UKOM sent a final version of the contract to the Slovenian Press Agency – will Bojan Veselinović sign it and finally end the 9-month saga?

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Bojan Veselinovič and Uroš Urbanija (Photo: STA)

By: Sara Bertoncelj (Nova24tv)

The Government Communication Office (UKOM) has sent the final version of the public service contract to STA, they said in a press release. The value of the entire contract is estimated at EUR 2,028,000.00, and UKOM took into account the costs provided by STA director Bojan Veselinović for UKOM for the provision of individual public service services. UKOM expects that the contract, which ensures orderly and transparent financing of the Slovenian Press Agency, and at the same time prevents abuses and circumvention of legal provisions, will be signed immediately.

The value of the entire contract is estimated at EUR 2,028,000.00, and UKOM took into account the costs provided by STA Director Bojan Veselinović for UKOM for the provision of individual public service services. During the negotiations, UKOM reminded the STA director of the obvious discrepancies in the calculation of costs sent by director Veselinović. Thus, Veselinović initially estimated that the cost incurred in the production and publication of the entire news item is equal to the cost incurred in the production and publication of the news summary.

During the negotiations, UKOM was unable to agree to Director Veselinović’s requests to violate the STA Act, which clearly states that content from the public service is available free of charge to all under the same conditions. Director Veselinović’s wish was to sell this content on the media market again, which would, of course, enable different access to the content for those who pay for it and those who do not pay for it. Director Veselinović has introduced a public service section on the website, which is welcomed by UKOM. At the same time, it seems unacceptable to state under any published news from the public service that it should not be used before the conclusion of a marketing contract. Content from the public service cannot be marketed, as this is not allowed by law. The exception is the marketing of archival material, which is permitted by law, and consequently also regulated in the contract. UKOM expects that the contract, which ensures orderly and transparent financing of the Slovenian Press Agency, and at the same time prevents abuses and circumvention of legal provisions, will be signed immediately.

A few days ago, the Government Communication Office vehemently rejected the accusations of both the STA director and the allegations made by Works Council of STA, which were made public by STA marketing, that UKOM had misled or falsified the facts in a press release. Director Veselinovič did not send the data to UKOM until Friday, July 9th, 2021. It is not known why he needed three weeks and sent the data only after an additional call from UKOM. In any case, such conduct did not indicate a desire for STA funding to be regulated as soon as possible. “On the other hand, we cannot agree to his wishes to violate the law, which says that content from the public service is available to everyone free of charge under the same conditions. E.g. the photographs must be paid for in full by the state, and he would like to sell them on the market and charge them twice. Or the idea that the summary of the news costs the same as the full news,” Ukom director Uroš Urbanija pointed out, among other things. Veselinović then responded by warning that these were in fact unfounded allegations, which only exacerbate the rather constructive atmosphere following the recent talks between STA and UKOM, and also suggested that the allegation of double charging did not withstand serious assessments. UKOM responded to the allegations with facts and published all correspondence, including dates.

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