With their coverage on Tuesday’s news, the public media outlet RTV Slovenija and POP TV practically competed over who would be more effective in the portrayal the Prime Minister Janez Janša as the main culprit for the division among Slovenians. The opposing side was put at the forefront of the story, as they were supposedly the “tolerant” ones, even though they decided to organize an anti-ceremony, with the intention of disrupting the central celebration in the Congress Square. As the biggest problem, they highlighted the fact that there would be no flag-bearers of the veterans’ organizations present at the ceremony. Of course, they once again forgot to mention the real reason why.
“As we get closer to Statehood Day, the national celebration, which will take place tomorrow evening at Kongresni trg in Ljubljana, seems to be creating a growing divide. Due to the actions of the government, several guests have decided they will not attend the celebration. Among others, the former Prime Minister Marjan Šarec has also announced that he will not be attending the ceremony. The representatives of the Levica party will also not attend. The Working Group of Culture Workers has also called for a boycott of the ceremony, as they are preparing their own celebration for Wednesday evening, which will happen close by. It was recently announced that the main ceremony will not include the flag-bearers of the veterans’ organizations, so they will instead gather at an event in Trzin tomorrow,” is what we heard in Tuesday’s news on the national media outlet.
Janša emphasized that representatives of all veterans’ organizations were invited
If the national media outlet would have at least tried to be neutral in their reports, they should have also mentioned that the current decree on the temporary general restriction on gatherings in public places and spaces in the Republic of Slovenia states that gatherings of up to 500 people are allowed only under special circumstances. Given that there are 200 performers, it seems only right to limit the number of other attendees at the ceremony. And in light of the approaching second wave of the novel coronavirus, it is undoubtedly completely irresponsible to think that more people should gather at the celebration. However, as the SD party was trying to blame Janez Janša for being divisive, the Prime Minister decided to write the truth in a post on Twitter: “The representatives of ALL veterans’ organizations from the time of the war for independence are invited to the national celebration on Statehood Day, despite the restrictive measures due to the coronavirus, and the consequently smaller number of attendees. And everyone is welcome.”
Further, the national media outlet then spoke about the exclusionary statements of Luka Mesec and Marjan Šarec, who both said they would not be attending the ceremony. They also highlighted the message from the Working Group of Culture Workers, who called for a boycott of the state celebration and invited everyone to their own ceremony. “The Working Group denied the allegations that they are trying to obstruct the central ceremony.” With this, they, of course, tried to create the impression that the leftists and the culture workers would not be attending the ceremony because they disagree with Janez Janša’s alleged “exclusionism.” At the same time, of course, they once again “forgot” to consider the fact that, by rejecting the invitation, they showed that they are the ones being exclusionist. Still, it should be noted that in light of the approaching second wave of the novel coronavirus, one would expect the journalists of the national media outlet to behave responsibly – when they reported on the culture workers’ calls for attending the anti-ceremony, they should have warned the viewers that the celebration on Prešeren square would pose a serious threat. Of course, expecting something like this is, once again, too much, because the national media outlet does not like the current government.
Janša would not oppose to an alternative celebration
On POP TV, they began their reporting on the matter with the following statement: “Many culture figures are regularly attending Friday’s protests, as they are dissatisfied with the government’s attitude towards culture. These cultural workers will not be attending the official ceremony. However, other famous singers will perform. Ana Soklič, Darja Gajšek, Oto Pestner, and others.” Then, they showed the screenshot of the Prime Minister’s tweet, in which he wrote: “Asking people to attend an anti-ceremony on Statehood Day is inadmissible, reprehensible, and beyond anything we associate with the words “normality” or “civilization.” I hope that the organizers of the anti-ceremony will change their minds before Wednesday.”
If the journalists from POP TV had actually bothered to watch the show A Conversation with the Prime Minister (Pogovor s predsednikom vlade), they could have stated, in light of neutral reporting – if they are even interested in it, at all – that among other things, Janša emphasized that he would not mind if the protesters would have prepared their own ceremony in their own way, with their own culture, with ways of expressing that are close to them, under the common symbol – the Slovenian flag. If that were the case, he could have simply said: “Hats off to you! We do not agree with these ideas, but we are all celebrating the thing that we all have in common, together. But instead, they decided to organize an anti-ceremony. Thousands of leaflets have already been distributed on Friday, calling for the people to attend the so-called anti-ceremony, which is supposed to disrupt the national ceremony,” Janša explained. But, of course, the journalists at POP TV did not want to talk about this, since then, Janša would not have been the one who is exclusive, but instead, it would have been the protesters.
Tea Jarc does not care about the risk
The co-organizer of the anti-ceremony, Tea Jarc, also expressed her anger with the government and the Prime Minister. “I think that what the Prime Minister is doing is inadmissible and reprehensible; ever since he took office, he has been exploiting the state of emergency for his own interests, corruption insulting both journalists and the general public. He cut the funding for the NGOs; he is hurting nature. I would say that it is his actions, more than ours, that are inadmissible and reprehensible. The fact that we invited people to come join us at the celebration on Prešeren’s Square is a sign that perhaps, we want our country to be slightly different. If the elections were announced immediately, that would have been a sign of democracy. That would mean that the people decide, that is an element of democracy. At the alternative celebration, where there will also be music, we are inclusive. We are inviting everyone to come, to face each other, and present different views, so everyone can say what they think and say what they are against.” With this statement, Jarec basically explained why she is protesting. It is obvious that she is very upset that Janša stopped the non-governmental organizations that are latched on to the state budget, and only serve themselves. She is desperate for the elections and a new left-wing government, as those are very much in favour of the non-governmental organizations.
“I am not free if the police stop me while I am just there, on the street, and they assume that I am about to commit a crime. I am not free if I cannot go to Republic Square and protest. I am not free if I am not allowed to carry a banner with my message on it, if it is then seized by the police, I am not free if the police literally drag protesters out of the public space. The rights of the people, the ability to express a different opinion, is being violated,” Jarec added. Clearly, however, the radical leftists are unable or unwilling to realize that the use of violence in the protests, which are illegal, is not acceptable. It is also not acceptable to write death threats to someone just because you do not like them. And when it comes to her claims that the protesters do not have the right to free speech – this is not even worth getting into. After all, they continue to gather for protests every Friday, where they shout death threats.
One would expect Statehood Day to be a holiday that will unite all Slovenians, but instead, it is once again a divisive event. Despite the fact that the mainstream media are trying to portray Janša as the main culprit for this, it is clear that the left is to blame, along with the pro-left media and the organizers of the anti-ceremony, who do not care about the impending danger of the second wave of the infection. As Janša said in an interview on Nova24TV: “If everyone was informed about the actual state of things, as they are, regardless of which media outlet they follow, Slovenia would flourish. The most important things are withheld, fake scandals are created, which poisons the public atmosphere in Slovenia, and prevents energy from being directed towards achieving the dreams related to our independence.”