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Becoming The Head Of The Largest Press Agency Without Any Media Experience – STA Is Following The Path Of RTV

Mojca Prelesnik will no longer be the Information Commissioner. When her mandate expires, she will move to the top of the Slovenian Press Agency – STA for (at least) 5 years, replacing Igor Kadunc. We asked Uroš Urbanija, editor-in-chief of the media outlet Planet TV, about the left’s latest personnel move. He says that at the Slovenian Press Agency, we can observe a mirror image of the “depoliticisation” that we have seen before at the national media outlet Radio-Television Slovenia (RTVS).

Mojca Prelesnik is a former Secretary-General of the National Assembly and soon-to-be former Information Commissioner. Her career is linked to the political left. She is well known to our readers because, during the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, she prevented the development of an app that would have allowed a non-invasive way of limiting the spread of infections.

In her new role as Director of the Slovenian Press Agency, she believes the key challenge to be the adoption of a law that would ensure the appropriate conditions for the “institutional, financial and editorial autonomy of the Agency” and prevent “abuses” such as the suspension of the Agency’s funding. This refers to the time when the Government Communication Office suspended funding for the Agency, because the Agency’s then-Director, Bojan Veselinovič, refused to provide proper financial documentation.

Slovenian Press Agency is following the path of Radio-Television Slovenia

We asked Uroš Urbanija, former Director of the Government Communication Office, about the central task that Prelesnik has set herself. His past experience gives him a unique insight into the situation. “If the new Director believes that not complying with the Slovenian Press Agency Act and not fulfilling signed contracts is something that is legal and legitimate in this country, then that is the end of the rule of law. Then, her mission in this mandate is to disregard laws and contracts. In this case, the rule of law does not exist,” he said.

He further explained that the Slovenian Press Agency is apparently following a similar path to that of the national media outlet, Radio-Television Slovenia. Namely, when the Golob government took over RTV Slovenia, they wanted to convince people that what they were doing was actually about depoliticising a public institution. In the end, the opposite happened. Nothing was left of the plural editorial policy set out by the previous management.

“At the moment, journalists are being laid off at RTV Slovenia, and pluralism of opinion is practically non-existent. All we can observe is radical propaganda from the left. And the Slovenian Press Agency is following a similar path. In 2011 already, when the current law on the Slovenian Press Agency was being adopted, the idea was that the government would not be able to make direct political appointments of directors. Well, now you see how this bypass works, how indirectly a politically exposed person who has prospered under all the left governments, who was appointed by the left governments both as Information Commissioner and before that as the Secretary-General of the National Assembly, gets to be the Director of the Slovenian Press Agency,” Urbanija said.

She limited the development of the “Stay Healthy” app

We also asked Urbanija about the “Stay Healthy” app (“Ostani zdrav”). At the time, Prelesnik appeared to be acting in concert with the so-called Constitutional Arch Coalition (Koalicija ustavnega loka – KUL), which were actually the parties of the opposition at the time, when she prevented the development of an app that could have non-invasively limited the spread of a deadly virus. Urbanija recalled the critical period: “It was what the whole world, the whole of Europe, was doing at that moment, that was the most normal thing to do in order to protect health and people, and at that moment, the Information Commissioner radically sided with those who had appointed her to the post of Information Commissioner and did everything in her power to prevent the development of this application.”

Mojca Prelesnik was supposedly brought in by Gregor Golobič to be the Secretary-General of the National Assembly, and since then, she has been moving around positions that are key for the transitional left.

No experience in the media

While Prelesnik has experience in managing offices and institutions, she has no experience in managing media organisations, nor has she ever worked as a journalist or editor. “Imagine if the right-wing opposition put its Secretary-General of the National Assembly, or someone with a similar background, in this position. Without any media experience… Imagine the hue and cry that the left would raise,” Urbanija concluded.

Ž. K.

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