Attitude towards media main stumbling block for Slovenia’s governing coalition

Slovenian opposition groups LMŠ, SD, Left and SAB submitted a motion in parliament, calling for the questioning of Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti, criticising him for his inaction during the pandemic, his attitude towards the media, as well as the general deterioration of the cultural landscape. [Shutterstock/ MyImages - Micha]

Slovenian opposition groups LMŠ, SD, Left and SAB submitted a motion in parliament, calling for the questioning of Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti, criticising him for his inaction during the pandemic, his attitude towards the media, as well as the general deterioration of the cultural landscape.

In particular, the opposition MPs highlighted Simoniti’s attitude towards self-employed people in the culture and public media sectors. 

According to Social Democrat MP Matjaž Nemec (SD), the minister has lost the trust of the professional public, while leftist MP Violeta Tomić (Levica) urged the minister to show statesmanship and resign.

However, Simoniti has rejected all accusations. “As minister, I work for the good of Slovenian culture,” he stressed, pointing out, among other things, the culture budget for 2021, the highest in the country’s history. The minister also denied attacks on the freedom and independence of journalists, stressing his concern for such issues. 

The minister also noted there was no clear evidence of any interference – personally or in any other way – with the programme independence of national broadcaster RTV Slovenia or the state news agency STA. 

Since the parliament session – which lasted more than 10 hours – was suspended for procedural disagreements, Simoniti’s fate remains unknown, particularly because it was not clear how MPs from governing coalition member SMC, would vote. 

This situation can be seen as the first sign of a split within the ruling coalition. 

After Prime Minister Janez Janša made harsh comments against SMC MP Janja Sluga just a few days ago, rumour has it that Sluga and other MPs are close to defecting to the assembly’s opposition factions. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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