. Nobody knows what will happen after the change of the management – there have been announcements that the personnel will be cuts and of course all these cuts can be used and abused simply to get rid of critical people and critical journalists.''

Igor Kadunc ended his full term of office, before the new general manager Andrej Grah Whatmought was elected. The new general management comes from the quota of the liberal (ALDE) party and has absolutely no ties to the current government or the ruling party. The programming council (which elects the general manager) selected him with an overwhelming majority – in fact even people who were placed in the programming council by the previous left-wing government voted for the new candidate and against Igor Kadunc, who ran for reelection.

Dr. Milosavljević made a similar error when talking about replacement of the museum directors (which has nothing to do with media per se, but he invoked this argument to show how the media and culture in general are under siege in Slovenia). The Government did not replace any directors of public museums. New selections were only made after the previous directors finished full terms of office, as is required by law.

There were be no announements of personnel cuts at RTV Slovenia. In fact – the Government allocated additional several million euros to RTVS Slovenia last year in order for the public broadcaster to remain normally operational during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

''The Government has in the last year proposed four media laws (sic). All four of these laws didn’t provide any solutions to the Slovenian media situation. Even more – they further endangered the independence and sustainability of the Slovenian media system.''

Claims that the proposal of a new media legislation does not bring solutions to the Slovenian media space and accusations that they are endangering it further, are unfounded. Moreover Dr. Milosavljević himself was in the expert commission that advised the Ministry of Culture working on the Media Act during the previous administration.

Solutions proposed in the new Media act followed the proposal already prepared by the Ministry of Culture under the previous Government of prime minister Šarec, which was about to enter the legislative procedure before he resigned.

Under the new government, the Ministry of Culture continued to work on the existing draft of the new Media act, since solutions were already peer reviewed (as mentioned, also by Dr. Milosavljević!). The new proposal retained more than 90% of the original act. Experts and media publishers did not object to any of the then proposed solutions which were kept in the old legislation, such as for example a  new definition of media, a modernized definition of public interest, a system of financial support to the media, updated media register, the right to correction, restrictions on ownership and prohibition of concentrations in media, programs of special importance, shares of Slovenian music, mandatory transmission of programs by operators and other solutions.

Therefore, it is by no means true that the new Media act does not provide solutions for the Slovenian media space. The amendment eliminates numerous administrative obstacles and over-regulation in the direction of greater freedom of the media in editing its own program or content. 

''The Ministry of Culture offered only one week for the civil society and media stakeholders to respond and give any sort of feedback, which is opposed to the practices in EU, only after the public pressure did the government provide these additional two months of consultation.''

This is not true. The extension had nothing to do with public pressure. The Ministry of Culture explained several times that there was a bureaucratic and technical glitch in the system which uploads the proposed legislature to a server for public debate. This was corrected and the public debate was always meant to last two months.

''The key issue on the law on public broadcasting was the attempt by the government  to take away tens of millions of euros from the public broadcaster to give to the unspecified undefined private media and the decision about that would be mostly in the hands of the Minister of Culture. There are members of the parliament who own a lot of these media outlets and it seems like they are in a direct conflict of interest when they decide on giving public money to private media of which they are the active owners.''

It is true that the new media act proposes a different system of redistribution of the RTV Slovenia fee – namely 5 percent will be dedicated to media outlets. Notwithstanding this has been done strictly to modernize and rationalize RTV Slovenia as well as provide more funding to the rest of the media, which has been hit hard not only by the coronavirus but also the change in how people consume information.

Media that will receive these funds are anything but ''undefined and unspecific'' – in fact the media outlets are already getting these funds now via a media tender. Even last year 2.7 million euros were handed out to (mostly left-wing) media in this way. The rules and regulations regarding the media tender will remain unchanged – a special committee of media experts will grade the media based on their importance to the regional communities and several other factors which are very precisely defined in the Media Act and relevant regulations dealing specifically with the media tender. Therefor Dr. Milosavljević’s claims that ''the decision about that would be mostly in the hands of the Ministry of Culture” is completely inaccurate.

The only difference is the source of funding – until now the source was the state budget. New Media Act foresees funds being drawn from 5 percent of the RTV Slovenia fee. We will however compensate RTV Slovenia for the loss of income – if we do not, then the Media Act itself will be annulled by the Constitutional court.

The Constitutional Court has once already deliberated on legislature similar to the new Media Act – in fact that law was passed back in 2001 by the left-wing government of Janez Drnovšek and just like the current Media Act it wanted to redistribute part of the RTV Slovenia (RTVS) fee to finance other media. There were no widespread accusations of the left leaning government trying to financially ruin RTVS. Despite that RTVS filed proceedings for a judicial review of the constitutionality of the said law, claiming the law is breaching their financial viability, which also denotes a breach of their editorial independence. The Constitutional Court agreed and annulled the law accusing lawmakers of failing to assess whether a reduction in the RTVS contribution would interfere with financial independence of RTVS, i.e. The new proposed Media Act will also face this constitutional scrutiny and will get annuled if the Government cannot prove without a reasonable doubt that the financing of RTVS will not interfere with its independence.

We are convinced that it will withstand the test of the judicial review and we will be able to prove that RTVS will be adequately compensated. For this we have proposed several measures. We will provide RTVS with an opportunity to make at least 11 million euros more per annum by granting them more advertising allowances. RTVS has thus far been unfairly restricted from ad revenue (private broadcasters take up 80% of the advertising revenue). This will be done by the new Audiovisual media services act, which will accompany the trio of Media acts.

The take-away message is this – if we cannot prove that RTVS will be appropriately compensated for lost income, the Media act will be annulled. Therefore doomsday scenarios claiming RTVS will be financially ruined by the new Media act is unfeasible.

''The main issue with the law on Slovenian press agency was the fact that the government was trying to achieve direct control over the press agency in appointing the key management figures.''

This is not true. It is impossible to have ''direct'' control over the press agency under the current arrangement. The Government indeed had direct control over the Slovenian press agency up until the current STA Act was approved in 2011. Before that the agency was just a part of the Government communications office. Since then the agency has become an independent entity, similar to state-owned enterprises, however it is still financed partially by the Government communications office. Robust systems have been put in place to keep it as independent as possible.

The changes new legislature bring to the agency are trivial and have no real bearing on who controls the agency. The main proposed change is only that the Government - on the proposal of the Ministry of Culture - becomes an appointing authority of the Supervisory board of the agency. Until now, the Supervisory board was also appointed politically, since this was the authority of the National Assembly (i.e. the political parties in the Parliament). The Supervisory board is only given financial oversight of the Agency but has no influence on the editorial policy of the agency.

''They were trying to destroy all critical media that was not close to the government. They were trying to break up programming radio networks within the commercial radio. They were trying to take large commercial TV stations out of the basic cable operation packages which would take away tens of millions of euros of their annual income. That was seen as an attempt to punish the media.''

Claims that the government is trying to destroy the media, which does not adhere to its agenda are simply not supported by facts.

In the aforementioned media tender for 2020, the Ministry allocated EUR 2,670,000 dedicated for the media. In total, the ministry supported projects of 67 media publishers. Known left-wing media outlets such as Večer, Delo, Mladina, Radio Študent and Dnevnik were all privy to funds from the tender.

In 2021, the Ministry will again allocate EUR 2,670,000 for this year’s tender.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Ministry of Culture began preparing individual measures to mitigate consequences of the epidemic. Thus, regional televisions that inform the citizens of the Republic of Slovenia via the DVB signal were exempted from paying the distribution fee of TV signal services by RTVS Slovenia for the period from the announcement to the cancellation of the epidemic. Regional televisions and radio stations were also exempted from paying the frequency fee paid to the Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS).

In addition, it should be noted that media publishers are, in most cases, private companies. They were therefore additionally financed though COVID-19 relief measures aimed at recovery and assistance to the economy during and after the pandemic. Tens of millions of euros were allocated to private media this way – most of them staunchly anti-government.

It is indeed true that we tried to break up programming radio networks, but this has been done based on proposals from smaller radio stations which found it impossible to survive, since three radio tycoons that run elaborate programming networks of connected radio stations squeezed them out of the ad revenue market. Proposals to disallow or alter these kind of programming networks have been ongoing for years and many media experts proposed changes in the field, since the current situation is untenable and leads to severe problems with media concentrations. Disbanding programming networks therefore has nothing to do with ''destroying critical media'' but rather paying attention to needs of smaller radio stations which are unable to survive in an environment where major players connect regional radio stations into an elaborate connected network.

Indeed, the new Media Act also stipulates that large commercial TV stations will no longer be a part of the basic programming packages of the IPTV providers, however this is not a new proposal. The article was already put in place during tenure of the previous Government and we kept it intact, as we believe the users of IPTV should have a right to chose which TV programs they want in their basic schemes. The way things stand at the moment, four main operators who offer IPTV formed an informal cartel with the largest commercial TV station (Pro Plus) and basically forced consumers to pay for Pro Plus channels even if they only purchase a basic TV package. It is astounding to us, that Dr. Milosavljević sees this as an attempt to ''destroy critical media'', since the solution was first proposed by the previous Government and since there is almost a unanimous viewpoint among media experts that the current situation where Pro Plus can enforce their own programs in basic schemes of IPTV operators, is harmful to the consumers as well as long-term competition.

''We have some politically linked actors who are trying to gain control of the Slovenian media. In the past year a main commercial TV station was sold to the Hungarian investors close to the circles of Viktor Orban.''

Dr. Milosavljević is talking about Planet TV, which was incorporated in 2012 by the state-owned Telekom Slovenije and has since been sold to the private investors from Hungary. What Dr. Milosavljević fails to mention is that Planet TV was a money-losing operation for Telekom Slovenije and was about to be sold no matter what Government was in power at that time. Telekom Slovenije is an enterprise and of course has no interest hanging on to investments which adversely affect their bottom line. Private investors who bought the TV station put in the highest bid and thus purchased the TV station. Planet TV has since not become any more anti or pro government, in fact it is praised as one of the more politically moderate and balanced media stations.

Furthermore – it is important to state that all Hungarian investments in Slovene media account for less than 1 percent of the media landscape. For instance, the private commercial TV station Pop TV (which belongs to Pro Plus) and national broadcaster RTVS Slovenia have viewing numbers that are more than 10 times that of Planet TV. This is important to mention, since esteemed members of the EU parliament might think – given the hyperbolic rhetoric of Dr. Milosavljević – that Hungarians are taking over the Slovenian media. Dr. Milosavljević states that it’s ''very hard'' to give an estimate on how much of the media landscape is owned by the Hungarian investors, since the ownership is very often hidden. This is not true. All Hungarian investments in Slovenia are transparent and it is easy to make an assessment. There are only two TV Stations owned by private investors from Hungary – Nova24TV and Planet TV. Dr. Milosavljević also talks about 18 websites that are under the ownership of Hungarians. We gather he is talking about regional web portals, which by themselves create miniscule website traffic compared to established web portals. Internet tools for assessing website traffic are freely available on the internet and everyone – including esteemed members of the parliament – can make up their own mind. Our assessment is that these websites together do not top the reach of even Nova24TV which by itself is rather insignificant in the grand scheme of Slovene media landscape.

''The Government is trying to control RTV Slovenia and Slovenian Press Agency (STA) completely. It has certain measures; it has certain ways of reaching that. So far it was unsuccessful with the Slovenian press agency. That is why the agency was being punished by being completely cut off from state funding.''

First, it is important to emphasize that at no point in time did the Government or its Communications office (UKOM) put any form of editorial pressure on Slovenian Press Agency (STA). The narrative has been grossly misrepresented in Slovenian media (and then exported abroad) that the Government will only fund STA if it agrees to report favorably on Governments actions. This has never been the case. A contract between the Government and STA was signed by the previous Government of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec. It clearly stipulates that STA is obligated to hand over all the documentation, which will allow the Government to assess an adequate amount it allocates for the funding of the public service the agency provides. Since the Government transfers 165,000 euros per month to the agency, it’s only reasonable there must be some sort of an accounting oversight in order to assess the appropriate amount to fund STA. Otherwise the Government would just hand out the tax-payers money ad hoc, without any real assessment of what a rational monthly installment is. The contract signed by the previous Government also states that payments can be stopped and furthermore – the Government can legally demand a refund of the amounts already paid, if STA does not hand over documents of its financial operations which the government needs for its assessment. The director of STA refused to hand over any documentation and the Government's communication office simply executed a clause in the contract.

Funding of STA has since resumed, despite STA breaching contractual obligations, however there is clearly a legal conundrum here, as many prominent Slovenian legal experts agree. Currently ad hoc funds are being transferred to STA without the Government having access to documentation which would allow it to assess how much the agency really needs. This is a legal dilemma that will have to be resolved in a legal way. It has nothing to do with politics, even though the opposition as well as the director of STA transformed it into a political issue when it really isn’t.

''Government has accused of being the left-wing media – among others: New York Times, der Spiegel, Bloomberg, Economist, The Guardian, die Welt, Kleine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung and a number of other media outlets. The values of this government are extremely right wing, therefor everything else is left-wing.''

The Government has not accused any of the above of being left-wing media. To some mentioned it has sent a request for correction of inaccuracies in their articles, yet always on a basis of factual errors, which foreign media printed based on reports from Slovenian political activists without verifying the information. For instance, Süddeutsche Zeitung claimed that the Government cut funding to the Radio Študent radio station, due to it being against the Government. In fact, Radio Študent received almost 400.000 euros of public funds last year and they themselves contacted the Government, saying that they had nothing to do with this article and that the claim is inaccurate.

''Either members of the Government or prominent party members or journalists that are controlled by the leading party have in the past year or last two years twitted or published in their media or publicly stated all sort of forms of improper language. That includes racism, sexism, ageism, hate speech tolerances and so on. We have editors we have politicians who for example claim that the holocaust was a fake, that there were not 6 million Jews killed in the holocaust and it was all made up by New York Times.''

No member of the Government or prominent member of Slovene democratic party (SDS) ever uttered or published anything related to racism, sexism, hate speech or claimed that the holocaust was fake or that it is not true 6 million people died.

There was ONE satirical article in Demokracija magazine, which some deemed as racist, but the SDS party as well as the Government steadfastly condemned it and distanced itself from any form of racial, religious, or other types of discrimination.

''We have a public relations officer at the Ministry of culture, who when responding to a question of a female cultural artist said ''What else would you like to know, the size of my penis?''

This is not true. The event Dr. Milosavljević is attempting to misuse in this instance happened long before the Government of Janez Janša was even formed. The public relations officer in question – who at the time was a private citizen with no connections to the Government - said this as a sarcastic response on Twitter, after an anonymous user asked him a rather obtuse question - the discussion had nothing to do with culture at all. It was a private exchange on social media. The response was meant as sarcasm, which often gets lost in translation. To deduce this has anything to do with how the Government is treating media and civil society is a rather cynical exercise. Every question journalists ask is answered on time and in a courteous manner – Mr. Kučić who also participated in the meeting attested to this. 

''We have seen tweets from people who are close to the Government who are establishing an alternative press agency, saying ''if a woman says no, does she actually mean yes?''

The Government has nothing to do with this project and people who attempted to establish this agency have nothing to do with the Government. The supposed agency is not even registered as a media company and there is no state support for it, nor did any politician in the government ever publicly endorse it.

''If we finish with the diplomatic language, this is a sort of language we are getting used to here in Slovenia.''

Indeed, the level of debate has fallen sharply during the last decade, due to extremes on both sides. The Government strongly condemns any form or racism, sexism, ageism, or holocaust denial. The picture Dr. Milosavljević is trying to paint, by bunching up twitter users, journalists and politicians into one homogenous group is a clear obfuscation of facts – yes there are extremes on both sides He never mentioned armies of trolls on the left who are threatening to kill all Christians ''Like we did in 1945'' as they often boast. He never mentioned a left-wing city councilor of Ljubljana, who tweeted: ''Bitch! Sit!'' to a female SDS parliament member. He never mentioned a member of SAB (Party of Alenka Bratušek, a member of ALDE) who said people on the right are vermin. Nor did he mention the leader of LMŠ party (which also belongs to ALDE) who announced recently on public TV that there are two types of journalists – the ones on the right and normal ones. There are excesses on both sides, but we could fill up 10 pages just writing about the ones on the left. Yet the Government and coalition members are not claiming – unlike Dr. Milosavljević – that an ever increasingly brutal rhetoric is something that’s being systemically nurtured in left-wing politics. Unlike Dr. Milosavljević, who bunches social media extremism together with nonevents (such as the public relations officer insulting a cultural worker, or a supposed phantom news agency, which doesn’t even exist and has absolutely no ties to the Government) and say that this is ''a sort of language we are getting used to in Slovenia'', with an undertone that this is somehow direct or indirect responsibility of the Government. As people familiar with Slovenian affairs know, a sharp divide (which also brings along occasional extremism on both sides of the political spectrum) is a well-established tradition in Slovenia and has been going on since time immemorial. Individuals trying to paint a picture that this is somehow connected to the transition of power last march are doing so as a tool of political activism. The current Government will always promote a message of tolerance, peace, and prosperity for all people.

Slovenska različica

Ministrstvo za kulturo RS se z izjavo za javnost odziva na razpravo o položaju medijev v Sloveniji, ki ga je 5. 3. 2021 organiziral Odbor za državljanske svoboščine, pravosodje in notranje zadeve Evropskega parlamenta, ki ga vodi nizozemska poslanka Sophie In't Veld (Renew Europe).
Slovenski udeleženci so bili Goran Forbici, direktor CNVOS, Petra Lesjak Tušek, predsednica Društva novinarjev Slovenije, Lenart J. Kučić, preiskovalni novinar (Pod črto), in dr. Marko Milosavljević, profesor novinarstva in medijskih politik na Fakulteti za družbene vede Univerze v Ljubljani.

Ker so zgoraj omenjeni povedali več neresničnosti, se ministrstvo odziva in zainteresiranim družbenim deležnikom pojasnjuje dejansko stanje in položaj medijev v Sloveniji. 

Preden preidemo na dejanske izjave, bi radi opozorili na nekatera dejstva.

Slovenski mediji so pretežno levi in ​​ostro protivladno usmerjeni, kar jasno kaže nedavna analiza medijev, ki jo je opravila Fakulteta za medije v Ljubljani. Tudi RTV Slovenija, ki bi morala biti že sama po sebi nevtralna, objavlja 41 odstotkov protivladnih člankov. Kot je nekoč že izpostavil ameriški veleposlanik v Sloveniji (in kot je izpostavil Wikileaks): ''Slovenija ima zelo odprto informacijsko okolje, v katerem je malo, če sploh, kaj cenzure. Mediji so kritični in se odločno odzivajo na morebitne poskuse vplivanja na smer poročanja. Kljub temu pogosto ne dosegajo novinarskih standardov profesionalnosti, saj v svojih zgodbah očitno mešajo dejstva in mnenja. Mediji kažejo tudi močno levo ali levosredinsko pristranskost.''

Tudi nekdanji premier (in kasneje predsednik Republike Slovenije) dr. Janez Drnovšek je izjavil, da so ''slovenski novinarji v 80. letih izkazovali protijugoslovansko, prozahodno držo, v modernem času pa so se obrnili za 180 stopinj proti jugonostalgiji.'' Za povprečnega Slovenca je razprava o tem, ali mediji kažejo znake samocenzure, očitno absurdna, zato je v Sloveniji nihče niti ne začenja, temveč jo raje izvozi v tujino, kjer ljudje slovenske medijske realnosti ne poznajo. Analiza medijev je prvič po nekaj letih empirično pokazala, da so slovenski mediji izrazito pristranski pri poročanju.

V nedavni razpravi v Evropskem parlamentu, v kateri so sodelovali slovenski udeleženci, so slednje prosili, naj ocenijo stopnjo samocenzure. Tudi razpravljavci so se strinjali, da je v slovenskem prostoru to težko oceniti.

Evropske poslanke in poslance vljudno vabimo, da iz slovenščine prevedejo tedenske izdaje vseh dnevnih časopisov ter večerne novice tako na največji komercialni televiziji kot tudi na javni radioteleviziji. Naslovi so vsak dan prepleteni z udarnimi protivladnimi naslovi. Nato si lahko ustvarijo svoje mnenje o tem, ali kdo v Sloveniji kaže nagnjenost k samocenzuri, ali še več, k cenzuri.

Poleg trditev o samocenzuri (ki so večinoma temeljile na anonimnih virih iz članka v Politicu) so udeleženci podali več trditev, ki so dejansko neresnične. Zaradi jasnosti in dolžine odziv omejujemo na izjave dr. Marka Milosavljevića, saj so tudi drugi slovenski udeleženci trdili podobne stvari. Izjav poslancev v evropskem parlamentu ne bomo komentirali, saj ne poznajo slovenske medijske krajine in se zanašajo na poročila iz Slovenije, ki pa so pogosto neresnična. Izpostavljamo naslednje izjave:

''Generalni direktor RTV Slovenija je bil dejansko zamenjan, preden mu je potekel mandat. Nihče ne ve, kaj se bo zgodilo po zamenjavi vodstva, pojavljajo se napovedi, da se bodo krčili kadri, takšno krčenje pa se lahko zlorabi za odstranjevanje kritičnih ljudi, kritičnih novinarjev.''

Igor Kadunc, sedanji generalni direktor RTV Slovenija, je dokončal mandat, preden je bil izvoljen novi generalni direktor Andrej Grah Whatmought. Novo vodstvo izhaja iz kvote liberalne stranke SMC, ki spada v evropsko družino ALDE in ni na noben način neposredno povezano s sedanjo vlado ali vladajočo stranko. Programski svet, ki izvoli generalnega direktorja, je novega kandidata izbral z veliko večino, celo ljudje, ki jih je prejšnja vlada postavila v programski svet, so glasovali za novega kandidata in proti Igorju Kaduncu, ki je kandidiral za ponovno izvolitev.

Dr. Milosavljević je storil podobno napako, ko je govoril o zamenjavah direktorjev nacionalnih muzejev, kar sicer nima nobene zveze z mediji kot takšnimi, a je očitno želel pokazati, kako so mediji in kultura nasploh v Sloveniji napadeni. Vlada ni zamenjala niti enega direktorja javnih muzejev. Novi kandidati so bili izbrani komaj tedaj, ko so prejšnji direktorji zaključili svoj mandat, kot veleva zakonodaja.

Prav tako ni res, da se pojavljajo napovedi o zmanjševanju števila zaposlenih na RTV Slovenija. Še več, aktualna vlada je RTV Slovenija lani namenila dodatne milijone, da bi lahko javna radiotelevizija med pandemijo covida-19 nemoteno delovala.

''Vlada je v zadnjem letu predlagala štiri zakone o medijih. Vsi ti štirje zakoni niso ponujali nobenih rešitev za slovenske medijske razmere. Še več, dodatno so ogrozili neodvisnost in vzdržnost slovenskega medijskega sistema.''

Trditve, da predlog nove medijske zakonodaje ne prinaša rešitev v slovenski medijski prostor in naj bi ga celo dodatno ogrožale, so neutemeljene. Še toliko bolj, ker je bil sam dr. Milosavljević v strokovni komisiji, ki je Ministrstvu za kulturo svetovala pri delu z zakonom o medijih v času mandata prejšnje vlade.

Rešitve, predlagane v novem zakonu o medijih, so sledile predlogu, ki ga je Ministrstvo za kulturo že pripravilo v prejšnji vladi, a je prejšnji premier odstopil, tik, preden se je začel zakonodajni postopek.

V času nove vlade je Ministrstvo za kulturo nadaljevalo z delom na obstoječem osnutku, saj so bile rešitve že strokovno usklajene, pri čemer je kot predstavnik stroke sodeloval tudi dr. Milosavljević!

Posodobljeni predlog je ohranil več kot 90 % prvotnega zakonskega predloga. Strokovnjaki s področja medijev in založniki medijev niso nasprotovali predlaganim rešitvam, kot so: nova definicija medijev, posodobljena definicija javnega interesa, sistem finančne podpore medijem, posodobljeni razvid medijev, pravica do popravka, omejitve lastništva in prepoved koncentracije v medijih, status programov posebnega pomena, deleži slovenske glasbe, obvezen prenos programov s strani operaterjev in druge rešitve.

Nikakor torej ne drži, da naš zakon o medijih ne ponuja rešitev za slovenski medijski prostor. Novela odpravlja številne birokratske ovire in pretirano regulacijo, saj stremi k večji svobodi medijev pri urejanju lastnega programa in vsebine. Zakon je zasnovan tako, da medijsko krajino prilagodi sodobni digitalni resničnosti.

''Ministrstvo za kulturo je civilni družbi in zainteresiranim stanovskim združenjem ponudilo le en teden, da se odzove, kar je v nasprotju s praksami v EU. Vlada je dodatna meseca javne razprave zagotovila šele po pritisku javnosti.''

Trditev ne drži. Podaljšanje ni imelo nobene zveze s pritiskom javnosti. Ministrstvo za kulturo je večkrat pojasnilo, da je v sistemu, ki predlagane zakone naloži na strežnik za javno razpravo, prišlo do birokratsko-tehnične napake. To smo odpravili, javna razprava pa je trajala dva meseca, kar je bil namen predlagalca zakona od vsega začetka.

''Ključno vprašanje zakona o javni radioteleviziji je bil poskus vlade, ki javni radioteleviziji odvzame več deset milijonov evrov in jih da nedoločenim, nedefiniranim zasebnim medijem, odločitev o tem pa bi bila večinoma v rokah ministra kulture. Obstajajo poslanci v parlamentu, ki imajo v lasti zasebne medije medije in zdi se, da so v neposrednem navzkrižju interesov, ko se odloča o dodelitvi javnega denarja zasebnim medijem, katerih dejanski lastniki so.''

Res je, da novela zakona o medijih predlaga drugačen sistem prerazporeditve RTV-prispevka, tako, da bi bilo po novi ureditvi 5 % RTV prispevka namenjenih medijem. Kljub temu je bilo to storjeno izključno za posodobitev in racionalizacijo RTV Slovenija, pa tudi za zagotavljanje več sredstev ostalim medijem, ki jih je močno prizadela ne le epidemija koronavirusa, temveč tudi spreminjajoče navade konzumiranja informacij.

Mediji, ki bodo prejeli omenjena sredstva, so vse prej kot ''nedoločeni in nespecifični''. V resnici prejmejo mediji sredstva že prek medijskega razpisa. Še lani se je na ta način (večinoma levičarskim) medijem razdelilo 2,7 milijona evrov. Pravila in predpisi v zvezi z medijskim razpisom bodo ostala po novi ureditvi nespremenjena, posebna komisija za medije na ministrstvu za kulturo bo medije ocenjevala glede na njihov pomen za regionalne skupnosti in številne druge dejavnike, ki so zelo natančno opredeljeni v Zakonu o medijih in pravilnikih. Zato trditev dr. Milosavljevića, da bi bila ''odločitev o dodelitvi 5 % RTV naročnine večinoma v rokah ministra za kulturo'' ne drži.

Razlika je le v viru financiranja, do zdaj je bil vir državni proračun. Noveli Zakona o RTV in Zakona o medijih pa predvidevata, da se bodo sredstva za medijski razpis zdaj črpala iz majhnega odstotka TV prispevka. Seveda bomo RTV Sloveniji povrnili izgubo dohodka, če tega ne storimo, bo ustavno sodišče zakon razveljavilo.

Ustavno sodišče je že razpravljalo o zakonu, ki je bil podoben noveli Zakona o medijih, podoben zakon je namreč leta 2001 sprejela leva vlada Janeza Drnovška. Tedanji zakon je, podobno kot današnja novela, želel prerazporediti del RTV naročnine za financiranje drugih medijev. Le da takrat leve vlade nihče ni obtoževal, da želi uničiti nacionalno televizijo. Kljub temu je RTV vložila postopek za sodno presojo ustavnosti omenjenega zakona in trdila, da zakon krši njihovo finančno neodvisnost, kar posredno pomeni kršitev njihove uredniške neodvisnosti. Ustavno sodišče se je strinjalo in zakon razveljavilo, in sicer z očitkom, da zakonodajalec ni dovolj dobro ocenil, ali bi zmanjšanje prispevka RTV vplivalo na finančno neodvisnost RTV, torej ali bo poseg v financiranje RTV posegel v finančno neodvisnost RTV. Tudi nov predlagani Zakon o medijih se bo soočil z ustavno presojo in bo razveljavljen, če vlada ne uspe dokazati, da financiranje RTV ne bo oviralo njene neodvisnosti.

Prepričani smo, da bo zdržal preizkus sodnega nadzora in bomo lahko dokazali, da bo RTV lahko ustrezno nadomestila izgubljene dohodke. Za to smo predlagali več ukrepov. RTV bomo omogočili, da letno ustvari vsaj 11 milijonov evrov več z dodelitvijo več oglaševalskih pravic. Doslej so bili namreč nepravično omejeni, saj je zakon RTV Slovenija omejeval število oglasnih minut, komercialni ponudniki pa niso bili podvrženi takšnim omejitvam (posledično danes zasebni izdajatelji televizijskih programov obvladujejo 80 % prihodkov iz oglaševanja). Več prostora  za oglase bo RTV Slovenija namenil nastajajoči Zakon o avdiovizualnih medijskih storitvah (ZAvMS), ki nastaja paralelno s tremi medijskimi zakoni.

Bistvo je naslednje: če vlada ne bi zmogla dokazati, da lahko RTV Slovenija ustrezno kompenzira izgubljeni dohodek, bo zakon o medijih razveljavljen. Distopični scenariji torej niso mogoči.

''Glavna težava Zakona o Slovenski tiskovni agenciji (STA) je ta, da je vlada skušala doseči neposredni nadzor nad tiskovno agencijo pri imenovanju ključnih vodstvenih kadrov.''

Tudi ta trditev dr. Milosavljevića ne drži. Po trenutni ureditvi je nemogoče imeti ''neposredni'' nadzor nad tiskovno agencijo. Vlada je res imela dejanski neposredni nadzor nad Slovensko tiskovno agencijo do sprejetja veljavnega zakona o STA leta 2011, saj je bila pred tem agencija le sestavni del vladnega Urada za komuniciranje (UKOM-a). Po sprejetju zakona je agencija postala samostojna, podobno kot državna podjetja, vendar jo še vedno delno financira tudi UKOM. Vendar je treba izpostaviti, da so bili vzpostavljeni robustni ukrepi, da bi STA ostala čimbolj neodvisna.

Spremembe agencije so manjše in nimajo nobenega neposrednega vpliva na imenovanje vodstvenega kadra. Glavna predlagana sprememba je le, da je po novi ureditvi vlada na predlog ministra za kulturo  organ za imenovanja nadzornega sveta agencije. Do zdaj je bil nadzorni svet prav tako imenovan politično, saj je bil v pristojnosti Državnega zbora (tj. političnih strank v parlamentu). Nadzorni svet vrši le finančni nadzor nad agencijo in nima nobenega vpliva na uredniško politiko agencije.

''Poskušali so uničiti vse kritične medije, ki niso bili blizu vladi. Poskušali so razbiti programske radijske mreže komercialnih radijev. Iz osnovnih paketov kabelskih operaterjev so poskušali izločiti programe večjih komercialnih televizijskih ponudnikov in jim tako vzeti več deset milijonov evrov letnega dohodka. Vse to vzbuja občutek, da gre za poskus kaznovanja neposlušnih medijev.''

Trditve, da vlada poskuša uničiti neposlušne medije niso podprte z dejstvi.

Na zgoraj omenjenem medijskem razpisu leta 2020 je Ministrstvo za kulturo medijem namenilo 2.670.000 evrov, ministrstvo je skupaj podprlo projekte 67 založnikov medijev. Tudi mediji, znani po svojih levih svetovnih nazorih, kot so Večer, Delo, Mladina, Radio Študent in Dnevnik, so bili deležni sredstev iz medijskega razpisa.

Leta 2021 bo ministrstvo za letošnji medijski razpis znova namenilo 2.670.000 evrov. Postopek izbire in odločanja o financiranju še vedno poteka.

Na začetku epidemije je Ministrstvo za kulturo začelo pripravljati posamezne ukrepe za ublažitev posledic epidemije. Tako so bile regionalne televizije, ki oddajajo prek signala DVB od razglasitve  epidemije oproščene plačila pristojbine za distribucijo storitev televizijskega signala. Regionalne televizije in radijske postaje so bile oproščene tudi plačila frekvenčne pristojbine, plačane Agenciji za komunikacijska omrežja in storitve (AKOS).

Poleg tega je treba opozoriti, da so medijski založniki v večini primerov zasebna podjetja. Zato so bili deležni intervencijskih sredstev, namenjenih okrevanju in pomoči gospodarstvu med pandemijo koronavirusne bolezni in po njej. Na ta način je bilo različnim zasebnim medijem že namenjenih več deset milijonov evrov, večina teh protivladno usmerjenih.

Drži, da smo z zakonom skušali prepovedati programske radijske mreže, vendar je bilo to storjeno na podlagi predlogov stroke in manjših radijskih postaj, ki niso mogle več preživeti, saj so jih ogrožali trije radijski tajkuni, ki upravljajo s programskimi mrežami povezanih radijskih postaj. Predlogi za prepoved ali spremembo tovrstnih programskih mrež trajajo že leta in mnogi strokovnjaki za medije so predlagali spremembe na tem področju, saj je trenutno stanje nevzdržno in vodi do resnih težav z medijsko koncentracijo. Sprememba zakonske ureditve torej nima nič skupnega z »uničevanjem neposlušnih medijev«. Vlada je le želela prisluhniti potrebam manjših radijskih postaj, ki ne morejo preživeti v okolju, kjer veliki igralci povezujejo manjše regionalne radijske postaje v velike povezane mreže, saj enostavno nisi konkurenčni pri trženju oglaševalskega prostora.

Prav tako drži, da programi velikih komercialnih TV ponudnikov ne bodo več del osnovnih programskih paketov operaterjev IPTV. A to ni nov predlog. Enak člen je predvidevala že različica zakona, ki ga je pripravljala prejšnja vlada. Trenutna vlada je člen obdržala, saj meni, da bi morali imeti uporabniki IPTV pravico, da sami izberejo, katere programe želijo v svojih osnovnih programskih shemah. V tem trenutku je dejansko stanje takšno, da so štirje glavni operaterji, ki ponujajo IPTV ustanovili neformalni kartel z največjo komercialno TV postajo (Pro Plus), kar  potrošnike sili, da plačujejo za kanale Pro Plus tudi, če se odločijo za osnovni televizijski paket. Osupli smo, da gospod Milosavljević to dojema kot poskus ''uničenja kritičnih medijev'', saj je rešitev prvič predlagala prejšnja vlada, prav tako pa so  medijski strokovnjaki skoraj soglasni, da trenutno stanje, v katerem Pro Plus lahko uveljavlja lastne programe v osnovnih shemah operaterjev IPTV, škoduje potrošnikom in onemogoča konkurenco.

''Imamo nekaj politično povezanih akterjev, ki poskušajo pridobiti nadzor nad slovenskimi mediji. V preteklem letu je bila glavna komercialna televizijska postaja prodana madžarskim vlagateljem iz krogov Viktorja Orbana.''

Dr. Milosavljević govori o postaji Planet TV, ki je pripadala državnemu Telekomu Slovenije in je bila od takrat prodana madžarskim vlagateljem. Dr. Milosavljević pa ne omeni, da je Planet TV za Telekom Slovenije predstavljal veliko finančno breme in bi bil kmalu prodan ne glede na to, kdo bi bil na oblasti. Telekom Slovenije  je gospodarska družba in seveda nima interesa držati naložbe, ki negativno vplivajo na poslovne izide. Zasebni vlagatelji so za Planet TV ponudili najvišjo ceno za nakup. Od takrat Planet TV ni postala nič bolj pro- ali protivladna, pravzaprav je hvaljena kot ena izmed politično bolj zmernih in uravnoteženih medijskih hiš, brez navijaštva v eno ali drugo smer.

Pomembno je še poudariti, da vse madžarske naložbe v slovenske medije predstavljajo manj kot 1 odstotek medijske krajine. Na primer, zasebna komercialna TV postaja Pop TV (ki pripada medijski hiši Pro Plus) in  javna RTV Slovenija imata več kot 10-krat višjo gledanost od Planet TV. To je pomembna opazka, saj bi cenjeni poslanci v evropskem parlamentu glede na hiperboliko dr. Milosavljevića morda pomislili, da Madžari prevzemajo slovenske medije. Dr. Milosavljević trdi, da je zelo težko podati oceno, kolikšen del medijske krajine je v lasti madžarskih vlagateljev, saj je lastništvo zelo pogosto skrito. To ne drži. Vse madžarske naložbe v Sloveniji so pregledne in jih je enostavno oceniti. Obstajata le dve televizijski postaji v lasti zasebnih vlagateljev iz Madžarske - Nova24TV in Planet TV, obe postaji imata veliko manjšo gledanost v primerjavi z velikimi igralci (Pop TV, A Kanal, RTV Slovenija). Dr. Milosavljević govori tudi o osemnajstih spletnih mestih, ki so v lasti Madžarov. Zdi se, da govori o regionalnih spletnih portalih, a ti prav tako ustvarjajo minorni medmrežni promet v primerjavi z uveljavljenimi spletnimi portali. Ocena strokovnjakov je, da te spletne strani skupaj ne dosegajo niti Nova24TV, ki je tudi sama po sebi relativno majhen medij.

''Vlada je med drugim za levičarske medije označila: New York Times, Der Spiegel, Bloomberg, Economist, The Guardian, Die Welt, Kleine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung in številne druge medije. Vrednote te vlade so skrajno desne, zato se jim zdi, da so vsi ostali levo usmerjeni.''

Vlada nobenega od naštetih ni obtožila, da je levičarski medij. Nekaterim omenjenim je poslala zahtevo za popravek netočnosti njihovih člankov, vendar vedno na podlagi dejanskih napak, ki so jih tuji mediji tiskali na podlagi poročil slovenskih političnih aktivistov, ne da bi preverili informacije.

Süddeutsche Zeitung je na primer trdil, da je vlada ukinila financiranje radijske postaje Radio Študent, ker je bila protivladno usmerjena. V resnici je Radio Študent lani prejel skoraj 400.000 evrov javnih sredstev. Na koncu je celo Radio Študent stopil v stik z vlado, da pove, da nimajo s člankom nič in da je trditev netočna. Vlada je mnenja, da je treba ob takšnih napačnih informacijah pošiljati popravke. Nikakor pa to ne pomeni, da vlada vse medije, ki so jih zavedli slovenski politični aktivisti označuje za levičarske.

''Člani vlade, ugledni člani stranke ali novinarji, ki jih nadzoruje vodilna stranka, so v zadnjem letu ali v zadnjih dveh letih tvitali ali objavili v svojih medijih ali javno objavili ali izrekli vrsto neprimernih izjav. Izrečene so bile rasistične, seksistične in druge oblike sovražnega govora. Imamo urednike, imamo politike, ki na primer trdijo, da je bil holokavst ponaredek, da v holokavstu ni bilo ubitih šest milijonov Judov, vse pa je izmislil New York Times.''

Noben član vlade ali član stranke Slovenske demokratske stranke (SDS) ni nikoli izrekel ali objavil česar koli v zvezi z rasizmom, seksizmom, sovražnim govorom ali trdil, da se holokavst ni zgodil ali da ni res, da je umrlo 6 milijonov ljudi.

V reviji Demokracija je bil objavljen EN sam satiričen članek, ki so ga nekateri ocenili kot rasističnega, vendar ga je stranka SDS odločno obsodila in se distancirala od kakršne koli oblike rasne, verske ali druge oblike diskriminacije.

''Na Ministrstvu za kulturo imamo uslužbenca za stike z javnostmi, ki je na vprašanje umetnice rekel: Kaj bi še radi vedeli, velikost mojega penisa?''

Ne drži. Dogodek, ki ga dr. Milosavljević poskuša zlorabiti v tem primeru se je zgodil, še preden je bila vlada Janeza Janše sploh sestavljena. Svetovalec za stike z javnostmi, ki takrat ni imel nobene povezave z vlado, je to povedal kot sarkastičen odziv na tviterju, potem ko mu je anonimna uporabnica postavila precej absurdno vprašanje, razprava sama pa ni imela nič s kulturo. Šlo je za zasebno izmenjavo na družbenih omrežjih med dvema zasebnima uporabnikoma. Odziv je bil mišljen kot sarkazem, ki se v prevodu pogosto izgubi. Če nekdo to želi predstaviti kot dokaz, kako vlada ravna z mediji in civilno družbo, je to velik cinizem. Vsako vprašanje, ki ga novinarji postavijo, je pravočasno odgovorjeno v skladu z zakonskim rokom (kot to določa Zakon o medijih), vljudno in prijazno, kar je potrdil gospod Kučić, ki je tudi sodeloval na razpravi.

''Videli smo tvite ljudi, ki so blizu vladi in ustanavljajo alternativno tiskovno agencijo, češ če ženska reče ne, ali v resnici misli da?''

Vlada s tem projektom nima nič. Posamezniki, ki so poskušali ustanoviti to domnevno agencijo, nimajo nobenih povezav z vlado. Domnevna agencija niti ni vpisana v razvid medijev, ne dobiva državne pomoči, prav tako je ni noben politik, ki bi bil član vlade, nikoli javno podprl.

''Če končamo z diplomatskim jezikom, je to nekakšen jezik, ki se ga navajamo tu v Sloveniji.''

Dejansko je raven dostojnosti razprav v zadnjem desetletju močno padla zaradi skrajnosti na obeh straneh političnega spektra, vendar to nima nobene veze z aktualno vlado. Vlada odločno obsoja rasizem, seksizem, neenakopravno obravnavanje starejših, zanikanje holokavsta ali kakršnokoli drugo obliko nestrpnosti. Slika, ki jo riše dr. Milosavljević tako, da v eno homogeno celoto združuje uporabnike tviterja, novinarje in politike,  je čisto zavajanje. Res je, na obeh straneh političnega spektra so skrajnosti. A dr. Milosavljević npr. nikoli ni omenil vojske trolov na levi, ki kristjanom grozijo, da ''jih bodo klali kot so jih leta 1945.'' Nikoli ni omenil levega mestnega svetnika iz Ljubljane, ki je SDS-ovi poslanki tvitnil: ''Kuzla! K nogi!''. Nikoli ni omenil člana SAB (Stranke Alenke Bratušek, članice ALDE), ki je dejal, da so ljudje na desni golazen. Prav tako ni omenil vodje stranke LMŠ (ki prav tako pripada ALDE), ki je pred kratkim na javni televiziji med vrsticami sporočil, da obstajata dve vrsti novinarjev, tisti na desni in normalni novinarji. Ekstremi so na obeh straneh, a bi lahko zapolnili 10 strani samo z zapisi tistih z leve. Toda vlada in člani koalicije, v nasprotju z dr. Milosavljevićem, ne trdijo, da je vedno bolj brutalna retorika sistemski problem levih politikov. Za razliko od dr. Milosavljevića, ki skuša ekstremizem na družabnih omrežjih združiti s primeri, ki po temeljitem pregledu sploh ne držijo v kontekstu izrečenega (na primer uslužbenec za odnose z javnostmi, ki žali kulturnega delavca, ali domnevno fantomsko tiskovno agencijo, ki sploh ne obstaja in ni povezana z vlado) ter na podlagi tega pavšalno zaključi, da je to ''retorika, ki se je navajamo v Sloveniji'', s podtonom, da je to nekako neposredna ali posredna odgovornost vlade in vladajočih politikov. Poznavalci slovenskih razmer razumejo, da je oster razkol (ki rodi tudi občasni ekstremizem na obeh straneh političnega spektra) v Sloveniji že del folklore in traja že od nekdaj, saj je slovensko volilno telo že vse od osamosvojitve globoko polarizirano. Posamezniki, ki poskušajo namigovati, da je to povezano s prehodom vlade, to počnejo zaradi političnega aktivizma. Trenutna vlada bo vedno spodbujala strpnost, mir in blaginjo za vse ljudi.