Director of Slovenian Press Agency resigns after year-long fight with authorities

The director of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), Bojan Veselinovič, resigned on Thursday morning after rejecting a draft public service agreement by the Slovenian government he described as damaging for the agency.

The STA announced his resignation, according to Slovenian media, while Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša visited his British counterpart, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for talks about bilateral and international issues. Janša is running an anti-media campaign in Slovenia directly antagonizing critical outlets and aiming to boost state influence.

“I cannot and do not want to agree to the conditions under which a government representative is forcing payment for a public service, which the Slovenian Press Agency has been performing for free for 273 days now,” the resigned Veselinovič said at a press conference. According to the Slovenian newspaper Vecer, the state-owned STA is waiting for the government’s communications office (UKOM) to release funds.

The UKOM’s proposal, which would provide funding to the STA once accepted, “would violently change STA’s successful business model, reduce our market activity, revenues and thus the number of employees,” Veselinović said. Ultimately, having the option to resign was “the least bad of all the bad solutions, he stated.

Veselinovič’s successor will be chosen by the STA’s supervisory board. “I will convene an emergency session,” the STA’s supervisory board president, Mladen Terčelj, announced.

In spring 2021 the Slovenian Journalists’ Association (DNS) launched a charity campaign to raise funds for the existence of the STA, which was supported by the European Federation of Journalists. “At that time we said that the situation was serious, today we can say that it is alarming,” commented Petra Lesjak Tušek, president of the DNS, on Veselinovič’s resignation.

Janša has previously referred to the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) as a “national disgrace.” Janša’s fight against critical journalists directly contradicts the EU’s position on media freedom, yet Slovenia is currently holding the Council of the EU’s rotating presidency.



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