Dnevnik congratulating RTV journalists on their courage

Ljubljana – RTV Slovenija journalists were silent for a long time. They issued protest letters, opposed certain appointments, but they did not actually stand up. Now, they should be congratulated for their courage to stage a strike even though a month has passed since the election, when light can be seen at the end of the tunnel, Dnevnik says on Tuesday.

When a year and a half ago Andrej Grah Whatmough was appointed director general, PM Janez Janša called him a “new broom”. In the coming months, this broom swept brutally – first it swept TV Slovenija director Natalija Gorščak then the Programme Council backed by the management focused on the programme.

“They moved the shows that were not to the liking of those on power to other channels, to unfavourable time slots, abolished them, while the gaps were filled by more likeable and appropriate presenters.

“Meanwhile, the main television editors were stepping down, having realised that the television is in for a debacle and fled to commercial broadcasters.”

How right they were was most recently demonstrated by Igor Pirkovič, whose hosting of an election debate was full of all kinds of violations of law, professional standards, principles of journalist ethics and programme standards and unbecoming of a public broadcaster, the paper says.

The Programme Council slowly became mostly filled by right-leaning members, who rather than managing the public media service are interested in bowing to the outgoing coalition.

The latter leaves no doubt about what kind of RTV it wants. “Those in power have been spitting on journalists for two years, discrediting them shamelessly, insulting them vilely and humiliating them in a primitive way.”

The reasons why RTV journalists have not stood up to all this sooner could be their heterogeneousness. The RTV Slovenija staff has been diverse and has traditionally had a hard time reaching unity.

“Definitely, rather transparent threats of the management could be a reason as well and perhaps also staff’s resignation … But finally they did stand up.”

They need to be congratulated on their courage, although they gathered it a month after the election, which is expected to bring positive changes. But the strike is only the beginning. The more difficult task is still ahead and this will be long and hard, says the paper.

The key achievement of the outgoing government is the tarnished reputation of RTV journalists and this will need to be restored for the public broadcaster to become a media pillar again, Dnevnik says under the headline Minding Your Own Business.