Parliament to hold emergency session on STA Friday
Ljubljana, 5 October - The National Assembly will convene an emergency session on Friday to discuss the opposition's demand for the government to stop the financial starvation of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) and provide statutory funding of the STA public service within three days.
The session to discuss "deliberate financial starvation of the STA as the backbone of Slovenian journalism" was called by the centre-left opposition parties Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Left, Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) and non-affiliated MPs.
They filed for the session after STA director Bojan Veselinovič stepped down following unsuccessful talks with the director of the Government Communication Office (UKOM), Uroš Urbanija, to sign an agreement on the STA public service for 2021.
Veselinovič said he could not agree to the terms that the UKOM director was using as an extortion for the payment of the STA public service and would not "take part in the trampling of journalist autonomy".
The opposition parties have noted that the STA has been providing the public service since the beginning of this year without getting any state funding.
As the agency is facing a financial collapse, the parties wonder is whose interest is such a development and what is the motive behind it. They say the STA's reporting has always been unbiased, accurate, credible and free from value judgements.
The parties described 30 September, the day that Veselinovič resigned, as a "tragic day for unbiased reporting", adding that with his resignation the government appears to have "succeeded a major abuse in its mission to transform the media landscape and systematically undermine the media that still manage and dare to be critical".
They propose for the National Assembly to call on the government to comply with the relevant clause in the 7th Covid relief act and the STA act and to provide funds for the STA public service within three days.
A position on the proposal will first be taken by the parliamentary Culture Committee on Thursday.