They must face the music: Dr Zimmermann is suing Eugenija Carl and RTV for several million euros due to nasty lies, but Slovenian citizens will be the ones to pick up the bill

Eugenija Carl (Foto: Facebook/Eugenija Carl)

In the past, Nova24TV often reported on the incredible influence of three RTV journalists on the work of the Slovenian national broadcaster – Mojca Pašek Šetinc, Eugenija Carl, and Jelena Aščić. Among subordinates, but also in the media, they have acquired the nickname “Mujahideen”. Požareport has already revealed their strategy: First they “hit” on social networks, which is followed by slander in corridors and offices of the RTVS building. Then the “kindred media” become involved, such as Mladina, Večer, and Dnevnik, and finally the matter is taken up by the RTVS leadership. In this way, the Mujahideen got rid of Igor Pirkovič. However, the Mujahideen do not operate any differently when they want to deal with someone outside the Televizija Slovenija broadcasting organisation. The most notorious example is perhaps the lengthy media persecution against renowned vascular surgeon Dr Janez Zimmermann, who has been a thorn in the side of the Slovenian establishment for a long time because he performs different surgical procedures than others, which is also why he moved to Italy. In the past year, the national broadcaster directed a true media horror series since it produced 30 television broadcasts in which it scared its viewers to death about surgical procedures abroad, claiming that it is better to have them done in Slovenia.

The frontman of this lying left-wing mouthpiece has always been journalist Eugenija Carl, who attacked Zimmermann with a series of lies, untruths, and insults, which was later also confirmed at the arbitration court of the Medical Chamber of Slovenia and the Local Court in Ljubljana. But do not worry, she will have to pay the price. Zimmermann brought an action for damages amounting to several million euros against RTV, and he is also suing Carl for several hundred thousand euros. According to experts, the vascular surgeon is so convinced of his victory that he has been preparing the lawsuit for several months and spent a large sum of money on lawyers. It is not controversial that Zimmermann wants to clear his name after the scandalous reporting of the national broadcaster, but it is problematic that all the lawsuits RTV loses will end up being paid for by Slovenian taxpayers, who are literally forced into paying a contribution for RTV.

Carl lies that Slovenian doctors have to fix Zimmerman’s blunders – in reality, he saves limbs which our doctors would simply cut off
Reliable sources have told us that there were instances in Trieste when patients came to Dr Janez Zimmermann with doctor’s notes for amputations from Slovenian doctors, but the surgeon managed to save their limbs with his technique. It is true that pictures of legs after an operation can be very worrying at first sight, and Eugenija Carl exploited this by photographing a patient with such a leg and then created a sensationalised and insulting report on Zimmermann, calling him a quack and even misrepresenting his professional competencies.

Zimmermann was subjected to such slander on Televizija Slovenija for several months – in reports by Eugenija Carl and host Jelena Aščić – and the green light for all this had been given by Mojca Pašek Šetinc, the editor of daily news programmes at Televizija Slovenija. Our information suggests that this was all prompted by an orchestrated construct of Slovenian surgeons, who are losing patients to Zimmermann, as well as Slovenian insurance companies, which are obliged to refund the cost of a surgery if a patient decides to undergo it abroad, skipping the long lines they would face in Slovenia.

RTV simply denied all professional competencies of renowned surgeon with 40 years of experience
The lies that were spread at Televizija Slovenija for several months are unbelievable. Jelena Ašič announced Eugenija’s reports on Dr Zimmermann with such shocking phrases as: “due to quack procedures”, “yesterday’s disclosure by our television station”, “mass operations”, “systematically exploits unsuspecting patients and takes their money”, “scandal”. For example, RTV reported that a health insurance company had to pay private doctor Zimmermann for varicose vein surgeries. In truth, the insurance company did not pay Zimmermann but refunded the money to his patients, as it does in the case of all other patients that have outpatient surgeries outside Slovenia. The complete misleading of viewers at RTV was also confirmed by the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia, which explicitly stressed in a letter that it did not conduct any transactions with the vascular surgeon.

Patient outraged because Carl published a picture of her leg without her consent and lied about her health – she went to the police
The national broadcaster kept repeating its coverage of Zimmermann, Aščić often announced Carl’s lies as “our discoveries” and “an uncovered scandal”, and they both talked about Zimmermann as a systematic exploiter who carries out quack procedures. The most telling example of fake news at RTV was perhaps Eugenija Carl’s first report on Zimmermann, when she managed to fit five lies into one sentence. She reported that “two days after the surgery, there was a serious postoperative complication, and the patient came to Slovenian doctors in shock, with sepsis, and a high fever”. This report started the whole affair concerning Dr Zimmermann, which lasted for eight months.

What Carl and Aščić failed to reveal in their reports was what followed. The patient soon discovered that the journalist used a picture of her leg during the evening news on 25 May 2016, which she had never authorised. The patient was outraged because Carl had misrepresented her health, and the very next day she asked Carl for an explanation, but the notorious journalist did not let up, trying to convince the patient that she is not aware of how threatened her life is at Dr Zimmermann’s. As proof that Carl had published lies, the patient wrote a statement in the presence of Dr Zimmermann’s lawyer and also confirmed this at a hearing in front of the police.

Local Court in Ljubljana confirmed that the coverage at RTV had contained unlawful and intolerable insults
RTV also failed to mention that Dr Zimmermann, via his authorised representative, had already received an interim order of the Local Court in Ljubljana on 14 November 2016 (Case Z 260/2016 of 8 November 2016). In the aforementioned order, the court found that the reporting of RTV Slovenija on Dr Zimmermann in some parts contained “objective insults that are unlawful and unacceptable” and also raised doubts with regards to the truthfulness of Eugenija Carl’s statements about the work and medical practice of Dr Zimmermann.

On 26 January, Dr Zimmermann, via his authorised representative, also received an order of the arbitration court of the Medical Chamber of Slovenia of 12 January 2017. The court decided that the proposal for preparatory proceedings against Dr Zimmermann, which had been made by a prosecutor of the Medical Chamber on 14 June 2016, would be rejected. Furthermore, the arbitration court also decided that the preparatory proceedings against Dr Zimmermann, which had already started, would be stopped.

Action for damages against Carl and RTV for several million euros (it is not the first time) – now Slovenian citizens know how the money from their obligatory contributions is spent
The decision shows that the proceedings instituted against Dr Zimmermann were groundless from the very beginning, and that the main reason for them was not a careful and diligent assessment of Dr Zimmermann’s medical practice but the media assault that had been carried out for almost nine months by RTV SLO and journalist Eugenija Carl.

And another thing. In one of her false reports, Eugenija Carl says the following: “In order to drown out the moaning, they turned up the radio. Remember this name, Janez Zimmermann – I cannot bring myself to use the word doctor.” Well, people at Televizija Slovenija will probably remember Dr Zimmermann for a long time due to the trial that will start in Trieste in September. The renowned surgeon means to clear his name. He wants several million euros in damages from RTV, and also demands several hundred thousand euros from Eugenija Carl in a private action. No one knows where Carl is supposed to get such an amount, and perhaps she will actually have to go to prison.

It seems that Carl – I cannot bring myself to use the word journalist – will finally have to pay the price.