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Former Director Of Television Slovenija, Urbanija: The Reason For My Extraordinary Termination Is Quite Bizarre

“The Acting Director-General or the new President of the Management Board of the national media outlet Radio-Television Slovenia, Zvezdan Martić, has literally made an epic managerial start,” said investigative journalist Bojan Požar, referring to the three recent changes in the position of acting head of the Multimedia Centre of RTV Slovenia. Martić did not stop there, however, as he also initiated an extraordinary termination procedure against the acting director of TV Slovenia, Uroš Urbanija, MSc. “This is bizarre, perverse,” said Urbanija, adding that the argument for his dismissal is an insult to common sense.

First, Zvezdan Martić replaced Anže Ančimer and appointed Marjanca Plaznik to the position of acting head of the Multimedia Centre of RTV Slovenia. He then replaced Plaznik with Tomaž Drnovšek at the speed of light. He now appointed Katarina Jakopič to replace Drnovšek. “If the previous Director-General of RTV Slovenia, Andrej Grah Whatmough, had done anything like this, the media would have torn him apart, but now they are silent. It is as if nothing is happening …,” Bojan Požar was critical of the situation.

The Acting Director of Television Slovenia, Uroš Urbanija, responded to Martić’s recent staffing changes via Twitter, and announced that Martić had initiated an extraordinary termination procedure against him. “On the last day of his mandate as Acting Director-General of RTV Slovenia, Zvezdan Martić initiated the procedure of the extraordinary termination of the Acting Director of TV Slovenia,” he pointed out, adding that the reason for this was particularly bizarre. “The reason for it was that in March 2023, I gave some powers to the long-standing finance assistant, who has been doing her job under at least five directors at TV Slovenia for 25 years. To make matters even more bizarre: Martić claims that this was not authorised by Grah Whatmough.” Regarding the news that Martić had started the dismissal procedure against the director of Television Slovenia, Uroš Urbania, on Wednesday, and for unfair reasons, Požar reminded that Martić needs the consent of the RTV Council to do so.

We decided to ask Urbania for a comment. He told our media outlet that despite the clearly defined legal obligations in the Radio-Television Slovenia Act, including the amendment to the Act adopted by the current Golob government, as well as the commitments of the Acting Director-General Zvezdan Martić at the last RTV Council meeting that he would not interfere in practically any system at RTV during his time as Acting Director-General, and that he would practically freeze the situation as it is, the current Acting Director-General, who officially became Chairman of the Board on Wednesday, or rather, when the Board became fully operational, has been implementing some pretty brutal personnel changes. “On practically the first day of his 10 days in office, he dismissed the acting head of the Multimedia Centre. In the meantime, he then replaced the heads of the Multimedia Centre, whom he himself had appointed, twice more. So, in 10 days, we now have a third head of the MMC,” he explained.

Urbanija: The reason for my extraordinary termination is quite bizarre

“Yesterday, he sent me a note on the initiation of the procedure for my extraordinary termination,” Urbanija pointed out, adding that the reason for his termination that was given to him was quite bizarre. “In March, during the mandate of the previous Director-General, I signed a financial authorisation for the financier of Television Slovenia, who has been the financier here for 25 years and has been the assistant of all the directors of the national television – from Janez Lombergar onwards. She has also been the assistant to Natalia Gorščak, Valentin Areh, Ljerka Bizilj, and Jože Možina.” Urbanija said that he signed an authorisation for her, but Martić accused him of not being allowed by the previous Director-General to give this authorisation to the financier. “This is bizarre, perverse. We will see how the matter moves forward,” Urbanija said, adding that he has no doubt that the RTV Council will adopt the matter unanimously, which is how they have operated so far, and which is also customary in totalitarian regimes.

There have been no allegations that the financier did anything wrong

When asked if he would appeal, Urbanija said that he would, explaining that he wants to clarify things if given the opportunity. “They were obviously in a great hurry if he had to write something on the last day of his mandate, which, of course, is fundamentally not true or does not hold water.” He said that he is interested to know how Martić is going to prove that it was right for Urbanija to be extraordinarily terminated. “On the other hand, this financier, who had the powers, did not in any way harm RTV or anything else. That is the second part of the story, which is actually completely clean. She was acting in good faith. She did everything right, and there is no accusation that anything was wrong.”

He also recalled that a very similar situation happened in the case of the previous Acting Director-General of RTVS, Grah Whatmough, where he was accused of doing things that clearly do not hold water. For example, he was accused of not providing them the Čeferin law firm. “Let’s be honest, I didn’t provide the Čeferin law firm because I was the Acting Director-General at the time, and I signed a resolution that I couldn’t do such things, because it would have been illegal for me to explicitly provide them one law firm. Apparently, in a totalitarian country, you can take things that someone clearly has not done and then accuse them of being guilty of doing those exact things.” According to Urbania, the previous Director-General was dismissed 10 days before the end of his mandate, and on Thursday, the handover of business was supposed to happen. “The same goes for me. If I am dismissed, it will happen 10-14 days before the expiry of my mandate, as foreseen by the law,” Urbanija concluded.

N. Ž.

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