SDS condemns foreign minister’s RTV Slovenija appeal

Ljubljana – The opposition Democrats (SDS) have strongly condemned a letter Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon has addressed to RTV Slovenija director general Andrej Grah Whatmough urging him to reconsider his plan to cut the public broadcaster’s international network of correspondents. The SDS sees her move as unacceptable political pressure.

In the public letter that made headlines earlier this week, Fajon, a former RTV Slovenija correspondent in Brussels, said that without the network of correspondents, there was no in-depth news programme.

She also noted the role of good contacts and networks for bringing news about developments in the EU to the Slovenian public promptly and comprehensively.

According to unofficial information, the plan is to cut the number of staff in Brussels and abolish correspondents in Moscow, Berlin and Rome, while posting one to Asia, where no Slovenian media outlet has a full-fledged correspondent. The broadcaster’s management has meanwhile said that no final decision has been taken yet.

The SDS sees its concern “all the more justified” because Fajon “refers to herself as a former correspondent of RTV Slovenia” and says that “she is familiar with what it means to have good contacts and a good network after almost 14 years since she is no longer an RTV Slovenija journalist”.

As the party says on its website, this is “clear political pressure” which is “unacceptable and reprehensible”.

Taking issue with Fajon’s statement that Brussels is also Slovenia’s internal affairs, the SDS says this could be “seen over the past two years when the then opposition, part of which was the incumbent foreign minister, used ‘the good contacts and networks’ in Brussels for ‘internal affairs’ to smear Slovenia and its then PM Janez Janša”.

The SDS says that “the only public Slovenian media outlet” should not “primarily ‘shape our internal political developments'”. Its mission should be to act in the public interest and, through objective and impartial reporting, convey verified and credible information.

The party adds that RTV Slovenija “must undoubtedly become a professional and impartial media outlet”, and sees Fajon’s letter as “a demonstration of what a political public office holder in such a high position should never allow themselves to do”.