The Association of Journalists and Publicists proposes the posthumous decoration of Borut Meško to the President of the Republic of Slovenia

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Borut Meško (foto: STA/Domen Groegl)

By: C.R.

On June 17th, 2021, the Association of Journalists and Publicists (ZNP) submitted a proposal to the President of the Republic Borut Pahor to posthumously honour the journalist and editor of many media houses, Borut Meško.

Content of the proposal:

Dear President of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Borut Pahor!

Pursuant to Article 11 of the Decorations Act of the Republic of Slovenia, the Association of Journalists and Publicists addresses a proposal that Borut Meško, a former editor and journalist of many media houses, be posthumously awarded for exceptional merits and actions of special importance for Slovenia’s well-being, and due to his exceptional work in the field of media and merits in promoting independent, free and professional journalism in the Republic of Slovenia.

The Association of Journalists and Publicists proposes that, on the basis of Article 14 of the Decorations of the Republic of Slovenia Act, the decoration of the posthumously decorated Borut Meško be presented to his family members.

Justification:

Thirty years ago, Slovenians decided for an independent and sovereign state, a state in which the highest standards of democracy, the rule of law, pluralism, individual freedom and respect for human rights are to be enforced.

Numerous journalists also took part in enforcing the highest democratic standards in our society, and with their dedicated work they introduced social pluralism into our space and followed the highest standards of journalistic ethics in their work.

Many have faced many trials and attacks in their battle for an open and democratic media space, yet they have always remained true to their principles. Borut Meško is certainly one of the journalists who have made an extraordinary mark on our country in his efforts for a democratic media space over the past 30 years.

Throughout his professional career, Borut Meško has been committed to the principles of democracy, pluralism and media freedom. It did not matter to him what worldview the journalist belonged to, but that he was professional and fair to everyone.

In his long career, Borut Meško has worked as a journalist and editor in several Slovenian media, including a contributor to the student newspaper Tribuna, a journalist for Mladina, Televizija Slovenija, and POP TV, a journalist and editor for the newspaper Republika. From July 2007 to November 2009 editor-in-chief of the STA.

Borut Meško ended his career as the editor of the Slovenian Press Agency, but in a way that no one deserves. After Bojan Veselinovič took over the position of director on March 26th, 2009, Meško repeatedly warned the public that he had been mobbed and harassed by the director. He allegedly asked him for information that he did not have, then accused him of not fulfilling his obligations, accused him of not preparing decently prepared projects and reports, and expected him to report daily work reports, including the names of his colleagues and their surpluses and shortcomings. Soon after this first wave of pressure, Meško had to take a longer sick leave. As he has repeatedly pointed out, it was at the time of his editing that an increase in the quality of journalistic work and the STA service was observed. The set of topics discussed increased, the editorial board closely followed the developments in the political, social and economic spheres in Slovenia and the world and gave all relevant actors the opportunity to share their views and activities through the STA service, which, as Meško emphasised, is the basis of liberal and plural media orientations.

However, instead of continuing to successfully lead the work of the Slovenian Press Agency with his colleagues after his sick leave, he continued to be harassed and pressured by the director, who should not interfere in editorial policy in the same way he did. It even went so far that on October 10th, 2009, Veselinovič submitted a proposal for the editor’s dismissal, and Meško had to attend a three-hour hearing before the termination of the employment procedure began, despite the fact that his health was visibly deteriorating. When he received an extraordinary dismissal stating fictitious reasons, Meško was on a longer sick leave, namely at investigations at the Oncology Institute, where he learned that he was seriously ill. He was put on the street, and in front of him was not only a search for justice in court, but he also had to fight the disease, to which he unfortunately lost in the end. After his death, a settlement was reached in court, according to which the STA had to pay Meško’s family his previous salaries.

Borut Meško did his job with great joy and enthusiasm. For him, journalism was not just a profession, but a way of life. Even when he was an editor, he was always respectful to his subordinates, never exerting pressure or more, firing any of those who thought differently than he did. Unfortunately, he himself did not receive this. Nevertheless, he maintained a high level of professionalism in his work until the end and pursued journalistic standards, which seem to be increasingly lost in the Slovenian media space.

In memory of his outstanding contribution to the preservation of media freedom, the Borut Meško Award is presented every year. The award is given to journalists and publicists for their important contribution to spreading the public word, following the example of the Munich Declaration.

Association of Journalists and Publicists

 

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