Slovenia’s conservative Prime Minister Janez Janša has kept COVID-19 spread under control, but the opposing party is afraid that Janša will see this as an opportunity to control the media.
Janša won the office over a month ago and this will be his third time serving as Slovenia’s Prime Minister. The notion that Janša wants to control the Slovenian media started last month when RTVSLO public television station reported a pay rise for ministers.
Janša’s responded on Twitter, influenced by US President Donald Trump, and told to RTVSLO to “stop spreading lies” and that “we pay you in these times to inform, not to mislead the public.” Furthermore, RTVSLO’s statement was that this was a threat to all employees that they could lose their jobs if the reports are against the government’s interests.
There was another contradiction between Janša and the Slovenian media before that. Delo, one of the highest-circulation newspaper in Slovenia, criticized Janša’s behavior over the UEFA President, Alexander Ceferin. The Slovenian Prime Minister responded via Twitter and accused Delo of being a servant of the “deep-state tycoons,” ending his twitter message with “#fakenews.”
A problem arises in Slovenia as the Prime Minister has the intention to control the media. But the most important problem, as I see it, is that the coronavirus spread will make every government which handled the crisis with confidence, act as “heroes.” It is important to note that Janša is the leader of the conservative party. We must not forget in Hungary, Victor Orban’s decision to take more power to rule the country in a “sovereign” way until the COVID-19 threat is over.
All in all, it is important during this period to keep alive the freedom of speech. Orban is known for controlling the media in Hungary, but Janez Janša declares that the reports against his party are fake. This is an absolute intervention to freedom of speech and I believe that more of the same will come.