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    Copyright: The following text is for personal information only. Any professional use or publication in written or electronic form is subject to an agreement with AIM, 17 rue Rebeval, F-75019 Paris, France

    SUN, 22 JAN 1995 23:19:52 GMT

    Journalists and politicians

    THE REFEREE HAS NO BALLS

    Some politicians and some journalists in Ljubljana have started flexing their muscles instead of their brains before each others and everyone within their own guild, but no one has yet shouted "The referee has no balls!". This cry well known to football fans, marks the height of derision towards the person who is in charge of, paid for and exists only to follow, control and guarantee that the two sides in the field will obey the rules of the game. In Ljubljana, where all the centers of political and journalistic power are concentrated, the rules of the game are not only disregarded, but are also abused, arbitrarily interpreted or only those parts of them selected which momentarily suit someone. The victim is the truth or the person pronouncing it. There is ample evidence and the most typical is the latest conflict concerning the election of the new minister (or lady minister) of foreign affairs.

    The old minister, Lojze Peterle, resigned because according to his words, the Prime Minister concentrates the power in the hands of his party, because the Aquileia Agreement with Italy was not accepted, although he himself said at the time that it was not an agreement, but a "letter of intent", etc. By creating the "great coalition" of the three most powerful parties in Parliament (the Liberal Democrats, the Christian Democrats, the Joint List of Social Democrats), Prime Minister Drnovsek "bought" the love of the Christian Democrats, by making Peterle Foreign Minister. He was no better as minister than he was as President of the first independent Slovenian government..., but that is the subject of another story.

    It is interesting that Peterle keeps insisting that the post of Foreign Minister must remain in the hands of his party, and since there are no candidates with foreign political references he claims that the minister need not be an expert but a politician (as if a modern politican was not necessarily a top political technocrat) and that the expertise is provided by the diplomatic-consular apparatus. Drnovsek, for his part, dissatisfied with the dilletantism Peterle is imposing, and wishing to dispell the rumours about the "concentration of power", has nominated for this post a journalist of the Delo and a top expert on external policy relations, Mojca Drcar - Murko, well known (and recognized) at least, among the Delo readership.

    Now the scene is being taken by politicians and journalists of a "macho" orientation, who support theses advanced by politicians such as Peterle and Jansa, according to which the politicians currently in power (in which Peterle's Christian Democrats, members of the ruling coalition!) are only the cuckoo in the nest of the former regime. And thus, they want to take Slovenia back into the ideological shadow of the old regime, to rehabilitate the old party system and return the state to some sort of a new Yugo-creation. This is what was written about Mojca Drcar - Murko, by Danilo Slivnik, a colleague from her Editorial Office, in the Delo, the paper they both work for!

    Another colleague from the same Editorial Office, Slava Partlic, gave her account of this inter-editorial quarrel, but the Editor-in-Chief, Tit Dobersek, would not let her publish it. She wrote that colleague Slivnik (who is also Deputy Editor-in-Chief) in writing about a candidate for the new foreign minister and his colleague from the Editorial Office "displayed professional unfairness, which is only a consequence of elementary ignorance or analytical impotence", that "Delo" thereby has "assumed the role of an instrument in a clearly recognizable political struggle, i.e. the role of a cheap propagator of the political circle in Slovenia which has no arguments against the nomination of an expert and politically independent candidate for minister for foreign affairs and tries to compensate for that shortage for the sake of base short-run party objectives, by political propaganda labelling...".

    Thus the colleague has shown that the "referee has balls"; she published her article in the Mladina when her own paper would not carry it, despite threats of disciplinary proceedings against her, saying that she found it more important to warn professional journalists that the freedom of the public word did not give them the right to write whatever crossed their minds about everyone.

    This is a typical example of how a journalist - politician understands democracy. If one of the most important criteria of how democratic a society is, is freedom of the public word and the media, then the situation in Slovenia is anarchic, to say the least. Politicians (like Peterle in the mentioned example) behave as if the function is more important than the interests of the state , while journalists, for the sake of getting a document bearing the inscription "state secret", voluntarily stoop to become the servants of such a policy.

    That is why much more is written about eminent "fighters for the independence of Slovenia" who fight for ministerial and not state interests, i.e. the interests of all the people and not their parties, than about people who have, through their hard and diligent work, really achieved something. Thus, precisely in connection with foreign political successes and failures, every normal person must be amazed by "bombastic" headlines saying that "Slovenia is lonely in Europe". As if someone regrets that Slovenia, because it had consciously opted for independence, lost an "umbrella" under which it would find shelter. The maturity of a state is indeed proven by its ability to independently and without patrons of any kind present, defend and achieve its political objectives and interests.

    ZORAN ODIC, AIM