NGO launches anti-hate speech campaign


"Hate has been spreading in Slovenia for several years," Domen Savič, director of Državljan D (Citizen D) said in Ljubljana on Tuesday, as the campaign got under way.

He said one of the main sources of hate speech was "the media united into a Western Balkan network of propaganda factories" indirectly managed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

These media outlets are spreading intolerance towards sexual and ethnic minorities, bringing discord and distrust in society with lies and half-truths, he said.

"They get money from various sources, including from the Culture Ministry and from advertising budgets of state-owned companies," Savič said.

The anti-hate tour will thus draw attention to the "passive decision makers who are partly responsible for such a situation" and will try to offer some solutions.

Savič recalled that Državljan D had urged Prime Minister Marjan Šarec in November 2018 to take a stance on this issue.

"He responded by saying that companies in majority state ownership should think twice where they advertise and what media practices they support with their money." However, not much has changed since, Savič said.

At the time, Savič focussed his campaign on state-owned telco Telekom Slovenije, and on the Nova24TV news portal and TV station, which is part-owned by the opposition Democrats (SDS), a party with strong ties to Orban's Fidesz party.

Šarec's appeal triggered a heated debate, with the right-leaning media accusing him of the worst attack on freedom of speech since independence.

The NGO will debate the controversial funding in Kranj, Postojna, Trbovlje, Novo Mesto, Krško, Kočevje, Celje, Slovenj Gradec, Ptuj, Maribor, Murska Sobota, Koper, Tolmin and Nova Gorica.