Drle-groove

It’s been a long time since an email made me laugh out loud. But ths one just cracked me up. Our beloved president spreading peace on Earth and goodwill toward mankind. Now all I need is a semi-competent musician and we can make a video 🙂

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Just some thoughts on Janez Drnovšek, a.k.a. “Drle”:

I’m glad he’s our president. Not because of his Movement, which (full disclosure) I am a member of, but because he does present a certain degree of uncertainty in Slovene politics, which breeds fresh and unconventional thinking, necesary for society as a whole to move forward. When Drnovšek is gone (I still mantain that we are about to have Slovenia’s first state funeral some time soon), this country will fall into the abbys of carefully staged public and press events, with the tendency to amass power in a single pair of hands going on in the background.

Right now Janez D. and the Constitutional Court are the only two instances which help maintain a democratic division of power. With Drle gone, the Constitutional Court will find it hard to maintain independence on its own as its members are proposed by the President and elected by the Parliament. So we might just as well enjoy Drnovšek as long as we have him.

Oh and one final note: I definitely don’t like the way he mixes his movement with his presidency. He should keep the two separate and if he can’t, then he must choose between leading the Movement and leading Slovenia. The way things stand now, he’s loosing credibitily on both counts.

Požar is out!

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Obviously a fake front-page of today’s Direkt (by Pengovsky)


As of yesterday the notorious Bojan Požar is no longer Editor-in-Chief of Direkt tabloid newspaper. One might argue why spend a single keystroke on an editor of a tabloid, since their kind are a dozen a dime. But Bojan Požar is the embodiement of the “Dark side of the Force” of Slovene journalism. He is roumoured to have files on every VIP, wannabe and has-been in Slovenia. Much like Sid Hudgens, the murky journalistic character played by Danny DeVito in L.A. Confidential (off the record, on the QT and very hush-hush).


The official reason for Požar’s dismissal is the failure to reach an agreement on his contract for 2007. Direkt is published by Dnevnik media corporation, whose flagship newspaper Dnevnik took somewhat of a beating when the latest circulation numbers were published. The real reason might be both financial and political. Direkt is roumored to fare quite badly at the newsstands, well below the expected sales. On the political scale of things, however, Bojan Požar might have become to much of a liability for Dnevnik media house.


Namely: Dnevnik newspaper is trying very hard to become the leading newspaper in Slovenia, dully spending ludicrous amounts of money for star journalists like Ervin Hladnik Milharčič, Ali H. Žerdin, Uroš Škerl, Rok Praprotnik, Bojan Veselinovič, et cetera. Adding them to other influential journalists like Vesna Vukovič, Meta Roglič, Sonja Vogrič and Vito Avguštin, Dnevnik became a star-studded newspaper. These people cost money, as do all the other journalists whose star has yet to shine – although I’m sure none of them will become rich just writing for Dnevnik. But it is imperative that Dnevnik cleans up its act and slowly gets rid of a dirt-mongering scandal-rag. It is also possible that getting rid of Požar was a price to pay for non-interference by the government, which must be getting increasingly annoyed by Dnevnik’s ever-sharper articles, especially in its Saturday edition.


Anyways, Požar is no more. Personally I won’t miss him. I never much cared for tabloid journalism, especially of Požar’s type, because I constantly got the impression that he was in somebody’s service. I mean, I know people can be just mean, but with several of Požar’s articles (even while still with Slovenske novice), Slovene journalism hit rock-bottom. And again. And again.


But being gone from Direkt doesn’t mean that Požar is gone for good. I’m sure that he will resurface somewhere else. He might try to convice Rupert Murdoch to invest in Slovenia. Who knows. With his files and expertise in collecting information while still in the Central Committee of the Communist Party (I’m told he was in charge of following German media) I’m sure he still hasn’t outlived his usefulness to the Dark Side. Be it left- or right-oriented.


I wonder what Jonas would say 🙂

Censorship?

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This country never ceases to amaze… Thanks to nymphee the Gušti Affair caught my attention.

To summarise: Disctric Court in Ljubljana ordered Gušti and SiOL to take down a post where Gušti shared his impression and encouters with Ana Jud. She was rather displeased with the contents of the post and filed a suit against Gušti and SiOL. A part of the suit was also a motion to temporarily take down the post until the issue has been resolved. In Slovene legal terminology this is called začasna odredba, something like a temporary order

A temporary orded is a legal instrument which can be filed by the plaintiff in order to prevent any (further) damage that might occur in the period between his/her filing of the suit and the final rulling of the court. In this case Ana Jud apparently claims that the contents of the post amounted to slandering and sued the man.

While Pengovsky is not a lawyer he is rather familiar with the Law on media and the judicial practice on slander-cases. Now, Ana Jud’s motives are questionable at best and the contents the post in question are in my opinion quite harmless, but the case raises several interesting questions:

1.) Is there a difference between a blog post and one’s private personal opinion?
2.) Can a blog be treated as a media?
3.) Is the owner of a blog responsible for its contents?
4.) Is the owner of the server (or blogging service) responsible for any and all blog contents is services?
5.) Does this temporary order amout to censorship?

The Law on Media does indeed regulate web publications or web media. While inherently different fromy “traditional” media, the web media must conform to the same rules and procedures as any other media. I.e.: They must be registered with Ministry of Culture, which includes an appointed Editor-in-Chief. But what about a blog? Is blog a mass-media?

In a way – yes. It is intended to be read by other people. It is in fact no different than a book, a newspaper, a magazine, a radio or television.

But in a way – no. It is not a mass-media product as such. It is not distributed, it does not have an editor-in-chief as the owner is ussually (but not always) the sole writer, it does not necesarily publish regurarly, the author’s identity is not necesarily known, et cetera… From this perspective a blog is much more like a book than a newspaper. The closest analogy is of course some sort of public “personal diary” – which is also a book. And some diaries even get published.

Thus, we’ve shown that a blog (singular) is exempt from the Law on Media, because it lacks features that media in Slovenia must have to call themselves media – the most notable of all being that a blog is not registered with the Ministry of Culture.

The story is somewhat different for the blogging service provider (in this case SiOL). This particular provider runs a variety of other services as well and IS registered with Ministry of Culture. As far as I know, SiOL blogging service even has an editor-in-chief which means that Marko Crnkovič is in not-so-shallow doo-doo as he is legally responsible for any and all content of SiOL blogs.

Thus we have answerd items number 1, 2 and 4. A blog post is not strictly one’s private opinion, but one’s private opinion which has been made public. But while a blogging service must conform to Law on Media, an individual blog needn’t.

Now: is the owner of the blog responsible for its contents? In short: yes. Everyone is (except under-aged persons) is fully responsible for opinions they make public. If I were to go to a park, take a lung-full of air and started yelling that Ana Jud is a pompous bitch who doesn’t know her mouth from her cunt it would be the same as if I posted that very same sentence. Either way I made my opinion public and must take responsibility for it. It can be considered slander unless I can prove otherwise in a court of law, should she make the mistake of sueing me. Item number 3 is thus dully aswered

But the real question is: does this amount to censorship? No. Not from a legal point of view, at least. This is a classic case of one person’s freedom of speech clashing with another person’s right to personal integrity. Again – I’m not saying that Ana Jud actually has a case. But neither is the court saying that. What the court did was just temporarily suspend the publishing of this particular blog entry until the matter has been resolved. And should it emerge that Ana Jud acted in bad faith, Gušti and SiOL will definitely have a case agains her.

Censorship is by definition imposed by the same entity which feels threatned by a certain content. Thus – were Ana Jud by any chance SiOL’s editor in chief and had she forced Gušti to take down the post, that would be censorship. But the court’s decision is (again) temporary and was delivered (presumably) upon due consideration. One must know that in a civil suit the burden of proof lies with the defendant (and not with the accuser) so in court’s view Ana Jud’s claims have merit thusfar.

And one more thing: One of the earliest issues of Direkt ran a story about Dora Plestenjak supposedly molesting her grandchild. The Plestenjak family did exactly the same as Ana Jud did – they filed a motion for a temporary order, preventing most copies of that particular issue ever reaching the stands, and then filed suit against Bojan Požar and Direkt.

The lesson: While blogs are created by private citizens, they can have public consequences and are not exempt from the law. It is just sickening that an excellent musician ends up at the wrong end of stick held by a below average would-be reporter.

Policija trenira strogoću….

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…perhaps best translated as LJPD Blue in action. The entire gallery by Dnevnik daily is located here


To those who have been on this Earth long enough to have at least heard of the student movement in former Yugoslavia and the continuos battles and hide-and-seek games between (mostly) students and the fearsome socialist police, the above title of the song by Leteći Odred will sound familiar.

This time around, there is a twist, though. The po-lice used force against the majority population of Ambrus and Ivančna Gorica (remember this post?). As the Strojan family (the Roma) tried yet again in vain to return to their land in Ambrus near Ivančna Gorica, the local populace gathered yet agaiin to prevent that from happening. They set up roadblocks and baricades, forcing the police to intervene. Soon the special police forces were deployed (the so called Robocops) and as things grew tense an order was given by Chief of Ljubljana Police Authority Branko Slak to disperse the crowd which by now had reached hundreds of people.

Punches flew and a person apparently took two blows with a baton in the head (the bald man with a bloody head in Dnevnik’s pictures) and another woman injured her arm.

As I wrote some time ago, the State (the govenrment if you will) is the only institution authorised to use force and only when law and order are disturbed. Not only that law and order were disturbed in Ivančna Gorica, they were down right mutilated, trampped upon, spat at and humiliated. On top of that the minority population was denied due process, denied freedom of movement and evicted (to name but a few human rights violations) thus bringing about the inevitable violation of the rule of law.

The people of Ivančna Gorica took the law into their own hands, so naturally the law took them into its hands. The law in this case being the cops who should have in my opinion beat the shit out of the protesters, not just sprain a wrist and schratch a bald head.

Had the law used all its powers then people would get arrested, severely beaten, questioned, tried and sentenced for violating countless counts of law. Not only that – the actions of the police in Ivančna Gorica on Saturday night was highly disproportionate to its own actions on November 17th, when a pro-Roma rally took place in downtown Ljubljana, where two people were arrested and later released. One of them was Marko Brecelj from Koper, a songwriter and an alternative rock musician (think band Buldožer) who also wrote the legendary song Parada (Parade). That particular protest was peaceful – the protesters were on vallium compared to the Saturday’s events, and yet two people were arrested. On Saturday noone was arrested, two people were hurt in a clash with the cops and another man took a kick in the groin. What Ivančna Gorica needs right now is a bit of police brutality – the kind one sees at footbal matches, so the people would bug out and go home, rahter than get drunk on weekends and have a party WHILE “defenfing” their Vaterland

I agree with Pavle Čelik (the former Top Cop): the po-lice should have kicked some ass the first time around. Now the local populace feels emboldened by the fact that not only they drove out the Roma, even the police can’t really touch them. If it does, heads roll. The first head to roll off the stage was the already mentioned Chief of Police Authority Ljubljana Branko Slak, who allegedly failed to follow protocol and gave the orded to disperse the crowd without ordering the people to disperse over the megaphone and warning them of immediate police action. I doubt that it would have helped, but if he really failed to follow proper procedues, reprimand him. Don’t destroy a man’s career a month before his retirement. But he was removed by Jože Romšek (the current Top Cop) to head the Slovene version of Police Academy, while a new guy is coming to take over for Slak. And while this new guy gets his bearings the fascists in Ivančna Gorica will do as they please.

Seeing Janša in today’s Odmevi on state television I was amazed to see him actually talk some sense. What he obviously failed to realise is that moving the Strojan family was the catalyst for this sad saga as people suddenly felt that they can get whatever they want, all they have to do is to take it one step further than the othe guy. At this stage this already means killing somebody. And that will be blood on Janša’s hands, as he has played an an active role in anti-Roma protests in 2004 (unfotunately the article from Delo daily is in Slovene only and yes, I know I’m infringing copyright).
Janša is right on one thing, thouhg: This thing has gotten out of controll. When roumor spread that the Strojan family will relocate to Kočevje, the mayor of the municipality went on the local radio an allegedly called people to the baricades. “Alegedly” because I can’t even find Radio Univox on the net. But knowing as I do the Roma situation in Kočevje this call to arms seems quite probable. The fun part is that the mayor Janko Veber (who is also a deputy in the parliament) belongs to opposition Social Democrats. This only proves that stupid people are thick on the ground in Slovenia and are not confined exclusively to the political right.


Oh, and my favourite statement this time around… A redneck who was handled roughly by a cop was shocked that the cop didn’t speak Slovene. Supposedly the cop said to him “Najebat ćeš” – which is “you’ll get fucked for this” in Croatian. Or Serbian. Or anything else – point is that it wasn’t Slovene…. Don’t you get it?! We’re being infested by all these foreigners who came to steal our identity and our way of life, the Gypsies , the faggots, the goddamn Jews….Eeeek….


Borat, this country needs you!!!!!