Journalism student Lea Majcen reminded Slovenians, and other democratic nations, of the importance of journalism by revealing an exceedingly unqualified government official.
On February 16 2017, Majcen interviewed high-ranking Slovenian government official Tilen Smolnikar after a public hearing about financing for renewable energies. Smolnikar struggled during the interview and was unable to answer the majority of the 12 questions Majcen asked. Shortly after the interview, Smolnikar was dismissed from his position.
Majcen is still a university student, but has been working for Kanal A (Channel A) news as a junior correspondent for six months. ?We used only a journalist?s strongest weapon: questions,? said Majcen during an interview with local broadcaster Croatian TV RTL. Local news networks across Bosnia, Croatia, and Macedonia have regarded the story as a rare example of active political accountability.
Local news networks have covered the story, but there hasn?t been any English mainstream media coverage as of March 15, 2017. In a time when the purposes and importance of journalism are under constant scrutiny, this is a prime example of the role journalism plays in a democratic society. By exposing a high-powered government official who clearly wasn?t qualified for the position, Majcen fulfilled her journalistic duties by informing the public and potentially changing the political climate in Slovenia. Since the interview, there has been a public outcry in Slovenia demanding more accountability and transparency from the government.
Kristina Markalaus, ?Young Slovenian Journalist Sacked a Politician: I?m Glad That We?ve Achieved a Change with the Strongest Weapon a Journalist Has,? Fairpress.eu, February 22, 2017, http://www.fairpress.eu/blog/2017/02/22/young-slovenian-journalist-sacked-politician-im-glad-weve-achieved-change-strongest-weapon-journalist/.
Filip Stojanovski, ?She?s Still in School, But This Slovenian Journalist Just Took Down a High-Powered State Official,? Global Voices, February 26, 2017, https://globalvoices.org/2017/02/26/shes-still-in-school-but-this-slovenian-journalist-just-took-down-a-high-power-state-official/#.
Student Researcher: Cory Coleman (University of Regina)
Faculty Evaluator: Patricia Elliott (University of Regina)