Thursday, November 30, 2006

On Being Embarassed in Slovenia

Although this blog is meant for positive criticism, I cannot keep quiet anymore. I must say that I am embarassed as a Slovene and as a journalist (for similar feelings from my collegues see for example here).
As a Slovene I am embarassed when I see that people in Slovenia are raising barricades to keep the Romas out of their villages. In the group of Romas, of which they say they are scared of, there are many children; besides if some of the members of the Strojan family are supposedly involved in criminal activities, they should be prosecuted according to the law. Instead, the whole Roma community is being demonized and people keep saying that they are criminals (thiefs, even rapists) although nobody was yet found guilty. As far as I know if someone has not been found guilty, he is innocent. How come that this basic postulate holds true for Slovenes and not for Romas? And unfounded and unproven insults are as far as I know punishable, too.
And I am embarassed as a journalist. Much has been said in blogosphere and elsewhere about the latest edition of the so called infotainment programme Piramida. I agree with those who say that such shows should not be aired on the public television. The role and purpose of the public television is not to provide entertainment in its pure sensationalist form.
What is even more embarassing for me, is that the national daily paper Delo (in the context of a report regarding what has been happening in the latest edition of Piramida) published four comments from Delo's forum on the page 3 (which is reserved for important and relevant political and other issues). These comments were "balanced", in accordance with the new ideology on journalistic objectivity. Two of the comments were agains such shows and two for them.
I think that such comments have no space in the national daily newspaper whose role and purpose is not only to tend to the basic needs and wants of the readers in order to keep the circulation high, but also to keep the public debate on a certain level - above the one of the "hungry wolfes" which can be often found on forums. It seems that the Pandora box's of hate speech in Slovenia has been open when some of the politicians started verbally abusing their female collegues, when the ombudsman, whose primary role is to protect the accepted level of human rights, was labeled as the number one hate-speaker in the country, and when it became acceptable that politicians verbally or physically attack reporters or threat to attack them. BTW: the report on one of such incidents was published in some media (for example Dnevnik, Finance, PopTV), but not in others.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pandora's box of hate speech was open long ago. The murders of everybody who was anybody in some parts of nowadays Slovenia commited by the communists in 1941-1945 (and mass mureders in 1945) was certainly something unimaginable at any time in our documented history.
Also once in the recent past there were many leaflets in Ljubljana with the text "Kill the...", guess who? Any reaction from the media or the ombudsman (who was notified of it)?