By: Sara Bertoncelj /Nova24tv.si
An anonymous letter from the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) reveals that director Bojan Veselinović has an authoritarian ruling style, pays himself and his chosen ones rich rewards for “work performance”, and most employees are afraid of him because he is “self-interested, insidious, and vindictive”. “However, he has a good support, as more than half of STA employees openly hate the current government,” it is written, so he probably has no major problems in suggesting to editors how to write about certain topics.
Considering that the saga between STA and UKOM has been going on for almost half a year, many people are wondering the reason why STA director Bojan Veselinovič does not want to hand over the documentation to Ukom. However, information is now coming to light that might at least partially answer this question. Bojan Požar posted an anonymous letter on Twitter, which supposedly came from an STA employee. This anonymous letter contains some statements that show director Veselinovič in a certain light, which is not necessarily what would be appropriate for a director of a national news agency. Such an agency should be all the more neutral, its task is all the more reporting and not interpreting – the latter is done by “impartial” media anyway. In short, there is no indication that Veselinovič would be undecided, which, in principle, would not be controversial if he did not transfer his opinions to the work of his journalists.
It is stated in the anonymous letter that Bojan Veselinovič has had a compensation contract concluded with Dnevnik since taking office. This is supposed to be a service to the President of the Management Board of Dnevnik, Bojan Petan, who gave Veslinović a job when he had to leave RTV due to fraud with travel expenses. That is why Dnevnik has not paid anything for all these years, although according to the price list for STA services, it is supposed to pay somewhere between three and four thousand euros a month. The director of STA is also supposed to supervise the company’s trade union through his chosen ones. He pays his chosen ones (as well as himself) high rewards for “work performance”. According to the anonymous letter, Veselinovič acts authoritarian. “He is self-interested, insidious, and vindictive,” the author of the anonymous letter wrote, adding that most employees fear him. However, he is said to have a good support, as more than half of STA employees openly hate the current government. The editor-in-chief Barbara Štrukelj is also completely on his side, she is popular in the agency because she knows how to treat people. Before reporting on important events, which is, of course, mainly about slandering the current government, he gives advice to editors in his office on how to write about these topics in their editorial offices. Through the sale of advertising space on the website, Veselinovič is allegedly blackmailing some larger companies. Proof of this is that none of the companies receive or request data on the reach of the online advertisements for which they pay. Certain companies are supposed to have subscribed access, but they never access the content – even though they pay for it – the proof is supposed to be the server log (Snaga, Ljubljanska parkirišča …).
Veselinovic is “ours”, said Kučan’s adviser
In his article on Požareport, Požar also told the story of how in 2007, in the middle of Danilo Türk’s election headquarters, the then Türk’s adviser and Petrol’s management adviser Franci Perčič approached Sebastjan Jeretič and told him that – if necessary – he could call Veselinovič, who will arrange, help and do everything. “He is ours,” he supposedly suggested. At that time, Jeretič was an adviser to Borut Pahor and the SD party. Jeretič recently revealed on a TV show how journalists in 2008, when it appeared that Janez Janša would remain in power after the parliamentary elections, called members of the SD election headquarters and asked what else they could do to prevent Janša from winning the election.
What the director of STA is doing now is exclusively a political conflict that he can afford, as he has enough political support, support from the leading media, and a majority within the Supervisory Board, where the ratio is 3:2 – against the government, Požar wrote, explaining that it is a supervisory board that was mostly locked by the government of Marjan Šarec. “It is practically impossible to dismiss STA supervisors prematurely. Such is the law, but literally crazy, how it is composed,” he wrote. Elsewhere, all the major, well-known world news agencies are privately owned. Therefore, it might be appropriate for us to conduct a public tender for the award of a concession.
Veselinovič did not want to comment on the anonymous letter
We sent journalistic questions to the director of STA, Bojan Veselinovič, we wanted to get a comment on the allegations written in anonymity and some more answers to questions related to blocking access to content to the government administration. Regarding the text in the anonymous letter, Veselinovič stated in his response that it contains a series of untruths and hints that are not true and have no basis in facts. “Given that it is anonymous, I do not intend to comment on them,” he wrote. Regarding the suspension of access, the director of STA said, among other things, that it was not true that the conclusion of the contract was not in their interest. He wrote that Ukom and GSV had been asked several times at the end of last year, most recently on December 21st, 2020, to provide data on the scope of services in 2021 for the preparation of a market contract, but there was no response until the aforementioned letter on January 4th, 2021. In doing so, Veselinovič emphasised that the so-called marketing contract is always signed before the start of each new year. “The statement about discounts is not true, and in general, the form of cooperation last year is incomparable with the offer we sent to Ukom for this year. We always emphasise that our operations are transparent and that all documentation is always available to the government as our sole shareholder and other competent authorities,” he wrote, among other things.