April 2009

A new president wanted for the years 2014 - 2019
Educated nurse is a doctor’s partner
Mrs Professor, what does giving the birth mean to you?
What does your graduate have to know?
Are students interested in studying at your school?
Would you accept more applicant if you could?
So, what are you worried about?
What do you think the present Slovak health care system lacks?
What are the main duties and responsibilities of a dental hygienist?
How did dentists accept this new profession?
Who is Prof. PhDr. Anna Eliašová, PhD.
Journalist industry needs philanthropist
Headlines by Dimenzie
Lack of Reasonable Solution
Passivity is not a solution
Prepared by: Goran Balagovič
Fixing the Fed
Swings in Monetary Policy
Russia does know very well about the value of Georgia
Laboratory for Tests and Trials
Kosovo Albanians versus the UN
For Dimenzie: Nenad Radičevič (a foreign commentator of the Serbian Daily Politika)

A new president wanted for the years 2014 - 2019
Slovakia has experienced the third direct election of the president.” Glory to the winner, honour to the loser.” Iveta Radičová congratulated Ivan Gašparovič on winning the election; Mr President said nothing in terms of her defeat. Is it so typical of him? Or is it just his tactlessness? If Mr President had better counsellors, he would have thanked Mrs Radičová, at least formally, for having been such a dignified opponent. Unfortunately, mentality and culture of Slovak politicians still lack elegance, gestures and recognition of opponent’s qualities. However, it is the same with Mrs Radičová´s supporters who remained silent or whistled when she was asking her people to congratulate Ivan Gašparovič and respect the results of the election. What an easy game it is to play a democrat, however, it is not so easy to be one! Either, if one wins or loses. What on earth would have happened in our country if the winner had invited his opponent to meet like gentlemen and talk, for example, about the future of Slovakia in coming five years, how to develop the culture of Slovaks and all minorities, education, foreign policy, position of Slovakia in the European Union and the contribution of Slovakia in the European politics? The campaign was about anything but not the topics mentioned above. And what is even worse, neither of the candidates had proposed the change of the electoral law so that the campaign could last at least two months and not poor fifteen days. And neither did they propose the change according to which citizens living abroad were allowed to vote. If we have to believe that the election is about personalities, how did those two candidates presented themselves as personalities? Neither of them had called the press conference where he/she would have presented his/her electoral team and topics he/ she would like to deal with as a president. How or what did they intend to represent Slovakia with? Instead of disputes, we were supposed to get interested in pathetic slogans and billboards. Ivan Gašparovič paid attention to nationalism and social programmes, however, he did not go into details, no precise statements were made in this field. He just relied on the cooperation with the Prime Minister and the speaker of the Slovak Parliament. Iveta Radičová declared a kind of courage to be better and a sort of polite politics. Both of them were vague, their slogans lacked the contents and vision. Moreover, some media created the atmosphere that Slovakia needs new November 1989 (The Velvet Revolution was held at the time.) and that Mrs Radičová is Slovak Hilary Clinton or even new Obama? What an absurd thing to say! The public was believed to think that the election was about the fight between good and evil, Slovaks and Hungarians, between communists and democrats. What a pathetic vision when we realize the fact that many people operating in both teams are graduates from socialistic university education, working methods and ways of thinking…
Yet, Slovakia does not have the president as a kind of integrating personality that would be extraordinary due to his/ her opinions, philosophy, intellect, morality and charm not only in Slovakia but also in Central Europe. In case of Mrs Radičová, it was not enough to play the role of Slovak Havel (the former Czech president). And it is also not enough (Gašparovič´s case) to show interest in national and social issues and not to be able to respond to appeals and challenges allowing Slovakia and its citizens to move forward. Our country is still ruled by apathy, lack of interest and people are fed up, they miss enthusiasm and joy of life. Mr President has begun his everyday routine again and Mrs Radičová got involved in the inner- party struggle for the electoral leader of SDKU-DS for the parliamentary election next year.
Show has finished and we must go on. We have a president voted by 1.2 million people. Almost two million voters (49%) did not take part. It is an obvious answer given to all parliamentary parties and their leaders. People are not interested in political and party division of Slovakia into Bratislava and the rest of the republic, into north and south, into the capital city and the regions, into Slovaks and Hungarians. If Slovak society is unable to generate better candidates for the Slovak president in Slovakia, they should give a chance to respected and reputable Slovaks living abroad.
 
Róbert Matejovič, editor in chief


Educated nurse is a doctor’s partner
“If everything that we have taught our students is transferred to their performance in health care institutions, we will have Slovak health care of a high quality as well as at the professional level,” claims Professor Anna Eliašová, a Dean of the Faculty of Health Care of the University of Prešov.
 
Róbert Matejovič
Photo: Jozef Veselý
 
She is a pioneer in implementing new studying programmes and higher education of health care employees in non- medical studying programmes in Slovakia. From historical point of view, she belongs to the first three professors- women in the field of health care, originally a nurse. In 1993, she became a member of the group of experts TAIEX where she operated as a grant for the specialization midwifery. This group analysed, judged and prepared individual studying programmes and their implementation in the educational system. In 1993, first nurses and midwives studied post- secondary specializing study at the Secondary Nursing School in Prešov. Until then, this specialization had had a four- year form of studying completed by the “Maturita examination” (British A-levels) at secondary nursing schools.
 
Mrs Professor, what does giving the birth mean to you?
Giving a birth to a child is tightly connected with the profession of a midwife; however, we just cannot perceive it as a profession but a mission. There is nothing as amazing as being present at the birth of a new life. Giving a birth to a child is not the most difficult thing to do. It is to bring up a child to be a good and caring person and it is a lifelong process. If I wanted to transform my idea to our faculty, I could compare giving a birth to enrol the students but what is much more difficult is to make them specialist able to work in practice.
 
You watch physical and mental health of young women and girls carefully as well as the level of the sexual education and the latest trends in terms of using chemical and hormonal contraception. What do you think of its influence on a human body, mainly young girls? Are older women and mothers’ well- informed about the kinds and influence of various sorts of contraception? Is contraception for women or women for contraception, i.e. is it all about business?
First of all, we must be all aware of the fact that health is supposed to be our highest priority we were given when born. Taking pills in any form has also negative influence. In general, let’s try to see what we could change. A special subject “Health Education” should be included in studying programmes even at primary schools. Of course, featuring preventive aspect. Let’s teach young people how to be responsible for their health, lead them to become parents after having planned, to contraception as based on our researches our students did at schools, there is lack of information on these issues. If we are successful, the word “business” will find no place here.
 
Originally, you worked as a midwife. What was your motivation to study and pursue higher education for your colleagues and nurses?
I did not like traditional view on the profession of a midwife and her under evaluated position in society despite being well-educated. In the past, her education focused on medicine and not cares. A doctor was put in the position of an almighty person and a midwife was like a maid serving everyone. A patient- client and a doctor. Well, I perceived it like that. I wanted to overcome that complex of being less worth, I worked really hard so that I could pull my colleagues into different dimensions and offer them new opportunities. Undoubtedly, nurses and midwives are responsible for the entire care for a women- patient. Therefore, their task is not to be robots but to be thinking people working in a multi- disciplined team for those who need our help.
In 2002, you took part in establishing the Faculty of Health Care at the University of Prešov. It is the first faculty in Slovakia which brings up ad educates people according to programmes fully compatible the Directives of the European Union. Why did you decide to apply these directives?
The Directives set by the Strategic documents of the EU, which hare complemented by Munich Declaration, define criteria for education in non- medical studying programmes which we implemented in our studying programmes. Only applicants over 17 can study at our school. The criteria for admission are: graduation from a secondary school, General Certificate of Education, health condition, passing the entrance exam consisting of a test of biology, a fitness test and a test for giftedness. Applicant have to study programme in accordance with the criteria mentioned above (nurses have to have 4,600 lessons in a three- year programme half of which is practical education). It is possible to meet these criteria only at higher level of education. In the past, students aged between 14 and 15 started studying these specializations at secondary nursing schools. It was not correct and even non- human even, in some cases, children’s rights were violated. At that age students are just too young to make a decision about their future professional career.
Nursing like a scientific discipline become a university study at all levels, giving nurses, midwives and other health care workers different status and puts them to higher level in terms of quality. When meeting the conditions set by the documents of the EU and they belong to regulated professions with education recognized in all the countries of the EU.
 
However, Slovak nurses started going to work abroad after 1989, mainly to Austria and Germany. They were motivated by higher wages and elderly people who needed someone to look after them. On the other hand, we remember how nurses from Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland were being criticized by domestic competitors for their “dumping prices” and working illegally away from hospitals and geriatric centres and hospices as they did not have to pay any deductions and were not registered. Later, there was a pressure on legalizing their profession including necessary qualifications. What your educational reform a kind of an answer to this pressure?
 Surely, yes. However, it was one of many reasons why we established new educational trends which enable our graduates to work in the countries of the EU being provided the same conditions as graduates from home without any discrimination.
 
What does your graduate have to know?
Students are trained for the profession of a registered nurse. They obtain professional competence to provide nursing care to individuals, families, and communities focused on prevention, health maintenance, health promotion, treatment, rehabilitation and help through the method of the nursing process. Main areas of work Graduates can work as registered nurses in the clinical healthcare facilities – hospitals, home care agencies, care homes, long-term care facilities, in the community health care facilities.
 
What was the respond of doctors to your educational activities? Do they mind of you attempt to increase your qualification and professional level of nurses and midwives? Or is there still an opinion that a nurse does have to listen to a doctor who dares to touch her bottom as a kind of reward for having been a well- behaved girl“if she is an active one?
After years of experience, because I communicate with students, former graduates, hospital workers and doctors, I reached the conclusion that the opinion on nurses and midwives has already changed. Well- educated nurses and midwives are doctors´ equal partners, they work in teams and they have set up their duties and responsibilities. If you are asking me to talk about personal likeness, I have to say that they are young and attractive and obviously there is steam atmosphere among the people like anywhere else.
Apart from nurses and midwives, your faculty educates graduates with a degree in physiotherapy- physiotherapist, rescue health care- health rescuer, dental hygiene- dental hygienist. All studying programmes are in a three- year- long bachelor form of studying, nursing and physiotherapy are also in a two- year master study. How many students do you have?
At present, there are 1,110 students in both regular and external forms of studying. We were starting with 250 students in two specializations of a three- year bachelor study (nursing and midwifery). Nowadays, we provide opportunities to study five studying programmes in a bachelor form and two in master form. The condition for studying for a master degree is a bachelor degree and a year- long practice in any kind of a health care facility. All programmes are fully guaranteed, at the bachelor level by readers, master level by professors. Our faculty employs a fantastic team of people with highly human compassion and constantly working on their professional and pedagogical development. There are four professors, seven readers; twenty- one teachers with PhD degree and out of thirty- eight assistants, only four of them are not PhD students. All these aspects reflect the quality of education and training at our faculty.
Are students interested in studying at your school?
Yes. It highly exceeds our capacities and finances. In the academic year 2009/ 2010, we plan to accept 330 students in both forms of studying. So far, we have already received 900 application forms. Physiotherapy and rescue health care are on the greatest demand.
 
Would you accept more applicant if you could?
Definitely yes. But we are limited by the conditions of the accreditation commission, saying that the particular type of study cannot have more than twenty students for one teacher with PhD. Our faculty is new and we want to meet this condition within a year.  
 
However, the minister of health care asked you to increase the number of students as we lack nurses in practice. Can you do so?
Unfortunately, no. First the ministries of education and health care with have to communicate and reach an agreement. But I am glad to say that all our graduates were able to find a job and with our quality we would like to follow this trend.
 
On the one hand the conditions of accreditation, on the other hand, Minister’s request. I do not mean to speculate but if there is a lack of nurses and people working in health care while having so many faculties of health care and social studies at Slovak universities and schools of higher education, do Slovakia and its taxpayers train and educate them to work abroad…
We need to motivate people to stay at home after acquiring highly qualified education.
 
How?
To make student pay for their studies. I would solve the issue in the following way: If we have to accept a student for the programme which is on a great demand, the school will provide him/ her a loan. If a graduate stays working in Slovakia, the loan will not have to be returned. If he/ she decides to work abroad, he/ she will have to pay it pack. The state and the government that does not support education, health protection and culture will have uneducated, sick and ignorant people.
Let’s create the system of education based on payments for all forms of studying- by using loans, social benefits and contributions to enterprises employing our graduates. When Danish rescuers visited us, they were surprised that our students have everything free of charge. Considering the costs of some studying programmes and lack of specialists, foreign students are welcome to study at our school, however, they will have to pay.
 
Highly qualified nurses leaving Slovakia to work abroad-isn’t it a kind of respond to low salaries here? They usually get two or four times more than here…
How can I evaluate their performance by price? No, first I have to evaluate their work performance and quality of their nursing and then set the price based on audit. Graduates of non- doctoral studying programmes spend much more time wit a patient than doctors. The doctor defines a diagnosis and heals while others offer the patient “full service”. Let’s not forget that nurses working abroad have to work hard and show adequate performance to get a salary. Nevertheless, in Slovakia the situation is rather different.
 
So, what are you worried about?
The transmission of knowledge into practice is not fully transformed. And I really do not know whether it is about people, or conditions or we just do not feel like doing it so- but I doubt it. If everything that we have taught our students is transferred to their performance in health care institutions, we will have Slovak health care of a high quality as well as at the professional level
 
I do not mean it as a cliché, but this topic has been discussed in Slovakia for 20 years. And it is all about money; money makes the world go round- it is about state contributions and the policy of the health insurance companies. A secret war is being fought between private and state health care facilities. Is there a chance for Slovakia to get out of this circle? We have already experienced a few reforms of a health care system and education…
The change of people’s thinking is needed first. I claim that “medical people” working in state facilities have to think economically. We will not move forward unless we let top managers and specialists lead all these institutions. It means we need to carry out the internal audit, not only in personnel but also how difficult it is to provide health care. It will form the base for our future and we have to stop considering health as an unchangeable value. Who looks after his/ her health should be given some bonuses. If I care and invest in my health, health insurance companies will have minimum costs. We still believe that everything will be given free of charge, what is, of course, at the expense of quality.
 
What do you think the present Slovak health care system lacks?
Well, multi-level nursing is missing in Slovakia. We have sufficiently covered medical treatment. Nurses and midwives should work more outdoors, travelling to patients. It is an old as well as a new issue and an appeal to health care insurance companies. For example, a woman gives a birth to her child in the hospital but let’s ask a question- “What will be next?” Who else as a woman- mother deserves the highest level of health care in our society? She gives her child life. And we are just able to talk about it nicely but let’s try act following our words. We lack birth houses and hotels with complex care, our women do not have to deliver babies just in hospital.
In Slovakia, there are many people who can afford it and it is not a legislative issue. The main problem is the investor or investors.
There used to be outdoor (terrain) midwives and children nurses. So far, we have not established an affective system of agencies for home care/nursing. In terms of cost savings, it treatment at home is much cheaper than treatment in hospital. At home, you do not need to feed patients; no beds are required, either. Adequate health care and medical treatment is more than enough. I see a kind of possibility to improve the system of payments to institutions which won’t be as expensive as hospital treatment. These institutions will provide our graduates with interesting job offers. Thus we can save a lot of money but also ensure our students employment at home, in Slovakia. Both our state and insurance companies will have to think which option offers more benefits.
 
What is your opinion on following the laws concerning competences, duties and responsibilities of nurses, midwives and other health care employees?
They do everything but not were they are supposed to by the law. For example, the law defines nurse’s competences but she often does work for other people with lower degree of education and sometimes for those with higher education. Let me mention another example: a midwife can complete studies at our school by the final state examination only after 40 spontaneous baby deliveries done on her own. In practice, she does not do it at all or only in a very limited for despite her competences given by the law. And now we have reached a typical dilemma with doctors- gynaecologists who are responsible for mother’s health. My opinion is obvious: spontaneous births should be done by midwives, except for pathological births that belong to doctor’s responsibility. Experienced midwife with a university degree has to recognize the difference between physiology and pathology. Doctor’s profession is too expensive to deal with spontaneous physiological birth.
 
Does it mean that a doctor does not have to be present during spontaneous delivery?
The word doctor is connected with treatment and healing people and giving a birth to a child is not a disease. It is a physiological process. For example Germany, spontaneous giving a birth to a child is led by a midwife and a doctor does not have to be there. But, on the other hand, when the birth is led by a doctor, a midwife has to be present. She looks after a woman during the prenatal life of a child, during giving a birth and after it. And the situation is similar in many other countries of the EU. Applying this principle would help us avoid possible speculations about business and corruption just in this area.
 
In 2003, after the successful cooperation with the Czech- Slovak and Swiss company based in Zurich (Dental Schul) and the School of Dental Hygienists in Amsterdam, you participated in the preparation of accreditation for the studying programme named “Dental Hygiene” which was implemented in the faculty programme in 2004. Nowadays, you are the only faculty in the former communistic countries which educates and brings up qualified specialists in this area. Why did you decide to implement this studying programme?
Originally, we involved it as a two- year external study at the Secondary Nursing School in Prešov. And doc. MUDr. Eva Kovaľová, PhD and I began dealing with its contents thoroughly, we reached the conclusion that it was necessary to enlarge and adjust this demanding programme to very demanding European criteria according to the Dutch and Swiss models where dental hygiene has been dealt since 1915. Apart from our friends and compatriots in Switzerland, we contacted Ron Knevel, the European Dental Hygiene Coordinator, who provided us with approved contents of this studying programme.
The entire system of Swiss health care is based on prevention as everyone is aware of the fact that treatment is much more expensive. According to statistics almost 75 per cent of diseases are the consequence of problems in man’s cavity (for example a heart attack, stroke, etc.). Our main goal is to change people’s thinking in Slovakia and lead them to pay more attention their health and prevention. And we are pioneers in this field and I am very pleased that we are doing it really well. The number of applicants interested in this studying programme is increasing, and not only from Slovakia but also from abroad (the Czech Republic).  
What are the main duties and responsibilities of a dental hygienist?
The bachelor study program of dental hygiene prepares students for the profession of a dental hygienist with their own responsibility and clinical competences as a part of a complex system of health care of patients focused on health maintenance. They are competent to work independently on command and recommendation of dentists and provide activities related to prevention, treatment and dental hygiene education of patients. Main areas of work Graduates can work in the field of dental prevention, conservative dentistry, periodontology, orthodontics, dental implantology, in departments of oral and maxillofacial surgery, community and clinical health care facilities.
A dentist- sets a diagnosis and recommends a patients- client to dental hygiene. A dental hygienist has knowledge about principles of dental hygiene and is able to apply them in practice. They are well educated and professionally prepared to understand the link between dental care, biomedical disciplines and humanities. They prepare a patient for his first treatment at the dentists (After finishing dental hygiene when plaque and teeth stone are removed).
 
How did dentists accept this new profession?
At the beginning, they were rather sceptical and did not support this programme. We had to convince them that a dental hygienist would be helpful so that they could deal just with treatment and diagnostics. Prevention can be done by a specialist but not as expensive as a dentist. A dental hygienist is fully qualified do dental hygiene prevention.
 
The part of the preparation of your students is their participation in the project “Healthy Smile”. What is it about?
Every year students of dental hygiene prepare six lectures and trainings at primary schools and kindergartens in Prešov as well as six performances at their permanent residence. Thus the faculty tries to implement the project across all Slovakia.
The institute cooperates with baby delivery departments where students train mothers how to look after their children’s teeth. We are also preparing courses for unemployed women who would help the cities and towns to implement preventive programmes at school.
 
You studying programmes are demanding in terms of connection of theory and practice which is held at the J. A. Reiman´s Faculty Hospital in Prešov. Have you reached the maximum?
Well, let’s ask a question: What is maximal while talking about health care? Our attempt and mission are high quality education transformed into lifelong education reflecting in the quality of services. It is important so that efforts we show and give to our students had an adequate impact on their future professional career. We might just say that it is not only about economic dimension but the most important aspects in our profession are based on highly human approach to humans. We have set up very demanding goals that we are trying to achieve in the most responsible way and we believe that our endeavours will be successful; however, it is the future yet.    
 
Who is   Prof. PhDr. Anna Eliašová, PhD.?
She was born on 11 December 1949 in Mlynica, District Poprad. She comes from a big family of a farmer; she has 7 siblings, four of them graduated from universities. Originally, she wanted to be a teacher. When she graduated from the Prešov Secondary Nursing School specialized on gynaecology, she knew that she would dedicate her life to delivering babies and nursing. In 1986, she studied at the Faculty of Arts at Comenius University in Bratislava; she dealt with teaching specialized subjects for secondary nursing schools, approbation: pedagogy- nursing. Within further training and education, she studied special programmes focused on training leading pedagogical people and managers in the field of health care. She received her PhD degree at Trnava University, the Faculty of Health Care and Social Work (the topic: Management of Pre- Natal Care in Delivering nursing). In 2006, the same school gave her the academic title of a reader (the topic: Influence of negative factors on pregnancy and a new born baby in a Romany community.). In November 2008, she became a professor at the Slovak Health Care University in Bratislava, the Faculty of Nursing and Health Care Studies.
She began her pedagogical career in 1975 as a teacher of specialized subjects at the Secondary Nursing School in Prešov, which became her second working and life passion. She was a headmistress of the school for 13 years (1992- 2004). She participated in establishing the Faculty of Health Care at Prešov University and she has been its dean for the second electoral period.
She also took part in preparation of documents for transformation of the Hospital with Policlinics into J.A. Reiman´s Faculty Hospital in Prešov. She is the member of the advisory board at the Ministry of Health Care of the SR, the member of the expert group judging studying programmes, the National Programme for Education of Nurses and Midwives at the Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives. She is also the member of the Commission for the first and second qualification examination for specialized teacher at the Ministry of Health Care of the SR and a consultant in the project: “E-learning in community nursing- the Role of a Midwife in a community nursing. She is a member of commissions for dissertation and habilitation works, she is a trainer for 11 PhD students, consultant for final work in all levels of university degree. She is an author of the monograph Pôrodná asistencia- Fyziológia (Midwifery- Physiology), university studying materials, she is a co- author of four studying books, she published 32 scientific works, took active part in 43 conferences, has 52 quotation responds, many lectures in Slovakia and abroad and she has been involved in 9 research projects.


Journalist industry needs philanthropist
Save the News, Not the Newspaper The Liberal Media. The industry has finally wakened to the seriousness of its predicament but continues to come up empty-handed vis anything resembling a solution. And the almost universal response to the crisis an orgy of downsizing that is destroying the worth of the product whose economic value it seeks to restore demonstrates how ill equipped newspaper owners and publishers are to find a way to save themselves.
 
Eric Alterman is a Distinguished Professor of English, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and Professor of Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. He is also “The Liberal Media” columnist for The Nation, a senior fellow and “Altercation” weblogger for Media Matters for America
Photo: the archive
Headlines by Dimenzie
 
The American newspaper born in Boston sometime between 1690 and 1721, depending on the prerequisites one prefers is dying a remarkably sudden death. Overall circulation, adjusted for population growth, is about half of what it was in 1946 and is declining rapidly.
 
 And while the number of Internet readers is rising, they are no replacement for print readers from the standpoint of advertisers, who must pay the freight. To ad buyers the worth of an Internet reader is barely 10 percent of that of a print customer. Because of these and other no less destructive trends, publicly owned newspapers lost roughly 15 percent of their already falling advertising revenue last year, and with it, according to the invaluable analyses of journalism and technology maven Alan Mutter, a whopping 83 percent of their already decimated stock value. From an economic perspective, this is what it looks like to fall off a cliff.
 
Lack of Reasonable Solution
The industry has finally wakened to the seriousness of its predicament but continues to come up empty-handed vis anything resembling a solution. And the almost universal response to the crisis an orgy of downsizing that is destroying the worth of the product whose economic value it seeks to restore demonstrates how ill equipped newspaper owners and publishers are to find a way to save themselves.
Clearly an Internet only newspaper is a nonstarter. The Huffington Post, perhaps the most successful news website, relies largely on free labor and produces precious little of what we have traditionally understood to be “news.” Internet evangelist Jeff Jarvis has made much of the fact that ad revenue for LATimes.com covers the cost of its newsroom and proposes that the Times go paperless. He forgets, however, that even without the costs of paper production and delivery, “backroom operations” for a newsroom can be almost as expensive as the cost of the reporters and editors. There’s travel, technology, rent, business planning, ad sales, health insurance, pension payments and, well, plenty of things that make this calculation a net loser. Walter Isaacson, writing in Time, has proposed a program of micropayments to be made by the reader, but if these average out, as Michael Kinsley predicts, to just $2 a month, it won’t come close to covering the costs of reporting, editing and distributing the news.
 

Passivity is not a solution
”Unfortunately, some Slovak “pro- Americans”, mainly politicians, journalists and analysts think that they are the only ones to judge who is pro and who is anti American. So they behave in Slovakia opposite to Americans and their idols. They are fundamental, anti - democratic, they disregard and show lack of respect to others´ opinions, and they do ideological overwork they have not been asked for, “says Robert Matejovič, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the magazine Dimenzie, in the interview for the magazine Kultúra.
 
Prepared by: Goran Balagovič
 Interview by Stanislava Borisová, Kultúra
Photo: the archive of Dimenzie
 
On 11 March 2009, Kultúra (Culture), a private opinion forming magazine dependent on ethics and dealing with cultural issues from the widest point of view, the culture like a demonstration of intelligent human activities, questions of thinking, theology, politics, social awareness, history, literature and art in context of Christian morality, published an interview called “ Passivity is not the solution“ with Robert Matejovič, a publisher and editor-in-chief of the Central European Magazine Dimenzie. Due to readers´ interest and after the approval of the publisher of the magazine Kultúra, we have decided to publish this interview.
Dear readers, we are looking forward to your opinions.
 
Medial market is full of attractive- looking colourful magazines. However, most of them are periodicals offering no serious thoughts about a man, society, or the sense of life. Dimenzie, whose editor- in chief you are, have been trying to break this stereotype for a few years. Tell us, why did you decide for work that cannot compete economic pressure of tabloids?
I love journalism, my profession which I studied here in Slovakia as well as abroad. It is my job. My professors in Slovakia and abroad, whom I am really grateful, had always emphasised that journalism and its genres are not supposed to be tools of brain- washing but a result of serious and responsible creative process resulting in informative value of a report, interview, commentary, essay or news. Well, in other words, if the world is colourful, journalism cannot be black-and-white, belonging to one political party or just tabloids. I have always been faithful to this philosophy and this conviction. I am not against tabloids as such; it also has its sense and importance. It used to entertain the society, helped to take things easy with a gentle sense of humour, irony, gossips and it provoked people in a positive way. Unfortunately, tabloids, especially in Slovakia, bear great deal of false and misleading information, it bullies, tells lies and offends people, destroys journalism and honour of the profession from public’s point of view. Our life is not only about show business, “home-made” or real celebrities, actors, fashion designers, murders, accidents, new films, eating, cooking, sex and drinking alcohol… A reader needs clear and high-quality information if he is expected to believe in the basic functions of newspapers and magazines.
Tabloids used to stand somewhere on the periphery of people’s interest, nowadays, they became the main topics of the day in other media as well. Should I give an example? How is it possible that dailies do not provide readers with more interesting and good- quality interviews and reports but commercial enclosures about cooking, celebrities and bargains? And what is even more absurd is the fact that society in Slovakia has not realized that buying tabloids has moved this genre into the position of an opinion forming tool according to which we have to think, live and work. Its style became the example for other editorial rooms of many other magazines and newspapers.
Instead of getting rid of tabloids, marking a more serious border between them, more serious journalists and so-called journalists got carried away by tabloid’s way of thinking and work of people who do not have sufficient qualification and are not able to ask more than simple and primitive questions. For them, it is just enough to have a mobile and a Dictaphone, know many details about show business, be in and have a nice look. And they are paid by their editor according to their work performance. By editors who have never understood journalism and have never worked as journalists.
My work as well as my colleagues, whose opinions are similar to mine, can compete so - called economic pressure of tabloids. Just be aware of implementing the basic and key question to firms and enterprises, financial and trade institutions: If you claim that you are running your business ethically and you follow the ethical codes, you do definitely would choose the media for your advertisements because the public judges our image according to it. If you advertise in tabloids, it means you are not serious. We must be patients.
 
So, do you believe that present unpleasant situation in the periodical newspapers and magazines will be changed or do you work with a conviction that you will have to do something as the society does not have enough energy to fight against its own decline and fall?
The situation will have to be transformed as it is abnormal and sustainable. Slovak media market is spoint and it is not standard at all. It is not possible so that barter (for example orders or advertisements for paper and press), hidden corruption so that it was dominated by two, three media agencies, cartels, or two, three owners of the media including distribution network. Or those medial agencies put pressure on publishers to give significant discounts in prices of advertising and thus make money not only from provision but also from the differences in prices which they agreed with the publisher and buyer of advertisement. While both publisher and buyers do not know about it.
Economic crisis might end up this era which has seriously been damaging the principles of creating and sustaining the same conditions for fair and equal competitions between publishers from the side of sellers, it has made many journalists servants and slaves and has created new publishers and editors of periodicals, of course with some honourable exceptions, who are not interested in quality but just “treatment” of capital from other entrepreneurial activities and advertising.
Surely, I do my work because of my conviction and enthusiasm. Otherwise, I would not be able to do it. Ancient Aristotle claimed that whatever you do, do it with enthusiasm and responsibility. I do not claim that I do not make mistakes and that I am always right but I am ready to pay for my conviction and live in poverty even though there were only a few issues of Dimenzie published symbolically. Slovak society can do an easy thing. Stop buying these newspapers and magazines about which they think have a brain washing affect and move free thinking somewhere into the basement. We must also be aware that editors of serious periodicals are unable to influence sales of their media, neither can they influence culture of selling mainly in the supermarket networks and chains in which more serious media are often in the shadow of tabloids and in which the only criterion rules: the number of issues sold and profit made from sales. Their managers are not worried about the question of sales objectivity and providing the equal chance to every magazine and displaying it at a visible place. It is not about the number of magazines and newspapers sold and about their price but it is a about standard culture of sales and sensitive approach to all participant in the market.
 
When did you decide to publish your own, very demanding magazine which editor’s office is not even based in Bratislava but in Košice, although, it does not play such a role in the era of the Internet?
I decided to edit and publish a magazine after having had ten- year experience in other Slovak media I had worked for. During those years I studied in Slovakia and abroad, I had acquired so much precious experience; I had thorough the years of censorship and political pressure, division of journalists into black and white ones, acceptable and unacceptable ones. I really missed the space for confrontation and spreading ideas and opinions freely, space where journalism could have competed like a lady and with its quality, not political and financial support. As I remained stuck to my philosophy, journalistic traditions and professors who had formed my career as a journalist and I did not want to become involved in tabloids or one- side politically orientated media, I decided to establish my own magazine. Not for my fame, success and glory, but predominantly because of my attempts to show a reader that journalism is and can be about something different from tabloids and cheap political and cultural brain washing of people following a modern slogan: “ They are just sheep unable to think independently anyway.” I believe that the core of the Slovak nation is still healthy and uses brains, it might be suffering from financial malnutrition, and however, it is spiritually very rich. I do think exactly the same about Slovak intelligence despite hiding it in anonymity and pretending they are not concerned. And it is the same with young generation who is still searching for its life and professional direction in the present chaos. God has given me sense and soul. And that is why I do believe that each of us has own star flashing and fulfilling the break point in which we realize what is essential and what is not, national and anti- national, to read between the lines and does not let us be brain washed by various pieces of information and statements.
And why in Košice? It is my home town, my family live there. They did not want to move to Bratislava. They know my opinions and attitudes, a good quality magazine can also be issued away from the capital city. Quality depends on people and not on the place where they operate.
 
The market lacks periodicals presenting objective information about administration of individual governments as they gain their power after each election. On the contrary, the state seems as if it was not interested in keeping citizens informed what is more important than interpretation in terms of foreign media owners. Moreover, you could come across and read magazines judging the sense and roles of the state and performance of its executives in non-objective way while waiting at the offices of civil administration and self- government for an appointment for a while. However, serious press does really suffer from the lack of public interest; it seems to be almost confidential to many people… What would you say about it?
I have similar experience to yours. We are like walking in circles. If I speak to the minister or the stat secretary, with counsellors, mayors about media, they are always complaining: God, these journalists, we have nothing to read. We do not know where the truth is, just gossips, lies and always the same topics…
When I offer them Dimenzie to read, they never refuse; they take a magazine and read it. When I meet them after particular time and I ask if they liked it or not, what they missed in the magazine, if they are going to buy or subscribe it, I usually hear them reply: I did not know that your magazine existed; even my wife enjoyed reading it very much. And I would subscribe it but, you know, we would have to hold a public competition, tender, and we do not have enough funds, I just cannot order our office to subscribe it.”
Of course, I do not want to force anyone to buy my magazine and I do claim it is the best. Just like you, I am worried about one thing. Why do people not subscribe periodicals which they really like even are thrilled about? Is it a kind of inner mistake and laziness, lack of money or just the system which is so spoilt to rotten that no one is able to think and wants to take any risks? What if they got fired because of subscribing a magazine?
 
What are the perspectives of Dimenzie? How would you invite readers of Kultúra to subscribe and buy your monthly?
Well, perspectives of our magazine depend on interests of readers in Slovakia and abroad. If they want to read it, they will continue buying it and subscribing it, and for us it is the best reaction to our attempts and it gives our work its meaning. However, I do not say they cannot or do not have to be critical. If we have to live in the regime which basic goal is to “make money” at least for printing and co- workers as we are not responsible for crisis, we have to be modest and try to search for new ways and opportunities to be supported. Nevertheless, I want to serve journalism and not money. My intension and goal have been set clearly: I want all to find themselves and meet together in the magazine. Not only politicians, diplomats, managers, artists, painters, actors, middle or upper classes but ordinary people as well. And also those who despite not living in Slovakia, they speak write and read in Slovak language.
 
Your curriculum vitae reads that you studied in the USA. This information might have misled us to think you had been influenced by New York spirit and modern wave of Americanism, however, it is not so. When reading Dimenzie, which you edit, we can feel attitudes and heart of Central European, Slovak who cares for his country: Does it mean that your studies convinced you to fight for the national identity? Or saying it differently: Do you think there is a danger of neglecting our national identity? How can such danger be eliminated to minimum?
I studied American journalism, medial policy, communication and society in the USA thirteen years ago. I learnt from my professor (Who has already died) and his American colleagues as well as from many personalities I had met, how they dislikes when someone was trying get those people to like them, mainly its middle classes, congressmen and politicians. They are interested in hearing what we really think; they want to know how people in Europe think, what we create, what are our culture and history like. Unfortunately, some Slovak “pro- Americans”, mainly politicians, journalists and analysts think that they are the only ones to judge to be pro and who is anti American. So they behave in Slovakia opposite to Americans and their idols. They are fundamental, anti- democratic, they disregard and show lack of respect to others´ opinions, they do ideological overwork they have not been asked for, they do not respect their traditions and their nation, they are not proud of their state and culture, they want to be everything but not Slovaks and patriots. Both ordinary and educated Americans do not respect such people and perceive them as big losers. If one has different opinions on what is happening in the USA and confronts the policy of the White House and Pentagon does not mean, one is anti- American. I refuse when people turn one political opinion into a unified and general opinion almost dogma according to which they judge other people’s opinions. Or they limit them their living and working space. We have already experienced that before the year 1989 and during the era of the Soviet Union!
I do not believe that Slovaks will lose their national identity. The present era of globalization and integration is the challenge for us, in which we can develop and become visible. First of all, we need to know it very well, we need to study it and get rid of “spelled” topics and opinions, deliberate it from ideologies, and trends that seem to be strange for us. One of our main national pillars is Christianity (not only Roman Catholicism) and Cyril and Methodius tradition. So let’s just live in it, experience it and protect it and praise it wherever we go. Let’s put our traditions in real politics cooperate with other countries and civilizations. Get our traditions involved in film- making, television series, and theatre performances as well as in the life of the EU, well, at least in its Central European part. Let’s place them in the principles of the east policy of the EU in Balkan and in East Europe. And what are we still waiting for? Whose approval do we need? Why haven’t we had reality shows concerning Slovak history and history of Christianity yet? Is it difficult to find money for these topics or even to find contestants?
We can destroy our national identity ourselves when w stop to believe, we will not praise and esteem it, to develop in our families and relationships in our family.
            
Who is Mgr. Robert Matejovič?
He is an executive of Dimenzie s.r.o. and an editor- in-chief of Dimenzie monthly. He was born in Košice in 1967; he studied journalism at the Faculty of Arts at Comenius University. He took part in various grants and foreign stays at St. Cloud State University Minnesota, Professional Resident Fellow in Mass Communication Department under the sponsorship of the United States Information Agency, Reuters Foundation London, Special Media Training Program “Writing Business News”, European Journalism Centre Maastricht, 1998, Special Training Program “Enlargement of the EU”. He operated as the assistant of an MP of the SR, as a executive editor- in chief, reporter and editor for the magazines Slovak Trade Forum, Euroforum a Parlament, as a counsellor for the European Integration and Media of P. Hamžík´s office, a vice prime minister of the SR for the European Integration and a correspondent for the BBC: He is a former reporter of the daily Národná obroda, Pravda, a reporter and a head of the regional editor’s office of the weekly Zmena, the weekly Mreport, Slovenské národné noviny (the Slovak National Newspapers) and the weekly Slobody (the Freedom).


Fixing the Fed
The Fed has been unable to engineer what the economy desperately needs - renewed lending to companies and consumers that can finance renewed growth. The confused purpose of monetary policy stands in the way. Fed could not restrain credit expansion when it was exploding, and now it cannot stimulate credit expansion when it is frozen.
 
William Greider, The Nation (he has been a political journalist for more than thirty-five years. A former Rolling Stone and Washington Post editor, he is the author of the national bestsellers One World, Ready or Not, Secrets of the Temple, Who Will Tell The People, The Soul of Capitalism (Simon & Schuster) and--due out in February from Rodale--Come Home, America.)
Photo: Downing Street, the Archive, Azrainman
 
Congress and the Obama administration face an excruciating dilemma. To restore the crippled financial system, they are told, they must put up still more public money--hundreds of billions more--to rescue the largest banks and investment houses from failure. Even the dimmest politicians realize that this will further inflame the public’s anger. People everywhere grasp that there is something morally wrong about bailing out the malefactors who caused this catastrophe. Yet we are told we have no choice. Unless taxpayers assume the losses for the largest financial institutions by buying their rotten assets, the banking industry will not resume normal lending and, therefore, the economy cannot recover.
 
This is a false dilemma. Other choices are available. Throwing more public money at essentially insolvent banks is like giving blood transfusions to a corpse and hoping for Lazarus--or, as banking analyst Christopher Whalen puts it, pouring water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom. So far Washington has poured nearly $300 billion into the bucket, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has suggested it may take another $1 trillion or more to complete the banks’ resurrection. The president has budgeted $750 billion for the task. Morality aside, that sounds nutty.
 
Swings in Monetary Policy
Here is a very different way to understand the problem: to restore the broken financial system, Washington has to fix the Federal Reserve. Though this is not widely understood, the central bank has lost its ability to govern the credit system--the nation’s overall lending and borrowing. The Fed’s control mechanisms have been severely undermined by a generation of deregulation and tricky innovations that have substantially shifted credit functions from traditional banks to lightly regulated financial markets. When the Fed tried to apply its old tools, starting in the 1980s, the credit system perversely produced opposite results--an explosion of debt the policy-makers could not restrain. In its present condition, the Fed may even make things worse. Instead of frankly acknowledging the problem, Fed governors proceeded in the past two decades to engineer exaggerated swings in monetary policy--raising interest rates, then lowering them, in widening extremes. This led to the series of bubbles in financial prices--first stocks, then housing and commodities--that collapsed with devastating consequences, climaxing in the present crisis. In other words, the central bank’s weakened condition and its misguided policy decisions have been a central factor in destabilizing the American economy. More to the point, the Fed’s operating disorders are directly threatening to recovery; the economy is not likely to get well if the dysfunctional Fed is not also reformed. In this crisis the central bank has so far flooded credit markets and financial institutions with trillions of dollars in new liquidity and loan guarantees, which may help to stabilize credit markets. But the Fed has been unable to engineer what the economy desperately needs--renewed lending to companies and consumers that can finance renewed growth. The confused purpose of monetary policy stands in the way. The Fed could not restrain credit expansion when it was exploding, and now it cannot stimulate credit expansion when it is frozen.
 
 
 
 (To be continued)


Russia does know very well about the value of Georgia
”The importance of this small country is not limited to only an alternative route of energy resources transportation to Europe. By its geographical location, it holds one of the mostly important positions in the security system of the Black Sea and the Caucasian regions (including the North Caucasus).
 
Tengiz Pkhaladze, Chairman of the International Centre for Geopolitical Studies Tbilisi, Georgia
 
On the Brussels Forum, which was held on March 21, the Russian Foreign Minister Mr. Sergey Lavrov stated that he had hoped that the Georgian nation would have leaders who would be guided by the interests of the Georgian people. It is interesting, what caused such a “care” and what did Mr. Lavrov mean when talked about the interests of the Georgian people?
 
Russia ceased any kind of direct transport and postal communications with Georgia. Furthermore, Russia suspended issuing the Russian visas to the Georgian citizens. As for the Georgian products, Russia restricted its marketing on its territory as far back as the year 2006. It is surprising, that in such circumstances, Georgia unilaterally simplified a visa regimen with Russia and there is a real boom of the Russian businesses in the country. The Russian companies such as Beeline, Lukoil, Vneshtorgbank, RAO UES of Russia, ITERA, etc. are still in operation without any kind of discomfort.
It is much more surprising that there is not even a word written on that issue in the Annual Report 2008 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia while economic relations with any other neighbouring countries are overviewed therein. Furthermore, The Russian diplomats keep silent about the facts of migration of number of families from Russia to Abkhazia as well as the South Ossetia to artificially alter a demographic balance.
 
Laboratory for Tests and Trials
After August 2008, great number of versions on who started the war and how it was started were created. The EU Commission will publish its opinion on that matter within a couple of months. But it is much more important to study those issues, which have already led us to this crisis and those threats, which might be faced by us in future. Unfortunately, Georgia has become a laboratory for conducting various tests and trials for the past period. For instance, on our territory – in Abkhazia and South Ossetia – many of the local population were illegally given the Russian passports. At that time, a protest of the Georgian party failed to meet with the adequate international support and after a couple of years, we all saw a deplorable result of those processes. Now we also see that the same process of giving the Russian passports to the local population is on in Ukraine. In the Baltic states, “Compatriot Certificates” are being issued in place of the Russian passports. So, such a Political Technology, which was approved and well-tried in Georgia, is now being transferred to the European countries! By the way, the Russian Energetic Weapon was also first tried by Georgia. Now, the same is being repeated in Ukraine and in some EU member-states.
 

Kosovo Albanians versus the UN
Kosovo and Metohija have already been split up. The institutions of the so-called Kosovo Republic have no full power in the north of Kosovo which is supposed (so far) to be under the administration of EULEX mission and the UN. A six- point plan by Ban Ki-Muna and Belgrade will be supported by the 1244 UN SC resolution which has been valid since 1999 and guarantees the territorial integrity of Serbia.
 
For Dimenzie: Nenad Radičevič (a foreign commentator of the Serbian Daily Politika)
Photo: the archive
Headlines by Dimenzie
 
When Serbian leaders agreed that a legal- political mission of the European Union EULEX in accordance with the six-point UN plan will be implemented in Kosovo and Metohija, Serbia was praised by the European and American representatives for cooperation in terms of solving the Kosovo issue. After a long time, Serbs were finally called “good guys”; however, Kosovo Albanians have not become “bad boys” even after a few months of resistance against implementing this UN plan.
Having been adjusted during the negotiations of the representatives of the UN, the EU and Serbia, Brussels administration was at last convinced that using this plan, Europe will take over the responsibility for what is just happening in Kosovo and Metohija without any problems. Meanwhile, they encountered strong resistance from the officials from Priština that seems to be the first serious diplomatic conflict between the Kosovo Republic and the EU; 22 out of 27 member states recognized their independence.
 
 

February 2020Slovakia is being destroyed not by the virus...
Pillar of the Košice - City Science Project
Victory in the Name of God
“Ghost Town”
Covid-19 will not defeat China
How do you comment on the EC approach to the Covid-19?
From Versailles to Munich (Part I)
Psychiatrists have also "nested" in the judiciary
When drugs a...Read more