Fundraising campaign launched for the STA
Ljubljana, 3 May - A month-long fundraising campaign kicked off on World Press Freedom Day in a bid to secure funding for the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), which has not received budget funds for the performance of public service for four months.
Called "Za obSTAnek", the campaign aims to raise two million euros for the agency via small SMS donations and from potential larger donors and kicked off with a press conference in front of the STA headquarters on Monday. National daily newspapers carried front-page stories in support of the campaign as well.
"Its goal is to prevent looming insolvency hanging over the agency. The first reactions show that the decision is correct, and that many at home and abroad are siding with freedom of the press," said Petra Lesjak Tušek, the president of the Association of Slovenian Journalists.
"The STA is our common service, a compass in the media landscape. Broader mobilisation is urgent to prevent this pillar from collapsing. Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that this is the hill we die on."
She said the campaign was not just about the STA. "It is about all of us, our public, the right to be informed, the question of the kind of society we wish to live in."
The association acts as the nexus of several initiatives that have sprung up to help the STA offset the shortfall of public funding, which accounts for roughly half of the agency's overall revenue.
"If every citizen contributes one euro, we will have safeguarded the existence of a professional, independent and unbiased public service," the association has said.
STA editor-in-chief Barbara Štrukelj thanked the association for launching the campaign. "Sadly, the STA was a successful company at the end of 2020, now it is on the brink of insolvency - because of the government's ignorance of the law."
The campaign brings together all major Slovenian media outlets plus several trade unions as well as the International Press Institute (IPI), European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA).
IPI said that if the STA did not receive funding soon, "a vital part of the Slovenian media ecosystem will be silenced and an important source of the country's independent news and information will be lost."
"That is why to mark World Press Freedom Day, IPI is today joining partner organizations across Europe in standing up for the STA and demanding that the Slovenian government of Prime Minister Janez Janša immediately unblock its financing to allow the agency to continue to carry out its vital public service mission," IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said.
The details of the fundraising campaign are available at https://zaobstanek.si/.