Those who watched Wednesday’s news show 24UR, could not help but be surprised by Petra Kerčmar’s hostility – similar to that of Uroš Slak – which she showed when the Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs came on the show as a guest. But it soon became obvious that cutting the Minister off mid-sentence and trying to pass false statements as the truth, even though they were never even uttered, was not a good recipe for trying to make the Minister look bad, as he answered all of the questions calmly and concisely, from beginning to the end.
When Kerčmar asked Hojs if he will accept the Secretary’s resignation, he answered: “Most likely, yes. First, I just want to check how and in what way the police acted. I believe that they acted correctly, just like they would with every other citizen. However, I expect that, given that this is such an important topic in your most important show, this will become a standard for the future. We had seen cases, which you are probably well aware of, when drunk mayors were evading the police and running away from them. Mr. Breznik did none of this. As far as I know, he did exactly what he was told to do by the police. There is nothing to complain about in that aspect,” Hojs said, adding that he is very disappointed that this had happened. According to Hojs, Breznik was an exceptional coworker, sometimes working as many as 16 hours a day. “As you can see, he also explained how this happened. So, he was arranging for sponsorships and donations for Caritas and the Red Cross, so I must say I am very sorry that this had happened.”
Kerčmar, who tried to interrupt Hojs while he was still answering the first question, added that resignation was really the only viable option in this situation, and then insinuated that Hojs stated, earlier in the day, that Breznik’s resignation is not really necessary. “However, what happened during the day, when we first spoke with Mr. Breznik, he said that there is no reason to resign, and then we spoke to you; you said that there were not enough violations for a dismissal. But then, half an hour ago, a complete turnaround. So, did you get a call during this time, or did you figure out that the political consequences of this were too severe?” Kerčmar asked Hojs.
Hojs told her that he only now heard what she claims were his statements, as he did not actually say what she claims he said. Kerčmar, of course, responded immediately, letting Hojs know that he supposedly said this in an interview with a POP TV reporter. “No, in an interview with your reporter, I said that I did not yet know the full story and would first have to speak with Mr. Breznik.,” he pointed out. “Breznik did not answer at first, but he called me later and said that he first called your reporters, who contacted him. Please do not try to paint your claims as the truth. I have never said that this is not the kind of violation that would require a resignation. However, I did say that in any case, I would first like to resolve the matter and see how the police acted. Had Breznik not offered his resignation, I myself would have asked him to resign.”
To believe that the information would not come out eventually, is foolish
When asked if he really found out about the matter on Wednesday, after fourteen days had passed, Hojs replied that he was also wondering why he was not made aware of it sooner. “In the last two weeks, Mr. Breznik and I have not seen each other had all. As you know, there was a national holiday, and so on Monday, there was no meeting of the board at our Ministry. Breznik explained that he intended to tell me about the matter on Friday when the regular meeting was scheduled for all the Secretaries of State and the directors. So I found out after they called me,” Hojs answered. Kerčmar then asked if, had they not obtained the information themselves, the information would have never even come out, and Breznik would have remained in office? Hojs remained composed and pointed out that sooner or later, the information would have come out. “To believe that this information would not have come out eventually is, in my opinion, foolish. As soon as a matter is being processed by the police, and is in the records, especially if someone was driving too fast, or was under the influence, the information would have come out sooner or later. But it appears that the journalists can access this information sooner than the Minister can.”
Of course, Kerčmar also had to mention the footage that was recorded during the visit to Črnomelj. “What kind of example are you setting, in the Črnomelj footage, where you were not maintaining social distance? You were walking together, side by side.” Even with this question, Hojs continued in his calm tone, pointing out that it was a shame that they did not record themselves, their cameramen and reporters as well, as they were also standing side by side during the visit. “I find it inappropriate to nitpick when the point of our visit there was to present the importance of the work of both the police and the army and, at the same time, not put your own house in order first.”
When Kerčmar realized that the Minister was making a lot of sense, she hysterically tried to cut him off, saying: “Still, you are the high-ranking officials. You adopt the decrees we must all follow.” Hojs quickly answered: “Mrs. Kerčmar, if you’ll let me, I’ll answer. I realize that in this outing, we might have stood to close. Only 0.8 meters apart, not 1.5 meters apart, but we were outside, in the fresh air. Truth be told, at the moment, no one thought that the reporters would problematize something that, in my opinion, did not need to be problematized.”
Hojs also made it clear that he agrees that they should have kept the proper social distance and assures her that they would fix this next time. “I do not think that this should be a sensational topic, especially since the citizens are behaving diligently and maturely during this time.” “But it sends the wrong message,” Kerčmar insisted. Hojs, very calmly, responded with, “That is true.” However, it is interesting to note how, once again, the people pointing the finger are also maintaining the proper distance. Does the rule not apply to news anchors?!