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Interview with the President of the Republic for

Ljubljana, 01/01/2007  |  interview

The interview of the President of the Republic of Slovenia Dr Janez Drnovšek for slovenian web site is published below.
Published on: 1st January 2007

Where did you celebrate the New Year?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: At home.

Have you obtained your first Slovenian euros?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: No.

You celebrate Christmas. Do you decorate a Christmas tree, set up a crib?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: I do celebrate it, but without a Christmas tree or a crib.

You were chosen as the web person of the year 2006 by namely, many people were rather surprised to see you publish your reflections on the website, for this is the first Slovenia’s example of a politician on such a high position having decided to communicate with the public through this “unofficial” channel – in such an intense way. What made you choose such a manner of communication?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: In this way my communications directly address a broad public. When communicating only through the media, many a message is lost, while it may be read on the Internet in the integral form.

What has been your experience so far? Namely, the National Assembly has lately issued several critical remarks on that you communicate and comment through the website rather than personally…
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: My experience with the Internet communication has been good. The communications have a fairly broad response and mostly achieve their purpose. If we communicate mostly within different bodies – Government, National Assembly… - this frequently creates a closed circle where bodies deal with themselves. Since my Internet communications are quoted in other media, they reach a relatively great number of people, even those without the Internet.

Do you have an imaginary profile of the reader reading your notes on the Gibanje za pravičnost in razvoj (Movement for Justice and Development) website, or do you try to address the broadest possible circle of Internet users?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: What matters is communications. Their aim is not to flatter the readers, but to warn them and sometimes to awaken them, raise their awareness. The aim of my communications is not to boost my personal popularity, but to reveal the truth regardless of the fact that some people may not like it.

Upon the launch, the Gibanje website had contained a forum, which was later removed. Furthermore, your contributions cannot be commented directly (individuals being able to write only their own contributions). Why? Why are people not allowed to express their opinions directly?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: I do not want to host my own debating society, they are numerous anyway and everybody may find their own. Those who understand and accept my communications do not need a debate. Those who do not, however, have endless possibilities to say it elsewhere. Nevertheless, I do not want to obscure the clarity of my communications on my web page by including a number of other people’s opinions. My communications are positive as a rule and their aim is to help people. I do not want this to disappear.

Lately your efforts to resolve the Darfour conflict have lost their priority role. What are your current activities in this field?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: As regards Darfour, I have done everything I possibly could in this year. I have launched a humanitarian and political action. Unfortunately, international organisations are inefficient, while superpowers are burdened with their own interests, thus failing to follow the human interests. The destiny of the Darfour people is a warning to all of us. Humanity cannot resolve great humanitarian crises, at least not on time.

Have you been in contact with the American actor George Clooney, who puts many efforts in the resolution of this problem as well?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: Not directly, but many well-known international names have participated in our action “World for Darfour”. For a moment we succeeded to awaken the conscience of humanity.

Recently the SiOl server has published a blog containing the contributions from your column at the Gibanje website. Are you the actual author of the SiOl blog or is it just a new channel of promoting your communications?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: SiOl offered to publish my Internet communications, which I gladly accepted. It edits the responses to my texts, too.

In general, it seems your presence at the web will increase even further. To what extent and how? Or are we wrong?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: We will see what future may bring. It may surprise us, which I already pointed out in my communications. I hope people took those seriously.

Do you think that the abundance of blogs and masses of people communicating through this medium reduces or increases its importance?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: Internet is a very useful medium. However, finding the right balance applies to it, too. Internet life cannot replace the actual life, it can but simplify it. Therefore we must rationalise our use of the Internet and use it only when necessary. If used too much, it begins to lose its meaning and its power.

How do you comment the efforts of the European Union, whose Plan D aims at reducing the gap between the politicians and the people? Is the Internet a proper tool to reduce this gap?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: The Internet may play a very important role in this process. I believe my experience is an example of this. Politicians will need to change their patterns of behaviour if they wish to re-establish the contact with the people. They will need to step down from the pedestal and start calling a spade a spade. The Internet allows them to communicate their views in an integral manner, without any subsequent selections of what will reach the public. Namely, this is what other media frequently do. Furthermore, it would be beneficial if they wrote their texts themselves, like I do, and not have them written by media experts.

Do you wish other politicians in Slovenia to make a more intensive use of the Internet in order to communicate and express opinions?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: This would do them no harm, and people would become better acquainted with their views.

To what extent do you consider personal contact with the recipients of your communications necessary?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: This enables the genuine character of the communications.

Were you afraid of the new medium in the beginning?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: Until I began to use it.

Do you read other people’s blogs? Which ones? Which are your favourite websites?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: I do not wish to give them away.

Does your home at Zaplana have a direct Internet access?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: Yes.

What is your evaluation of the past year: has it been really as favourable for Slovenia as presented by the Government, or have been real problems obscured by great historical events: changeover to the euro, EU and OSCE presidency…
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: The year was both good and bad. Major topics must not lure us into forgetting about minor problems of individuals, citizens. To me, these “minor” issues are presently more important than the “major” ones. Slovenia will be as successful as it can handle the problems of its citizens. Major events come and go without bringing much benefit to ordinary people.

2006 was strongly characterised also by the attitude of Slovenians towards the Roma. How do you comment the demolition of the Strojan family home (questions had been sent to the President prior to his housing container action, which took place on 24 December; author’s note)?
Dr. Janez Drnovšek: The pre-Christmas demolition of the Strojan home is one of the most shameful events of the past year.
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