This here is a sort of monologue,
a talk with oneself,
which occurs all the time anyway,
except we no longer hear it
having been tought as children,
that it is not proper
to talk aloud to ourselves.
How everything actually started and went sideways with the SRP journal?
When I ask myself this question, I must find there is no simple answer. We must return to the doomed Bilten SShP, although cancelling one journal may not necessarily result in the birth of another, even with a ten-year delay. Therefore, I had my personal idea for the SRP journal (Eng. = LiVeS, transl. n.) in the wake of the (birth) outbreak of new democracy in the land of Slovenia. Again, I know this answer is also not entirely accurate and needs further emendation. It therefore all began with my delusion of autonomous Slovenian democracy. Also, from the very start, Revija SRP was devised and born of collaboration. And so we return to the beginnings as personal and particular to each contributor. These date back to when we met through some distribution of roles, or twist of fate if you will, to form what we may now call the Revija SRP circle, though this designation also seems to me worn and abhorrent. So, the start has as many beginnings as there are contributors. I must conclude my attempt to define a start having bitten of more than I can chew, above all, in the hope that the beginning is not yet finished.
I have re-read and re-thought all documents – contributions and responses (but mostly non-responses) sent to the leadership, the body of the power institution of RTV Slovenia. In some cases I will need to go further back in historic memory of the medium and system (its creator). Here, I will summarize only a few of its essential findings and confront them with my current views, covering issues from the Jubilee edition of Revija SRP 1/2, 10/1993, which addresses the difficulties and pains of founding or reviving a certain journal up until issue 9/10, of which I was still managing editor.
A quick and rough appraisal of the current state of things reveals that all is exactly the same as it was when I was writing my thoughts reflection or second thoughts on The Incapacity of Communication or Three Explanations of the Revival and Stifling of a Journal. The issue of incapacity of communication between people and institutions, between men and the system has not changed.
I could just as easily say today that this is the problem of different speech in the same language or merely the lack of patient translators, or the very issue of patience among the translators of the three layers of reality.
I wish to be neither mysterious nor piteous, but I believe that our time – state of consciousness of our us-ness, is so very disinclined to the journal as it was conceived – so unsuitable, that I was hounded throughout by the unnecessary and noxious thought that our instigation comes too soon, and that the spirit of actual democracy with breadth and tolerance needed for critical or even supercritical thought and writing lay ahead, never was, will be, or is, merely my delusion and simultaneously the delusions or error of my voluntary co-workers – free-thinking individuals of Revija SRP. Occasional dejection gave rise to this thought: What is certain, even Revija SRP cannot be published by force. I hope, however, that contributors will try to conquer even this crisis in their own way; time will tell; If it won’t be done, it won’t, or it will, but another time, or by someone else; the seed is (was) sown no matter what.
I will now quickly recapitulate the main reasons – facts that resulted in my decision that further editing on my part is senseless for me and probably even harmful or at least inappropriate for the journal:
Already the Introductory reasoning of Revija SRP (19.7.1993) stated Revija SRP could be an extremely critical journal, researching, unveiling, baring hidden and concealed problems of the media in its unique way, autonomously independently of the power of parties and independently of the institutional power of the media. Above all, the journal would present these issues to the researchers and other audiences interested in, or affected by the problems of mass media. This is what it could be like, all that is tested is tolerance in the institution of the medium.
This is how it was, and how it remains! We did all this to the best of our capacity and ability, but opposition of the greately powerful mighty institution and its wide background (the shadow system of long shadows) is too hidden to unmask plainly publically and unambiguously. As it is, they could all but say: »who wishes you harm anyway? You are insignificant, you don’t exist.« But they don’t, because saying this would itself stand as acknowledgment that we are, that Revija SRP exists after all. The tolerance of the institution of the medium and system therefore failed the test. However, today my view is slightly changed; I think with a tad more despondence that the journal that brought upon itself the annoyance of a powerful medium selling fame and determining who is who, and which wants no patronage from political parties, not even the tiniest, nor such as would wish yet to be founded, today and here, simply cannot survive decently.
Though I based my strategic tactical action plan on knowing that there is no institutional measure, which would not enable a more flexible countermeasure, we contributors continue to face the question (as to us it is not about surviving at any cost) of the validity and sense of some impossible communication. A single reflected (thought-out) negative response suffices for fundamental and renewed consideration ending in a seemingly despondent act – reply: »If it won’t be done, it won’t, or it will, but another time or by someone else«.
After all, through all stipulations of tactical administrative treatment (mainly ignorance and financial deprivation) the journal could be incapacitated. What if this would still not work in our case? Then there exists another improvable secret weapon. The very thought that this sort of thing would be possible in our democracy is paranoid. The journal will only be destroyed by terrorising its contributors, the creators in the editorial offices of Radiotelevizija Slovenija. And I must say that for now these tactics are proving unsuccessful, certain announced contributions are lacking, either late or insufficiently critically courageous. Who among creators is willing to jeopardize their employment with RTV Slovenija, after receiving an official intimation that the journal is problematic and blasphemous, that is, non-idolatry in relation to functionaries and poltroons of the system, both within the hierarchy of the medium and outside it.
Throughout, this to-be-expected attitude of the institution of the medium, stifling and terrorising (erroneously stated) of Srp(ians), was giving rise in its (counter)effects to a sort of (again expected) successes. It is true that this attitude was not happily received because once experienced, it ceases to be a tactical category and becomes a vividly felt reality, but this attitude worked with our potential or possible collaborators, who were not unknown to us, who consequentially did not want or dare write for this impudent Revija SRP, which is exactly why we were only able to attract contributors who were willing to forgo payment and who conquered the fear of mighty sanctions by the medium. These are brave, free, and direct writers. Those of us who will remain, write neither for money or glory and the journal is truly ours as we donate our work and so sponsor it ourselves in its main part (most important and most valuable). It could be said these institutional sanctions combed and purified our ranks, or that the institution and system in this case executed a positive selection for us. Each new contributor strengthening and refreshing, or to put it another way, spontaneously relaxing the direction of our values – refocusing the content of a journal that would otherwise be threatened by the rigidity and dogmatisation of its own value orientation.
You rarely come accross an adversary who will concurrently list reasons (measures and actions), which caused them the most damage. Nevertheless, this is what I need to do, such are the rules of the direction of the journal’s values and this is what follows from the desire to keep our explorative odyssey (self-reflection) alive and manifest to the public, recorded in the historical memory of the M.M. institution and our Us(ness).
Allow me to re-list the most important few, though their weight is, and should remain, entirely a matter of personal perception; it is also probably not necessary to state that it is different for other contributors, particular to each of them.
I could say my hope for a free journal became more tangible in an odd place, the former seat of the Central Committee. This is no space for the birth of something new, which soon became evident.
Right at Tomshicheva 5, DEMOS made an informal promise significant for future Revija SRP, granting what may have seemed at the time,my side wish: the return of the research department status quo ante, which also included the reinstatement of the abolished Bilten SShP. This was to be a part of the payment to »insurgents« – rebels by Her – Spomenka Hribar herself, who was then, in my opinion of course, at the very top of DEMOS’s power, and for our syndicate KUU RTVS the deciding coordinator in the struggle for the RTVL/S medium. The promise was of course void. She never got around to fulfilling it. It is my insignificant question whether she ever intended to at all.
It could, however, have been realized by two of her then co-partisan adherents: Rudi Sheligo, later chairman of the Council of RTVS, and Misho Jezernik, her named but never-to-be leader of SRP (Service for the Research of Programming) and later chairperson of the Council for national programming at TVS under Sheligo. Yet it was they who most contributed to the disregard, annulment, or neutralisation of both the journal and the autonomous critical or at least methodologically correct research and disclosure of hidden though essential problems of the RTVS medium and its role in the system. *1
- The chairman of KUU (Cultural and Artistic Creators) union RTVS Anton Mito Trefalt, having switched from the union track to the three institutional functions (economic, managing, and supervisory), initially entirely discredited our syndicated struggle for a cultural-national radio-television (at first he commercialised his programming beyond all taste and latter supplemented it with the missing political component). I, again, found something else alarming, namely that second act, when he crossed the line or, as I phrase it, broke »Archimedes’ law«.
NOLI TURBARE CIRCULOS MEOS! (+) *2
Then and thereby he compromised the research in its autonomous foundation, endangering expert and methodological accuracy of research at RTVS, or more candidly, he corrupted research and made it as easy to manipulate as he could, rendering it inexpert and pointless. He couldn’t endanger the journal directly but rather indirectly, through destroying research at TVS and particularly the SRP research project.
– It was supported and amended within the Politically-Informative Programming by our former unionist protégée for PIP managing editor Lado Ambrozhich. He long compromised the autonomy of public opinion research (i.e. measuring and polling) in the programming research services, reducing researchers to political data manipulators, no longer for public opinion research but its creation.
On 23 April 1994, on TV Dnevnik 2 news programme, his »udarnica« (super worker), journalist Rozvita Pesek, in a commentary of such phone polling results, attacked one of »their« researchers, whose name was naturally not worth mentioning, with such pogrom-like zeal as would scarcely befit the severest totalitarianism in the land of Popitov’s regime. I wasn’t too surprised that this would happen in a time of supposed Slovenian democracy and democratisation of the media, I was more surprised at my acquaintances asking me who this researcher was, if it was me. Few looked to the SRP journal, to see the other side. Yet no one added that such pogroms seem a tad out of place on modern national media. Apparently this was not the case. I had no wish to use the SRP journal specifically to expose this incident and its long winded discussion, being that its causes have already been publicised (this time exceptionally also by M. M. Dnevnik and Delo, each baring a part of the whole) and in its entirety in the SRP journal. I must, however, say that such negative publicity as well as the reactions it triggers, in spite of the lowered standards of polemics or because of them, adds to the journal’s publicity, at the very least it informs the general public, though this is not the journal’s target audience, that Revija SRP actually exists.
Already in the articles under the heading translated as Relevant Occurrences in the Light of Values (in the Dialogi journal, 1988) and Games of the System, on the System in the Light of System Theory and a Bit Differently, and The Confession of a System (in journal Likovne besede, 1988), I openly supported Janez Jansha and his comrades. As an expression of solidarity, even if not support, prior to their publication I even sent him these articles (then still fresh action documents) to prison, and also the article titled From the History of Linch, intended as moral support, if he ever somehow did receive these registered postal testaments of mine. Generally such provocation was part of the game with the system, taunting its secret services, if I only wanted to occasionally incite its lacking vigilance – attention to an individual – the System’s mighty class enemy.
And it occurs yet again that we stand on opposite sides of the river, that a few of the closest members of now his SSDS party along with a few former most ardent communists have become the most avid gravediggers – stifling Projekt SRP (research and journal) at RTVS. They got their institutional frame in Jezernik’s Programme Council for the observation of national TV programmes. Again, I was unable to accept the ideological role of that Council’s chairman, prof. dr. Misho Jezernik, my former sociology professor at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana and later (three times) my colleague at ISU (University Institute of Sociology), and less still his counter-research activities. How was he able to become chairman of (what I view as) ideological inquisition-commission that wished to, in ways we once knew well, dispose of the then best informative TV show, Darko Marin’s Tednik (weekly review)?
And how could he wholeheartedly support Trefalt’s vision and use of manipulated research and add his own immeasurable propensity for boundless mixing of audiences (that is mixing categories such as gender, age, education, with little care that the samples were too small thus demonstrating only a weirdly and senselessly diluted audience and their appraisals of the programmes), which I believe to be very questionable (if not unacceptable) professional conduct, or even full blown fraud within the discipline, which only serves administrative (or household) research and in particular its use? Today I think that the publication of the the Problem of Tednik article and accompanying disclosure of entirely different views on the autonomy of TV creativity, unacceptable to either of the two worlds, was enough to start an unrelenting though not overly honest institutional burial ceremony for both the SRP journal at RTVS and the SRP research project, of course along with research autonomy within the medium. It is true that They do not find the journal important, to them it only holds significance insofar as it may cause them political damage. But so it has always been in the sight of bewitched political consciousness – unified partisan and depersonalised thinking, which reaches only as far as the pragmatic level of consciousness.
Conflict was therefore unavoidable and the result more or less predictable, being that it still consistently and with minimum variation recurs at RTVL/S. Revija SRP’s grave sin was that it unilaterally publicised resistance to this manipulation and agitated and disclosed »measures of ideological inquisition«. Unilaterally, because the other side either had no desire, capacity, or thought it unimportant and indecent to debate with Revija SRP’s authors, of a journal, which to them doesn’t even exist, which also suffers from being uncontrollable by the system and is not edited or censored by key eminences of institutional hierarchy nor through their committees and bodies. Politically, the journal’s influence is negligible; its target audience is mostly convinced and can scarcely be influenced. However, fear magnifies, and to the powerful and politically sentient drawing parallels with the power of mass media is practically habitual. On the other hand, it is also true that institutional influence of the journal’s particular orientation would in all probability prove impossible anyway, but they could at least try. The people in charge of the institution had every chance to co-influence the journal’s orientation and development from its first instigation. It was possible already when the purported democratisation of the system first began and was expected to take place within the institution, or at least with the conclusion of the charge on radio-television, then known as the Bastille of Communism. *3
As it is, it remains a blaring fact of some civil initiative – to found Revija SRP – that it is already being rescued by the rigid institution for four years (while the journal is published already for the third year). Of course the institution can see such initiatives as nothing but intrusive. If I wish to reflect on my most profound impressions, those which I am entirely unable to neglect and perhaps also to overcome, even though my tactics and roles have changed considerably through my various professions from former action researcher to current managing editor, some experiences remain inerasable; they impact an individual forever.
Allow me to therefore reach even further into the past to cite the most melodramatic excerpt from my substantiation of the purpose of action activities and writings:
The temporary conclusion of the study from 1986 therefore stated: The action of most of my endeavours is blocked, and it appears that such treatment of truly somewhat unusual research will continue and increase.
There are no measures that would not enable countermeasures and the same goes for methodology of action research. The capacity of communication, public activity, publishing, cooperation with related research organisations, researchers who see and feel a similar exploratory atmosphere, was, to put it mildly, neutralised. The University Institute of Sociology, my former parent institution, joined in these efforts, thwarting this minimal external institutional cooperation. But this was far from all. Social isolation is that basic feeling I could not overlook as a researcher. The question I asked myself was: is it perhaps not time for a change in the methodology of action? Being that there are no measures that would not enable a more flexible response.
A note from a later point in that period: In spite of everything, there followed an expressively depressive account of the state of individual consciousness of the »class enemy«, but the energy was not yet depleted and action continued whilst the researcher got tangled in dangerous relationships.
Present day note: In this case it was the system itself that came to my aid. When I all but gave up on it and its fate, it collapsed all on its own. Well perhaps not entirely on its own, we did help a little, each as we could, each in our field, in our institution of power. And so these new relations had a defining effect on the sequence of events also in the medium of power, RTVL/S. These days there remains no memory of this at the medium, which is why it is precisely Revija SRP that has to occasionally recall historical memory.
However, this isolation remains forever and now hinders me most in establishing a relaxed mode of communication with my former fellow sociologists as well as communicologists. This barrier is not only mine but also theirs; they will always avoid me if possible. I am their unpleasant reminder and memory. This is precisely what hinders me from performing my editorial duties well, I myself also feel I am unable to establish communication with those I aught first have done.
Precisely for this reason I wish to take this opportunity to tactlessly (of this I am aware) remind the powerful and mighty that the action research study Value Orientations of Autonomous Scientific Propaganda also contained fitting Analysis of War Propaganda of the medium in war and was so directly part of my personal or private anti-propaganda war (against) JNA (Yugoslav National Army). *4
To give only one obvious example, because this is not talked about: how strange TVS’s reaction to the ten-day war of Slovenian independence was at times. Not the most appropriate, at a time when a pivotal position was at stake along with exceeding its impartiality in reporting on the war for Slovenia.
Or I could phrase it another way and say that RTVL’s reporting during its historic trial was sometimes too confused and peculiar. And so it remains unexplained how Mihajlo Terzich (JNA’s head of propaganda psychological warfare) was able to explain his and his colleagues’ views on Slovenian TV during the war. This error, lapse, or treason was so great that I did not even want to state it, not even as an example in the Analysis of War Propaganda. (This is then merely an undesirable example, which in my opinion amounts to a lapse so great that it was self-censored by me.)
The action research study truly became an institutional intervention in the Fight for a National Radio-Television (an exploratory and syndical version of the report). But I can in no way accept that the study is useless, reproaches to that effect never and in no way cease because they are part of the standard repertoire of those holding key positions at the medium. That it was not useful to and used by the leadership at the time can account for the consequences, at least the inadequate response to key system changes to which leadership was incapable and unable to respond.
But their adversaries (my temporary allies) would then hardly be able to negate its usefulness. Today things are, of course, different; clutching at recognition quickly helps to erase even later historical memory. And so theoretical as well as practical
(action intervening) research theses, findings, and discoveries were used to good effect by the Union of KUU RTVL/S. What I found slightly perplexing was that the new RTVS management’s memory is equally poor; that They also quickly and obviously try to erase all traces of historical memory, which is not exactly theirs nor fits with their image, but fails to aggrandise Them completely. According to some iron scenario it recurred that we – who were part of the system’s game met again, but on opposite banks. They were now part of Sheliga’s Council or behind it. But what is a single Council or party member or even chairman to a duke?
There is, though, no doubt that Sheliga’s role determined the Institution’s funerary attitude towards Revija SRP. I was never able to grasp that this will necessarily need to occur (though necessity is clear due to determinism of roles in institutions and in keeping with all my experience in the institution of power). Every single time it nevertheless occurs, I am as a man (not as a researcher) hurt or even shocked. How can a former and current noted writer, fighter for the freedom of thought and written word now turn and suppress the same, i.e. freedom of thought and its expression in a journal, of others now clearly of different mind than he. And how can he, a former professor of statistics now tolerate such manipulation of data as we have witnessed at RTVS? I considered all this and wrote at length about it as well as all of us protagonists, and this was doubtless my thus far most outrageous attack on the presently untouchable. I maintain that it was entirely justified and stands as it was written.
Though this is a longer recapitulation, a near treatise, I find it so substantial to this report that I will nevertheless reiterate it here, also because it was entirely ignored in spite of my risky »impudence« and not because of it, as the frightened and loyal would say. It therefore stated:
»Freedom; that is the freedom to say two and two is four.
If this is possible than everything else follows by itself.«
(Winston Smith wrote this in his diary, feeling he formulated an important maxim.) This is the only reason real percentages are so damned important, no matter how abhorrent to politics and the medium. This is the only reason we wage this seemingly so petty and insignificant war for real –unfabricated results or at least against evident bias of »nice results«. And this is why we at Revija SRP, in keeping with its value-orientation, know neither censorship nor self-censorship, even though it may sometimes be tactful and advantageous for the journal if, in agreement with the author, certain formulations were softened or even omitted. But we don’t do this because we know well it would mark the beginning without end, or which in its end denies its own value-orientation and instead fosters: relativism of verity, distortion of liberty, and lack of spirit. These are values typical of post-totalitarianism or, simply put, of our »prolonged past«.
Research services at the Slovenian radio-television, SRP, lost their autonomy and thereby credibility of their results. The foremost abolishers of this autonomy were the management of RTVS and the Council of RTVS. Among them our former friends and brothers in arms in the fight for a Slovenian National Radio-Television have proven themselves above all others, former adherents of the Union (Namely: Rudi Sheligo – Council chairman, dr. Misho Jezernik –
chairman of TVS Programme Council for National Programming, as well as members of said Council Niko Grafenauer, dr. Janko Prunk, Jozhe Snoj, Rafko Valenchich, Franc Zagozhen, Milan Zver. The institutional operational and leading role in this area was doubtless played by Lado Ambrozhich – managing editor of TVS news programme and Mito Trefalt – managing editor of TVS entertainment programme – former chairman of the KUU RTVS Union. To my utmost disappointment, the greatest hope of our union for national-cultural radio-television, director general Zharko Petan joined them as well.) How else am I to make sense of this if not through role-determinism. I imagined several times that if, by some accident, I became an RTVS Council member, I would probably abolish myself as researcher and managing editor of Revija SRP. Let me reiterate the description of our fundamental experience with Them in relation to the revival and stifling of a certain journal, that is, inability to communicate: I want to say that their language, which they now speak and write, has changed. They now also speak and write in Newspeak. They have the power to tolerate, subsidise, or abolish, forbid or in other ways obstruct journals. This is what sociologists call determinism of the role because the role defines a large part of a person’s actions, while character is merely its minor part.
Still, Revija SRP never lost its autonomy. It cannot, it can only lose itself. It records occurrences at RTVS and around it, excluded from the reality of the medium, as though they don’t exist and never did; it strives to preserve them in historical memory. This is why we publish a special segment To Refresh the Historical Memory of the RTVL/S Institution.
Revija SRP is a thorn in the side of those in responsible and important positions who create history. These very people formed the circle of Nova revija or at least stood nearby, these individuals, formerly our combatants in the fight for the freedom of thought and writing, are now in a position to inflict onto us that which they once suffered at the hands of others (now that they hold power and might). They abolish and obstruct a journal, which wishes to be autonomous. Once regime’s victims, they turned executioners, intolerant of dissenting views suppressing freedom of thought and writing. As always, there are exceptions, and the worst is that I can in no way properly expose them, I would only be harming them.
Only for this reason, we contributors to Revija SRP, standing for freedom of thought and writing, are so very sensitive to various forms of manipulation, opposing censorship and especially self-censorship; this is why we are thorns in the decision-makers’ side.
However, we still believe RTVS could withstand a single journal that doesn’t cut up texts.
(Ljubljana, August 1994) *5
The summary was a bit long, for which I apologise, but not for its content; I believe it captures the essence and concretisation of our differences complete with names. You may say this surpasses any acceptable limit and think I just signed my final sentence. I think I did so long ago. Whosoever merely glances over official documents – Revija SRP’s initiatives, applications, and requests and RTVS institution’s official replies (first founding, then co-founding with minimal recognition, and finally at least tolerance), will realize there is nothing to expect here, that there is no point in pulling the wool over one’s eyes (self-delusion). This game, as everything points and as can be seen from space, has been lost long ago.
However, this has been the case from the very beginning, and we never maintained that this (game) must be won. And so this cannot be the determining reason for the journal’s collaborators to step down. Its value orientation will probably change, have different emphases, but it will be hard for it to relinquish Liberty, Verity, and Spirit. Of course these values are not abstract and absolute but only such or that truth, which we can but do not wish to see; not absolute liberty, but the liberty of the individual in relation to the system (roughly as imagined by Étienne de La Boétie: to say no! To hierarchs and any idol-givers of loyalty, these institutional consumers of the freedom of man; in short, it is the liberty, which we must take for ourselves, only through our own courageous spirit, in place of self-limitation, self-censorship, and voluntary slavery, voluntary non-creativity). And to these it was always necessary to add the freedom from the constant threat of our own institutionalisation – dogmatisation within the value orientation, since it must be acknowledged that even our orientation, once worded, happily rings in a familiar ideological Newspeak-tone (language), particularly, as our spirit is used to such and mostly such music.
And on my (in)ability to communicate
I will specifically reveal the following newer developments:
Nothing changed or improved regarding the inability of communication6* between Revija SRP and decision-makers at the medium, even though some actions of the new Council could also be interpreted this way. Two letters to the new RTVS Council followed by two non-replies, also by new RTVS Council members (the letters were simultaneously also appeals to individuals, I could also say that the letters were calls for help – of a drowning initiative), in my opinion dissolved this illusion as well. Namely, all Revija SRP’s initiatives are sure to drown in a flood of administrative materials from the institution and ministries of the system. Such failure to reply can of course only be explained one way, namely, that what we find so significant is entirely unimportant to those addressed. Obviously the Council’s new members and individuals find the journal and research it contains entirely redundant. But there is always an exception. In our case said exception is the representative of Universities on the RTVS Council, dr. Bruno Cvikl – thanks to him, medium (media) research has thus far not been deleted from the RTVS statute. Now I should list all Council members who, in my opinion, allow the to journal persist, but this amounts to public lobbying, and is therefore inappropriate; it would also be a bit too early and I wouldn’t want to misjudge too greatly.
– Content foundations for SRP TVS’s work procedures (future (perhaps someday possible) RTVS research services were also envisaged) are very familiar to me from the standard repertoire of foundations, guidelines, and directions of the institution of the medium of power. I cannot circumvent them in passing. I am in fact almost horrified, when I read the Content foundations for the work procedures of programme and audience research services *26 (not about content but foundations for research procedures without content and explanations: »merely publication of data with no explanation«), which were produced at the radio research unit, unsigned but otherwise in the known style of the unit’s leader Vida Shrot, and which were sent to the director of radio programming Andrej Rot. At the same time I get a slightly better understanding of whence and by whom are suggested or advised all such pogrom-like positions and instructions for the elimination of Revija SRP and critical medium and media research as are cultivated in the Catalogue of Problems – project SRP. Mr Rot’s opinion was, as civilly as possible, addressed in the journal by chief editor Franci Zagorichnik. I would never have been capable, not in such a gentle and elegant way, to address all Mr RAS director’s categorical imperatives – ‘therefores’. Particularly because A. H. Rot goes further than the tried RTVL/S veterans, simply banishing SRPians, pushing us out of the system. It is true that we have no love for it, but no matter how the system subverts us, we are still its part.
The opinion about a certain opinion about Revija SRP by chief editor Franci Zagorichnik can also serve as a model example of how a journal editor can communicate with powerful, mighty, and esteemed representatives of institutions. *7
Now I may return to the foundations, for these count more at RTVS than all previous public initiatives, published in Revija SRP combined. The first and fundamental point states:
»We view programme and audience research as expert gathering of information, which we use in the processes of programme planning and evaluation of the realization of programmes and broadcasts. Although optimal use of knowledge of social sciences is required, on the most part no results or theses are attained, which would hold research value. The analysis of audiences and programmes has often been tasked with being as critical as possible, but this sooner resulted in ignorance than in the use of data. Editors and redactors need to be supported in their autonomy of decisions and not systematically faced against workers, such as for example researchers in the role of critics.«
(Subsequent points are a fairly detailed operational development of the foreword above into a specific description of radio research department’s current activities.)
This is what their and His foundations for the (radio's) SRP work procedures were supposed to be, which I will comment in a self-interview, or monologue, because they do not impact me as related to content but rather to interests. Allow me to explain; the problem of the foundations (in forming conclusions about the activity and perhaps even fate of research at RTVS – fate is here viewed as politics), lay already in the wrong title, or the reverse, in its non-corresponding text. Content research foundations concern or at least touch upon, or at least discuss the content of the research of or at the medium (as we usually say, the entire communication process, or as it is framed by the often mentioned Istanbul declaration (which recommends that TV institutions also conduct qualitative research and analyses of sociological influence of television).
Also, content foundations are not just a matter of one moment in institutional activities, such as RTVS reorganisation. Content foundations for research are and have an individual history, an evaluation, and so exist from the very founding of SShP, DERPO, SRP (Services for Researching Programme, working unit in charge of researching programme and audience, Research Services at RTVL/S) onwards. After all, their framework is co-defined by communicology, philosophy, sociology, cultural sociology, etc. Content foundations are, for example, constantly mentioned and recalled to historical memory by Revija SRP itself, its value orientation also holds potential views of the content foundations for researching the medium and media within the system. In other words, content foundations define value orientations of researching researchers. One among mighty content orientations (foundations) is exactly as this wretched Revija SRP (and Project SRP) discloses it to the medium, disciplines, and concerned public, and as previously revealed by other publications of the said constantly reorganised research units or departments. The cited Content foundations of RAS therefore are not and cannot be content foundations for researching RTVS, they are mere expressions of the penchant to preserve the status quo and foundations for manipulating research.
As they are, they downright call for content (ethical not ideological) foundations for the orientation of research. Decisions about research projects, research, the availability of research, in short, about the above mentioned fate of research, is of course possible without content foundations and outside them. But even such decisions are based on some (though unspecified) content-related or value-related foundations. Public research must also resolve these hidden and covert rebuses, disclose them, and publish its opinions about them. This also was and is done by Revija SRP, for which it is now a thorn in the side of fate.
– Also our KUU RTVS Union’s former utmost hope in the fight for autonomous national RTVS, Zharko Petan, who now holds the greatest power in the hierarchy of the RTVS institution, through this role became (just as I expected and foretold) the main successor – gravedigger of the SRP project (research and journal). Not that this really surprised me (as a researcher), for it is a necessary consequence of inheriting a role in the RTVL institution within the system. Or, in other words, the prolonged past of the medium is mainly personal endurance of certain intransient unchanging advisors and transient and changing generals (directors, chairmen) of RTVL/S. (Some survived over ten man. dir. and assembly or council chairmen). Their fate is predetermined by politics, politics installs them and politics removes them, while advisors prepare everything needed to finally execute the ritual of dismissing and appointing generals. What I see as the most tragic part of their fates is their acceptance and unconvincing enactment of the role of commissary (of civil position) in the declared politically independent and public radio-television in the invented scenario of the current right wing. This game downright begs to be exposed, which the journal with its current value orientation cannot avoid doing. I of course know, that neither myself, nor other Revija SRP’s contributors who do so, will never be forgiven. What is severe is not my believing
this, but rather my publically proclaiming how Petan’s public championing of Their political option is irreconcilable with the role of general commissary of an independent national radio-television, whereby they sadly don’t have nearly the control of the medium they think. The tragedy of Zharko Petan as a person is this was the cost of the pledge without which he could never be general manager of RTVS. Each time I ponder this, I am amazed by the ever-worsening treatment of autonomous research at the medium and public criticism within the definitely politically independent Revija SRP, which is no mass medium and can so inflict no political damage, at least appreciable by Them at the M. M. and those controlling it. With all my experience, I am still hurt by His ignorance, haughtiness, and lastly (first and foremost) His explanation of my parting, or more precisely, rift with Trefalt or »trefaltism« and so Him. This familiar reductionism (impoverished explanation) of social conflict and utter ignorance of social facts and facts of consciousness disrupted any possible further communication between us, except of course in a strictly official capacity, which is entirely his domain. How this works will soon be apparent.
I think at this point true communication between us has become impossible, pointless, indecent. Revija SRP at RTVS’s initiative can be mediated by someone else, and if this was part of some dramatic scenario and way to lead with emotional shock (modelled after theatrical gossip), Zharko Petan achieved the desired result, but what remains is the aesthetical question of how?
The gen. man. of RTVS Zharko Petan very reluctantly responded to the initiative of TV programme man. Janez Lombergar. (I can say he is one of the rare deciding RTV hierarchs, not to yield to determinism of roles without remnants; he remains a creator with his own views on issues, who understands long-term importance of critical thinking and freedom of expression.) But as I said, I better not commend him or praise him too much, providence states that he also will sooner or later buckle (under the determinism of the role). We could accept the compromise of suggesting content foundations and plan of operation and questions concerning organisational operation of SRP (Services for Researching Programmes) in 1995, and thereby Project SRP and attitude towards Revija SRP, particularly because it appeared, at least to me, that the suggestion was largely coordinated with the then RTVS Council chairman Vojko Stopar. As it stands, everything again points to the same old song, this year’s plan of operation and budget will not pass; best case it will pass too late. And so it goes year in year out, irrelevant which party(-ies) are in power and control of the RTVL/S institution of power and no matter who is the general commissary of the institution of power. This is decided at lower levels, and there it is always the same people, who know these things, and even before any gen. dir. or some assembly's/council's chairman looks twice down their hierarchy, they already have an institutionalised conflict on their hands, which is of course inherited and immediately unsolvable, because his most loyal followers can be anything but critical. And so »content foundations of home economics research« will again be the only acceptable for the research at the medium, except if it was discovered that even that much is too complicated and useless.
Imposing these views with personnel is of course much simpler and again nothing new to the medium; this will also be addressed a bit later, in the self-discussion.
So the Revija SRP initiative (journal and research project) grows lost and changed from session to session, from transcript to transcript, becoming unrecognizable. In short, it keeps saving itself but in spite of everything the journal keeps coming out for its third year, showing the administration that it is in essence a problem unsolvable by the institution. Let us view this as great acclaim for the journal and its contributors – creators. To the journal’s managing director it signals it is time to step down in either case, whereby accepting the initiative would be the more valid reason. Considering all the above described experience, the danger of compromise would prove a fatal burden for Revija SRP, one it could not bear.
– Of the letter to the cultural minister (cultural representative of the system), Mr Sergej Pelhan and his reply, of course again lack thereof, to asking as politely as possible, why Revija SRP has been discriminated against for three years of its publication.
The minister did not and will not reply, but if a miracle were to occur, the response would come from one his advisors, which is in itself not unusual, and the reply would be exactly what we want – formal, rather than an argumentation of content – an individual’s view of the problem which arose. It would not be difficult for us at all to force such a reply if our public question (open letter) would get published by some M. M. Still, even ministers will one day accept that in a democracy, whatever it be like, at least courtesy dictates a response, while failure to respond to a public appeal constitutes rude rejection and previously expressed contempt for the journal, authors, and readers.
– Revija SRP had a single completely reverse and unexpected experience on the part of institutions with its main sponsor: The Open Society Institute – Slovenia. Sponsorship from their fund – pulled the journal from the worst of its financial straits, but what we find more important, offered moral support – tangible proof that there is at least one fund in Slovenia that tolerates freedom of thought and writing, even if we get depicted as heralds of Soros’s eastern policy.
The closing commentary can serve as an admission Revija SRP’s greatest problem, its Achilles’ heal, which is bared so lucidly by Simon Kardum:
»SRP, the journal of the services for the research of programming (hence the abbreviation) of RTVS, which it is not yet or will probably never be, a journal that paradoxically claims its birth-distinction (alternativeness) while simultaneously expecting institutional and public acknowledgment, a journal anachronistic in its genre and stylist mannerism and anarchoid in its stance on content and status, a journal whose creators have not yet decided and become aware (and when they do, it will of course be too late), a journal, independent and of course well trimmed down that could significantly co-shape the institution, which it is targeting (also in terms of programming, something it is not interested in for now – it is interested in ontological issues, less phenomenology of the evident), a journal therefore that manifestly invokes the ‘three values of the orientation of the individual’, Liberty, Verity, and Spirit (also hence the abbreviation, with Kant’s postulates for love of freedom, enlightenment, and transcendence), such as it is, holding a dull and unsharpened sickle (trans.n. – sickle = Srp), has no capacity neither for harvest or forbeheading. This is a fact. And that it does not know who it is intended for and its readership is un unknown frontier populated by juveniles is a problem that pertains to intent.«
(Simon Kardum, Slovenske novice, 10. 3. 1995, and due to the importance of its findings reprinted in Revija SRP 9/10.)
The journal’s chief issue is supposedly ts target audience as perceived by Slovenske novice and its collaborators. Who and where is Revija SRP’s target audience?
There is none! Or nearly none! Revija SRP’s target audience is not like that of Sl. novice. It is an elite, adequately defined in the journal’s value orientation; above all this audience is only just being formed, it is longer-lived than the one animated with such great economic success by yellow press. Its potential or possible future contributors we don’t yet know, but nevertheless believe to exist.
Let our adversaries say they don’t exist, or that there are obviously not enough! The critical mass of freedom-loving intellectuals is currently negligible, consumed by parties or scared off and bought by the mighty!
However, all this will apparently not suffice to silence (stifle) the freedom of thought of distinctive contributors, its expression in a distinctive way, irrelevant of powerful and mighty institution and its lodges. What sort of tolerance is this and what conception of democracy (though it occurs symptomatically to the most radical thinkers of the system’s institutions), where institutional criticism immediately gets disqualified and excluded from the system?! Above all, the worth of Revija SRP (though priced 900 SIT) lies not in its price on the market of goods or services, nor is it its intent to look for a minimum share of mass readership but holds only as much worth as there are living values it succeeds in reviving in the spirit of its current and future readers (target audience), scarce though they be; and even how much is not as important as how. Of course this is incomprehensible to merchants, exchangers and consumers of goods: books by the metre, newspapers by the kilo, and programmes by the hours and minutes.
Still, it bears admitting that this covert pursuit defines us to some degree. We allow it to impact us more than necessary, all for historical memory, so that at least in one case this procedure is documented, preserved for those, who will one day inevitably come across something similar. But I think that there is now too much of this, and that in future we could radically reduce our Documents section to only the most urgent issues or official contrivances such as need to be fundamentally worked and illuminated from another angle.
ENDOPHASIA I – part two
Monologue or Self-interview (in discussion with myself)
After all these non-replies, when any answer is most eagerly desired, you will surely agree that human or officially institutional communication is impossible or at least pointless. I find it chiefly indecent as it crosses the threshold of at least some, however misleading image of self-respect and dignity. I am therefore left to talk to myself, we to ourselves or to those who still want to read us, and to those who will one day perhaps read us in spite of everything, if only because they may want to learn what we had to say about institutions of power and system, living individuals, only those who are not completely bent or consumed by institutions.
If there were no critical medium research at RTVL, if I publicised or at least tried to publish or at least preserve in internal research for »The Historical Memory of the Institution of the Medium« none of this, the deciding indispensible lodge members would succeed in erasing all traces of their tenacious efforts at the medium, starting with the screaming of Krichach (Screamer, yeller, trans. n.) and in spite of it, the short circuit (= kratek stik) of RTV STIK and the parade of TV Sopotnik (= co-traveller). All official publications, chronological records, historical and anniversary memoirs contain such praise, achievements, developmental successes (in fairness, also a tiny slip here and there or polite, well-intentioned constructive criticism), that one begins to feel emotional and delighted one ever had the honour of working, or better serving at such an institution. After, there is sometimes whispering in the halls about someone not receiving due recognition and praise of their merits or, perhaps even more frequently, the reverse, that someone else was portrayed as too deserving, important, famous, or indispensible. Surprisingly, you will find nowhere in all the medium’s numerous regular and anniversary written publications how this medium was in fact the mouthpiece of the communist party, most loved and beloved mouthpiece of a totalitarian system and fittingly strictly lead and controlled. However, this will not do, my dear readers! How is it possible, after so many years of democracy, to overlook such a fundamental determinant and guideline of M. M., this plain-as-day fact?
There was critical research at the medium and cannot simply be swept away. It was public, as much as it could be at the time. The risk was great and the results are not negligible. This is exactly why Revija SRP to this day retains an important role in recalling and refreshing RTV institution’s memory and that of the system of the Republic of Slovenia, with even a specific section to that effect and its motto is:
An institution without memory is
Like a company without bookkeeping,
Its strong and mighty
Do whatever they please
Because everything they do drowns
In the forgetful consciousness of time
If RTVS leadership and council never duly examine the merit of methodological reservations and criticisms of inexpert gauging of listenership or viewership and rating broadcasts and programmes at the medium, its competition will do so; it has grown strong enough for this step. After all, what use is suspiciously optimistic data about a growing or at least steady share of viewers, listeners to a medium, if reality is obviously crueller? A medium can now only assess, correctly calculate, and expect a declining number. In the end it is left with nothing but self-delusion, which can be very costly. Don’t tell me those who do so so only want the best for the medium and love it as their child, that they don’t see their love will smother it faster than the same would inevitably happen according to the principles of passing of the power of institutions.
Question: What can it otherwise indicate to build programming schemes, programme planning and evaluation (including suspiciously founded selection of creators kept as quiet as possible, of those broadcasts whose so strangely measured viewership or appraisal have dropped)?
It indicates shortsightedness and injustice, in a word, self-delusion. And if I were to further analyze the cited general content foundation as a value orientation of non-autonomous and inexpert research at the medium, this would not be the first time I have done so. Each time I am forced to do it, I stoop to a level I don’t care for, but this is how it must be, otherwise no communication between us is possible. This has proven the case time and again, and keeps recurring and expressing itself in the form of irreconcilable conflict.
How is it possible to found the reorganisation of M. M. RTVS on misinformation and fundamentally misguided predetermination of preserving or enlarging RTVS’s viewership. (as is the case with the reorganisation expertise by the advisor of Slovenian TV, Justin Dukes)?
A medium that does not want to learn the facts of the actual state of facts is unable to react to changes in the system; in short, it is unable to relinquish its false view of itself and its strength. This is why it prefers to seek advice and counts on assistance from guru-advisors, non-experts in Slovenian radio-television.
How very important Justin Dukes is for Slovenian national radio-television is clear from the willingness (threat) of gen. dir. Zharko Petan to extract RTVS from the Slovenian Scientific Fund, if the latter refused to fund the »Dukes’ project«. This developmental RTVS project, in the opinion of project SRP, is a professional and national scandal, and since Matjazh Hanzhek’s opinion is published in Revija Srp 5/6, it demands public response, from someone at some point. This wretched RTVS reorganization is so important for the future of the medium of power that it will stay one of the key problems in the Catalogue of Problems of Project SRP and will also not be possible to be left out of (erase) the section on Historical memory of the RTVL/S Institution. Public criticism needs to be addressed publically (it is good and appropriate to respond to arguments with arguments), even though it was publically expressed, as far as I know, by only two researchers, Matjazh Hanzhek in the Catalogue of Problems, Revija SRP *8 and Breda Luther in Sobotna priloga, Delo (Channel 4 is something else, advising Slovenian TV, Delo, 14. Maj, 1994) *25
Who can view (this) (such research) as expert (?) gathering of data?
Not a researcher, because such data collection, such measurements, are just the beginning of any research. Without interpretation, methodological data proofing, this is nothing but a start of some domestic household research and above all else, research subordinate to the numerously mentioned programme interests. This is why those viewing research in this way can set Content Foundations for the Work Procedures of Programme and Audience Research Services, plant Fundamental Guidelines for the Operation of Services, and collaborate in constant reorganisations and restructurings of the RTVL/S institution.
The first document also states: »We went from exact written interpretation of survey data to systematic fast publication of data without explanations. Written explanations of data had few readers due to the generally fast-paced work at the radio broadcasting daily fresh content whereby data quickly grew obsolete. Data can also not always be explained unambiguously, not unlike the tendencies in management and views of general programming policy. We chose the policy of the best possible formulation of questions for the listeners and systematic occasional repetition of question with the publication of comparisons. Since editors and reporters substantially co-define themes of questionnaires for the audience and are sometimes themselves better acquainted with the goals of determining the views.« Another states: »Research services must ensure expert gathering of information and general research of programmes. The collected data must be processed expertly, using scientific instrumentation available to the relevant services.«
Once, in the culmination of this same conflict but in the previous regime I asked a public question for historical memory: »Whence does the power of Vida Shrot stem?«
The reply was: »From the simple fact that the she is/was the wife of the assistant to the gen. director (through nepotism then)«. (the gen. dir. or »top administrator« at the time was Ferdinand Luzhar.)
Quoting: »Our colleague V. Shrot’s special power is emphasized throughout. Her ‘expert’ and her ‘self-management’ authority are examples of a heteronomous source of power, consequences of a simple fact that she is the wife of the assistant to the general director.« From The Research about Research, subtitle: Is Research of the Communication Process in the Institution of a Mass Medium Possible?’ How to Destroy any Creativity in a Research Unit? *9
If I ask myself the same question today? …
The answer is only slightly different: »From the simple fact that she is the wife (of the future or meanwhile already sitting) assistant to the director of radio programmes Jozhe Shrot (therefore, through nepotism)«.
And so it occurred that Content Foundations for the Work Procedures of Programme and Audience Research Services, which they are not, created at the radio’s research unit, were unsigned (we will soon see why); from the added note it can be discerned that Mrs Vida Shrot, head of radio’s research unit, has (or the heads have) given them to dir. of RA programmes Andrej Rot; evidently they are also included among the only other official materials for discussion of research at the 10th regular session of RTVS Council. The document title is The Programme Research Service (subtitles: Fundamental Guidelines for the Operation of Services, Organisation of Services and Inclusion in the Organisation Chart of RTVS, Objectivity and Independence of Research Services, Accessibility of Research, Theses for the Treatise on Researching RTVS Programming.) No matter their preference, TVS programme directors (for radio and television) Andrej Rot and Janez Lombergar signed the document, making it the only official basis for discussion at the 10th RTVS Council session (29. 6. 1995) of initial official and public Revija SRP’s initiative to the institution’s leadership and RTVS Council. Downright incredible, I hear you say, but it is not, for this is how things are done at the RTVL/S institution, but one example of actual approach to medium’s key issues through the workforce. It therefore begs the question:
Why research if there are no problems? Why public initiatives if They already know their result as well as how things are done, isn’t that right?
This time the question holds the replies. (In other words, questions are suggestive, which is also generally the basic characteristic of media questions.)
Who can state this and why, and for whom is it true, »that there are mostly no findings and theses that would contain research significance«?
This reproof is stated, overstated, and in fact repeated by those content to execute measurements, collect information, and neither research or relay their findings to the expert public. In short, those who favour secret and internal »research« reprove those who share their research and reports with expert and other public for allegedly divulging business secrets, though they know they are professionally bound to conduct research openly and that RTVS is a public institution.
Who were the deciding factors at the medium, who »frequently tasked the analysts of audiences and programmes to be as critical as possible?«
Such were few. One was Ante Novak; dr. Janez Jerovshek also allowed it. However, Ante Novak was able to do so, because he was not a mere holder of function or functions. (Before, he was Chairman of RTVL Assembly, a director of the scientific institutions ISU EK (Institute of Sociology of the University of Edvard Kardelj in Ljubljana), earlier he was director of former Yugoslav Federal Institute for Statistics (i.e. truth of the Yugoslav system in numbers), and after the War, he was a dependable Party man, one of Boris Kidrich’s close co-workers. Still, he advocated critical research, even saying it must become the Institution’s mirror and conscience. Dr Janez Jerovshek was also once at that same scientific institute, we could say his scientific journey began there, he was hatched there.
In spite of his exposed position in the SSDS party, now Jansha’s SSDS, his approach to critical research differed, he allowed and even supported it. Perhaps infection stems from this wretched institute, or is merely a matter of personality. The regime of the time knew well why found or close it, and whom it closed down.
And it cannot be overlooked that it was these two men who perpetrated one report each, fundamental or key for understanding the RTVL-S medium, while at the same time a research report They found unacceptable and unforgivable.
Already in 1978, Ante Novak’s analysis of subscription (Argumentation of the Proposal to Abolish RTV Subscription fees and Introduce Contribution for RTV) revealed there is no such thing as RTV subscription, that it was essentially a covert form of state tax. In his one of a kind Handover Report Dr Janez Jerovshek exposed the issue of lodges at RTVL/S, which is a key issue for the understanding of the »game of power« at said institution. Both complete contributions were published in the Historical Memory of the RTVL/S Institution, Reivja SRP. *10, 11
Both contributions solve an important issue and are indispensable in the Catalogue of Problems of Projekt SRP, a contribution to the resolution of key issues at the RTVL/S medium. Without Novak’s analysis of subscription my contribution to the resolution of the issue Of the Legitimacy of Subscription Fees for Radio-Television and Value Orientation of the Medium could also not exist. *12
Well, there were surely a few more, who seriously advocated autonomous and critical research of the medium and at the medium, but not as loudly, or did not posses deciding power. On the most part they only advocated it by declaration or even norm. After all, the research in the research departments (RO) was defined by the Law on Research Activity, and by activity and expert orientation RO were equated with autonomous scientific institutes. (I transferred from ISU to DERPO RTVL in 1979. It was important to me that at the time that this unit was equated in status with independent RO and offered even better conditions concerning public availability of its research than ISU, but it soon became apparent that this was a considerable error on my part.) (See: *9.1 Ouverture to a Burial Ritual of the Bilten SShP, Abolition of Public Accessibility of Research, Revija SRP 7/8, 1995.)
However, it could also be true that stimulating (in reality allowing) critical research of the medium »sooner resulted in ignorance than use of data«, because ignorance truly was the main weapon or tool in engaging critical research and researchers (before and after direct confrontation). And truly, the said ignorance is all too painful for me, I pay it too much mind. Still, it always turned out that, when it fails, it fails for the past. Above all, research is not merely servicing data! This also was frequently stated and accepted in competent positions! (in the sense of a declaration, of course.)
Who should support editors and redactors in the autonomy of their decisions and how this must be done, in order for them to be autonomous in their decisions?
Actually, redactors and editors at RTVLS (except for truly rare exceptions) traditionally didn’t even want to be autonomous and independent, they were dependent on and addicted to the Party, League of Communists, and now parties!
Never has anyone appointed any critical researchers at RTVL/S, particularly not systematically, opposite redactors and editors; as it is these are two incomparable categories at the M. M. institution. At any rate, they take any criticism poorly and are particularly intolerant of critical medium research. And compared to editors, a critical researcher at the M. M. institution is no one (counts for nothing), except in their creations (articles, books), but at the M. M. these also count for nothing!
In addition, a researcher, if truly a searcher, in every case has the role of critic (approaching their research critically, based on values) and is likewise critical in the affirmative research role, with a predetermined, well-founded and so-expressed affirmative approach (as for example my approach in my book Revelation to John or On Three Values). If they are not critical, they are merely apologists. But it would be wrong to think that such an extremely affirmative approach does not include open reflection and self-reflection. This is something specialists know and notice, and the result is exactly the same as in the case of extremely critical approach, except with other inquisitors (inquisition commissions change).
Some day, RTVS will need to deeply study the Istanbul Declaration on media in democratic societies and at that point ask: was there ever a norm, direction, declarative orientation against the critical and complex research at the medium, which the decision makers at RTVS called on more unjustifiably or falsely than is the case with (non-)use of this wretched Istanbul Declaration?
I think not! In short, I think that Revija SRP will continue to research important matters unpleasant to the medium, divulge them to the public, and point out facts the medium would rather not know or see; the essential object of its observation and critical assessment is the system (though it appears we are only interested in the medium); formerly we called it society and the antagonism between man and system simply melted away in the idyll of the very term »society«.
Allow me to end this self-examination by again asking, as I did in the Paths and Blunders of SSS (self-governing socialist society):
What is it that allows me no peace, so that I constantly peruse historical memory and rouse unpleasant ghosts and their atmosphere?
The meaning of this detective story is for the individual to ask what point there is to overly extensive institutionalization? I think it is the question: What disruptive consequences did and still does this wretched patronage of power have for the meaning of institutionalized research and production? Predominant (political) power, censorship, and self-censorship are inseparable, they permeate each-other; they result in the loss of meaning and magic of autonomous creativity.
However, such examination and general conclusions are not problematic at all, nor are they meaningful if the interviewer does not introduce the tangible category of names, at least as examples. This is truly problematic and leads to commotion among the powerful and mighty, right up until...
If I may repeat: while so very few ask questions and even they are not always bold enough, those with the right view of research and all production at the institution, as I tried to research and uncover, can set Content foundations for the work procedures of programme and audience research services and write Basic Guidelines for the work of the services devise Drama of Organisation and decree 10 of its Commandments (see: Guru-style Inspired Proposal of the Reorganisation and the Management of RTV Slovenia in the time up to the year 2000: Restructuring of RTVS and The Commentary of its Ten Commandments).
This victorious march of editors of matters, goes as far as regulating viewers, writing forewords stating how individual mediums’ creations should be correctly watched and understood, e.g. the said two TV series (Paths and Blunders of the SSS – (self-governing socialist society), Problems of Creating a TV Series at the RTVL institution and artistic direction of the SSR – (self-governing socialist realism) in late 1970’s Yugoslavia.)
If I am to speculate a bit here at the end, with this impression fresh in my mind, and perhaps untenably comment on just a few (of my) dear contributions, disliked by the institution, considered unacceptable by the RTVS institution because they express particular views on issues at the medium and system, which would not give me a moment’s pause as an editor; I focus on those among them and their like, which I perpetrated myself, as well as a few, which belong in the Catalogue of Problems research project and were my public responsibility as (responsible) editor, and for the publication of which I campaigned with authors and the editorial board, and not least those, which, though indispensible, in my view posed a risk to SRP journal and research project (i.e. politically tricky, trying, outrageous on the unnatural political scene of the medium in the system); I would now comment:
Support for Darko Marin and Tednik and especially the ideological commission’s criticism of the criticism of its ideological role (on the part of Dr Misho Jezernik’s Programme Council) was a declaration of war for power, prosecution followed.
Criticising »trefaltism« – the legitimacy of personnel and nepotism concerning The Entertainment Programme was viewed as an outrageous attack on his person and family, and not as criticism of nepotism and a micro-value system of one.
Criticising public opinion survey manipulation (public opinion research perverted to become its production) in Lado Ambrozhich’s news programme was viewed as a clear-cut case of counter-governmental service, a liberal conspiracy.
The very former leading champions in the struggle for the freedom of thought and (their) writing did not view the criticism of inability to communicate with RTVS Council chairman Rudi Sheligo as at least disclosing the smuggling of »Orwellism« (specifically – prohibition of freedom of thought and writing at the medium and wider), but rather as an intolerable attack on the greatness and authority of the first and topmost in the medium’s hierarchy. Or, I am mistaken and in this case criticism was understood correctly, but no one at RTVS dared peep to this effect.
Matjazh Hanzhek’s critique of Dukes’ RTVS reorganization project was dismissed as an attempt to oppose Europeanization and Worldliness of the RTVS medium, in short as criticism from the position of narrow Slovenian provincialism rather than the contrary, exposing provincial weakness of uncritically trusting celebrity gurus (of exotic experience) in matters as important as the reorganization of Slovenian national radio-television, let alone expert, though merely introductory criticism of phase one of the reorganization project; after all it is supported and co-financed by the Slovenian Ministry of Science and Technology.
Surprisingly, Mag. Ciril Gale’s interview with Borut Shuklje (Revija SRP 7/8, 1995), was the one viewed as clear evidence of alliance with former political opponents. I think the interviewee was not left unscathed; there was no happy ending for him or us. Most of this and similar sanctions of the written word left no proof, what is left is my purported speculation and the fact that Ciril Gale no longer conducts interviews for RTV STIK (the public relations office bulletin) nor for Revija SRP. *13
All three compositions concerning the new dir. gen. Zharko Petan: from the contribution by Taras Kemauner With Petan’s Dramatics, *14 to Matevzh Krivic’s A Judge’s Unfavourable Separate Opinion *15 and finally my contribution to the immutability of an uncontrollable journal Personal Legitimacy of a Medium in the System, *16 were viewed as personal attacks on the undisputed Europe-wide established cultural intellectual, a noted personality Zharko Petan and his just fight for an independent civil Slovenian radio-television, we could even say Revija SRP no. 7/8, 1995 was dedicated to him.
Peter Bozhich’s contribution, Tulechi Dervish, *17 perhaps echoed with slightly less bile in the halls of RTVS, though I don’t know why. RTVS journalists are indubitably a special caste – appointees of the first order and could easily feel attacked and offended in their untouchable greatness. Perhaps they feared him after all?
The publication of the Handover Report by the stepped down dir. gen. Dr Janez Jerovshek (particularly the chapter on lodges at the RTVS) excited all sides, the left, the right, and the middle. I can read this as proof there are converts in left and right lodges as well as in-between, or that these days, lodges can get along reasonably well and come to mutual understandings. A rare radical criticism of our newest political dramaturgy has been thoroughly exposed by Taras Kermauner’s contribution, The self-delusional Broken Hero n Revija SRP 9/10. *18
I certainly never received the slightest approval from any notable party for my publication of The Fourth Consideration of Power, (Power in Itself, the Democracy of Power, Slovenian Elections 1992). *19
Of course I am not deluding myself that my part in the fight of the Bastille of Communism let alone my writing o the Lost Battle and about Them in the section From the Historical Memory could ever be erased (forgiven) by the left, the former left, or more precisely, the former regime’s elites.
I assume that my renewed publication and comments of the Games of the System, *20 and Janez Premk’s Process, (Proposal for Renewal and Revision of the Process, for the Labour and Social Court, and Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia),*21 also doesn’t incite particular understanding, the same goes for perusing more remote hist. memory of The Paths and Blunders of the SSS – (self-governing socialist society), Drama Redaction’s Problems in Creating TV series at the RTVL institution and SSR – (Self-governing Socialist Realism) artistic movement in late 1970s Yugoslavia. *22
I have here certainly not listed all contributions that most excited those, who lay in wait for the particular opportunity to express their dismay with lack of allegiance to the institution, its poltroons. I don’t even know all of them, but above all else I must emphasise that this dismay has no particularly bearing on the cogency and gravity of the mentioned and other SRP contributions, however such speculative monologue is worth recording for Revija SRP’s future hist. memory; it is due to this very absence of discussion, or better, written debate, that I have no other option.
I generally think that external contributors were less invocative of hallway gossip (the further from the medium they were, also physically). This is the case with Lev Detela’s contributions RTV Between Crisis and Rise and Mixed (up) Forms of Modern Television Strategies, *23, 24 Taras Kermauner’s Politics, Justice, Consceince / With Petan’s Dramatics, Matevzh Krivic’s A Judge’s Separate Opinion. Or, it will again turn out that bent-backs at the medium fear, and respect, some external collaborators more than others. I am not saying that no bad blood and institutional dismay were incurred by the first, literary section of the journal (that is, tentatively accepting such a division, which we contributors are not). Literary content supplemented and relaxed the variation of the journal’s value orientation (again tentatively, being experts, we adhered to certain literary methods and expressive techniques). It is significant for the affirmation of creativity and creators, as well as instructive for the institution that we also published, for example, important and good radio and television creations, which were discarded in institutional selection or insufficiently acknowledged. However, literature is in the purview of chief editor Franci Zagorichnik as well as entire Journal’s editorial board. If I were now to speculate and, of course in my own way, attempt a commentary on literary contributions, I would quickly overstep my assignment – chief editor’s pre-set dominion. I can, however, say that to more than a few medium’s experts, metaphorical poetic diction-language is even more inaccessible and incomprehensible than the more-or-less polemical (discussion and discussing) part of the journal’s content.
Anyway, officially the journal is not notable, and does not exist. Though I strongly suspect that the institution – entrenched in its power – needed such occasional rejuvenation through uncompromising critical thinking and expression. And it was likewise, if not more, needed by the system, which is sufficiently ignorant of the power of – its strongest – medium (ministry of truth), and when taking it seriously well needed indeed.
I still strongly suspect that we do this, write this, not for Them, but rather for ourselves and those rare individuals interested in the system so they may defend against its often excessive concern with the wellbeing of man.
Whether such visible problems (as seen by the internal institutional opinion of the RTVS institution) can even be more mildly (mollified), pleasantly (placated), and almost non-problematically publicized, I do not know. Perhaps someone else can, I cannot, and even if I succeeded in such a feat, the resulting contribution would seem to me inanimate, stifled to death.
This is how I see the issues of my being editor today. I must now say, that such a view is not entirely up to me. It is also defined by the medium’s and system’s ruling political climate. The Machiavellian mentality of the ruling parvenus is particularly given to the belief that any serious opposition must stem from some sort of political plot. Assembling a suitable one-sided selection of quotes could demonstrate, but not prove, that Revija SRP exists solely to attack all key proponents of the purported (especially right-wing) democratisation of the medium, and so-called right civil society. But let us not forget, it is They who
controlled the medium, and, in my opinion, did so rather unskilfully. This is why they were afforded our special gratitude and excessive attention, they were particularly prioritised. And I must admit that a reader, inattentive to details and infused with the habit of haut-polemics, is shown such, and only such intent. Once changes of key positions of power recur once again, these and such contributions may perhaps even be tolerated at the medium, but will be replaced by others, chiefly from the section To Refresh the Memory of the RTVL/S Institution. And again it could serve to demonstrate, but not prove conclusively, that Revija SRP existed with a single or predominant purpose of revanchist settling accounts with (non)successors of the Communist Party and the Self-governing Socialist Society. Sharper political thinkers of the extreme left and right of the political scene (in today’s sense) already agree (perhaps even unanimously) that they have no use whatsoever for a journal such as Revija SRP and find it easier to come to agreements amongst themselves than with eternal opponents, who in their opinion don’t possess the awareness to make serious grabs for power or at least some agreement with it. As Simon Kardum stated, they know not what they are doing (»a journal whose creators have not yet decided and become aware (and when they do, it will of course be too late«). I comment that it is not yet too late for him, I wish him much creative collaboration with the RTVS institution (»also in terms of programming«), we helped more than a few, at least in so far as, once faced with atrocities and nullities displayed by Revija SRP, they more easily expressed their loyalty and understanding to powerful institutions of the system and its mighty.
It probably goes without saying that criticism, of course, accomplished nothing at the RTVS medium. The journal’s further orientation could perhaps overcome excessive focus on a single, though most powerful medium of the system (RTVS).
It served as a good starting point in illuminating key problems of the system. It was better to start off with an in-depth discussion of one medium we know well, than several conducted imprecisely. However this is not the only medium and the system is also about to undergo a radical change. Then this will be Europe and no longer the Republic of Slovenia, a mere sub-system of a large system, which is exactly the climate we are used to and in which we function best. Freedom, even if institutional-systemic freedom, is a burden to which we Slovenians are unused.
SRP-ians could not be fascinated by this great drama of institutionalization, though we find it extremely interesting as an object of observation, reflection. The journal will be able to stay its own individual self, in no rush to get to Europe; not because it is already there, but because no individual wishes to be domesticated in any system. The side of the individual stands opposite institutions and their stifling. We truly have nothing to be ashamed of here, not in Europe. The end result of antagonism between individual and system, man and merely his role, freedom and power, will not be determined, defined, or gifted by any system or institution.
At the close of this chapter in a sensible-nonsensical attempts of the man. ed. of Revija SRP, allow me to restate my doubt, constantly nagging even when I think I conquered or surpassed it entirely. What if I was consistently fundamentally wrong throughout my self-reflection – observation of myself as an individual, my role as researcher and never-to-be managing editor of a journal within a M. M. institution and (its) system and in all these activities, although I always give and project the opposite (too-often sovereign) impression? This is, in fact, a fairly frequent criticism on the part of the hierarchs of my written work as well as actual conduct in the institutions of the system. If this is the case, than the blunder was committed by a tangible individual with a name and last name, this is probably no terrible thing. It is worse if I am not wrong as often as the strong and loyal think, at least in my basic theses and statements. It is all the more terrible, when those very people have their way, who say that typically in this relationship the individual is wrong, and the institution and system are right, and that their opinion, which is not theirs, is the institution’s, the system’s. This story is familiar to us from before, except it was then said that society always comes before individual. Fairly recently we saw how that ended and who was right. Irrelevant of the answer to the posed question, I must maintain that my strategy in SRP’s relation to RTVS, attempting at least minimal cohabitation, failed completely. It is time to refresh the initiative or transform it into a more flexible version of itself. My role as managing editor and failed negotiator must cease, and the role of chief editor Franci Zagorichnik, if he so desires, and perhaps the entire editorial board, whosoever wishes, expand. In other words, it is time for me to resign; in keeping with tradition I do this with due consideration, as much as I am able, and in writing, as well as I know how.
Allow me only, for reasons of propaganda, to restate the appeal from the introduction to the Games of the System in SRP 9/10, only in slight variation:
But so it is to this day that hierarchs, diplomats, and all idol-givers to political power very well know (like textbooks) and understand the – one and only – »Ruler«, while individuals do not know about the »Discourse on Voluntary Slavery«. And they also know the messages of the powerful medium (like a breviary), only it do they trust without objection, unaware of SRP journals, no longer perceptive to their messages, not in this tone, and even if they knew them, they would not believe them, not in this melody!
Ljubljana, 1 July, 1995
Op.1: (See: Pisma programskemu svetu I - VII, Revija SRP 1/2, 1993 and documents about the inititative of Revija SRP nos. 1/2 do 7/8).
Op.8: (See: Upravljanje RTV Slovenija v obdobju do leta 2000, Problem reorganizacije Radiotelevizije Slovenija; Analiza porochila 1. faze razvojnega projekta, Porochilo o prvi stopnji razvojnega projekta z naslovom: Prestrukturiranje RTV Slovenija, ki sta ga financhno podprla, Ministrstvo za znanost in tehnologijo ter Ministrstvo za kulturo, Matjazh Hanzhek, Revija SRP 5/6, 1994).
Op.9.1: Uvertura v pogrebni ritual Biltena SShP, Ukinjanje javnosti raziskovanja, Iz Raziskave o raziskovanju, Bilten SShP 51, Radiotelevizija Ljubljana, SShP, marca 1983; (in the section Za osvezhitev zgodovinskega spomina institucije RTVL/S), Revija SRP 7/8, 1995.
Op.15: Svoboda slovenskega radia in televizije na Ustavnem sodishchu Slovenije, Ob »nepotrditvi« Zharka Petana in razveljavitvi zakonske podlage zanjo; Odlochba Ustavnega sodishcha v »zadevi Petan«; Odklonilno locheno mnenje sodnika – Matevzha Krivica, SRP 7/8, 1995).
Op.16: Personalna legitimiteta medija v sistemu, Primer gen. dir. RTVS Zharka Petana na vrhovnem in ustavnem sodishchu in institucionalne vrednote medija v legitimiteti sistema in Poseben propagandni dodatek – O neposrednih dejstvih zavesti, Revija SRP 7/8, 1995).
Op.19: Igre sistema, Spoved sistemu, O sistemu v luchi sistemske teorije in malo drugache, Traktat o svobodi ali Vrednotni sistem, knjiga, Zalozhba LUMI, 1992, Ljubljana; and Igre sistema (komentar), Revija SRP 5/6, 1995; Igre sistema, Revija Srp 9/10, 1995).
Op.21: Poti in stranpoti SSD – (samoupravne socialistichne druzhbe), Problemi v ustvarjanju TV nadaljevanke na instituciji RTVL in umetnishke, smeri SSR – (samoupravnega socrealizma) v Jugoslaviji iz konca 70 let, Revija SRP 9/10, 1995, (Poti in stranpoti II, Analiza odmevnosti na nadaljevanko Poti in stranpoti, Bilten SShP 31, 1979, Ljubljana; Poti in stranpoti, Izstopajocha stalishcha o nadaljevanki kot indikator druzhbenih protislovij ali druzhbenih problemov z vidika komunikacijskega procesa, chlanek, revija: Bilten SShP, nos. 1, 2, 1979, Ljubljana; Kvalitativna analiza vsebine kritichnih zapisov in mnenj o nadaljevanki »Poti in stranpoti« v slovenskem tisku, chlanek, revija: Bilten SShP, sht. 3, 1979, Ljubljana).
Op.26: Vsebinska izhodishcha za programe dela sluzhb raziskovanja programov in obchinstva were created at the Radio’s research unit, unsigned, from the note it is clear they were sent to the dir. of RA programmes Andrej Rot by Mrs Vida Shrot, the chief of the Radio’s research unit (evidently they are also included in the materials for the treatise on the research at the RTVS Council Sluzhba za raziskavo programov Osnovne smernice za delo sluzhbe). *27
Op.27: The document’s title is Sluzhba za raziskavo programov (subtitles: Osnovne smernice za delo sluzhbe, Organizacija sluzhb in vmeshchenost v organigram RTVS, Objektivnost in neodvisnost sluzhb za raziskovanje, Dostopnost raziskav, Teze za razpravo o raziskovanju programov RTVS). The document was signed by TVS directors of (Radio and Television) programmes Andrej Rot and Janez Lombergar, making it the official starting point for RTVS Council’s discussion (29. Jun1995, 10th regular session).
Concluding remark: We failed to understand each other, speaking different languages, but if the system’s decision-makers about the medium would make even the slightest effort they could find in the research about the medium and particularly in Revija SRP a thought or two about the medium’s inevitable fate, which they co-create, not always consciously; a few of these thoughts perhaps never occur to them. There is more about this in the contribution selected specifically for this issue for the section: Iz zgodovinskega spomina, Medij noche vedeti (Propad mastodontka ali le kriza nacionalnega medija).