Remember Sinfo? (click if no) This monthly magazine presents Slovenian government’s take on the matters to English speaking readers. Which is all fine and dandy except that most English-speaking readers (i.e.: ex-pats, foreign journalists and businesss people) don’t matter a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys, as they don’t have a vote in parliamentary elections.
This week’s edition of Slovenski Tednik
And since Janša & Co. lost control of the largest Slovene newspaper and are faced with increasingly independent state media (a contradiction in terms, I know!), steps have been made to influence public opinion and nudge it in the right direction (right being the operative word here). Enter Slovenski Tednik (Slovenian Weekly), a weekly rag which is distributed for free in all but eleven Slovene municipalities (which just happen to be the eleven Slovene cities, where population tends to lean a bit more to the left side of political spectrum).
Now, the funny thing about this particular sorry excuse for a newspaper is its partisan style which would make even Fox News blush. Picking up the current issue, one can read the following titles: “Our Veto Not Excluded” saying that Janša’s government is threatening Croatia to veto its accession to the EU (not true). “Leftist Artiliery Agains The Government”, where it accuses the union leaders of being associated with the opposition (which they are), but it does not specify what sort of crime that should be. It just says that their Communist past shows through the type of songs they play at their rallies (they even play The Internationale, imagine!) and so on and so on.
Now, I’ve nothing against opinionated media. Quite au-contraire – I am ever more convinced that neutrality does not equal objectivity (the fact that this position presumes existance of an educated reader/listener/viewer is stuff of a whole new post). There is however a big difference between opinionated media producion which more or less gives both sides of the story and contextualises them on one hand and Voelkische-Beobacther-like rags and horns which hail our fearless leadership, which has all the answers.
And just to be totally fair, I must add that Slovenski Tednik is privately owned which in theory gives its ownership the freedom to print whatever content they see fit. The fact that the founder of the rag is closely connected to the rulling party is only an added bonus. On the other hand every Slovene municipality has its own Pravda, with a mayor’s “editorial” at the beginning and the rest of the paper extolling the virtues of a particular mayor and his team. Ljubljana magazine, aptly named “Ljubljana” is no exception to the rule. But these magazines are both presented and perceived as a sort of local versions of Sinfo. While Slovenski Tednik pretends to be a proper newspaper. We’ll see if the forces of market economy, so hailed by this government during its earlier stages will do the trick and send the paper to media-oblivion where it will join Republika, Slovenec and Jutranjik, dailies which in their own time tried to shape the public opinion, but instead the public shaped them into a roll and sent them flying to the nearest dust-bin.