In the spirit of the conference on the future of Europe, the Europe Direct Koroška Information Centre organized a literary-political discussion on the current perception of the socio-political situation in Europe among the inhabitants of the Koroška region. The discussion was organized based on a literary competition held from February to September 2020. The virtual event was attended by MEPs, including MEP Irena Joveva, the European Commission Representation in Slovenia, and members of the literary competition committee.

The committee announced the three best works, and at the beginning of the conversation, the author read their winning work on the turtle named Sofija. The short story addresses environmental issues, and MEP Irena Joveva said it was a text that should be internalized by all of us.

Next, she addressed media freedom and the importance of investigative journalism and warned that freedom of media is an issue in democratic societies as well. During the pandemic, journalists face increasing difficulties in accessing official information, which is the only way to provide adequate information to the public and assure an open and plural media space. Another challenge is resources. “Good investigative journalism requires time and resources, which is becoming increasingly difficult. The corona crisis is merely accelerating this trend and investigative journalism is under increasing pressure. There is a great risk that important stories that are in the public interest remain untold.” At the same time, in many countries, including the EU region, an atmosphere of hatred towards the media and journalists is being fomented systematically:

It is a goal-driven process that has been intensifying in recent years, with the media owned by political parties leading the way. These parties are taking advantage of the void left behind by crises, economically weak media owners, changes in the habits of media content users, etc. However, if the media freedom falls, so does democracy. If democracy falls, freedom is the next in line.

On all the opportunities offered by digitalization, the MEP drew attention to the fact that some technology giants control much of our lives and directly threaten the democracy of our societies, with most subscriptions flowing into large media companies. At the same time, a lot of information is available for free on the Internet. Asked if money could mean freedom, she replied: “Certainly money does not bring a sense of freedom. Good investments are much more important than accumulating money. The best and most profitable life investment is the one in our mind and knowledge. Do not count the stars. Become a star. The star of your own mental universe.

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