Thursday, October 28, 2021

EU fears about media freedom in Slovenia, agency chief resigns

BRUSSELS (WNN) – The European Union voiced concerns on Thursday about media freedom in Slovenia after the head of the country’s only news agency stepped down on a new public service contract that would change the way the STA is funded. will direct.

STA director Bojan Veselinovic resigned, saying the draft contract would harm the agency.

“I will never take part in the crushing of journalism’s autonomy,” he said in a statement.

According to the European Commission, the government has not given any funds to the agency so far this year.

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, has long been under scrutiny for having a hold on the STA. He insisted that much of Slovenia’s media is biased against him, but said in July that the issue of funding would be resolved this fall.

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“We regret and follow up with concern at the recent worsening of the situation,” commission spokesman Christian Wiegand told reporters. He added that the EU’s executive branch has “repeatedly expressed our serious concerns” about the need for the government to ensure the funding and independence of the STA.

“We urge the Slovenian authorities, the Slovenian government, to take decisive action to stop and reverse the current trend. Developments show, unfortunately once again, the need for EU law to protect media freedom and pluralism ,” Wiegand said.

European Commission vice-president Vera Jaurova wrote last week to Slovenia’s minister of culture, demanding to know how and when the agency would be funded.

“Such a situation presents major risks to media freedom and media pluralism in Slovenia, and consequently in the European Union,” she wrote.

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