Director of the Government Communication Office (Urad Vlade Republike Slovenije za komuniciranje – referred to as UKOM) congratulated his journalistic colleague on Twitter, as she was elected president of the Slovenian Union of Journalists. However, the union clearly positioned itself against UKOM when it called on the government to immediately fulfil its financial obligations to the Slovenian Press Agency (Slovenska tiskovna agencija – referred to as the STA), and also warned the government to stop pushing the national public broadcasting organisation RTV Slovenia into excessive shrinking of the number of its activities, which is already below the legal level, through financial blackmail. STA journalist Mihael Šuštaršič responded to the congratulatory tweet and sent some pretty nasty words to UKOM director Uroš Urbanija. However, in the past, Šuštaršič was supposedly known for even more brutal attacks, so Urbanija was actually pretty lucky this time.
Mihael Šuštaršič, an STA journalist, responded to Urbanija’s tweet with foul language that really does not befit a journalist o the Slovenian Press Agency, which was partially being financed from the state budget until recently, as well as from other sources. Namely, UKOM director Uroš Urbanija congratulated Alenka Potočnik, who was elected president of the Slovenian Union of Journalists, while Petra Bezjak Cirman from Television Slovenia was elected vice president. In response to this, Šuštaršič, who was already known for his quick anger and impulsive outbursts, wrote the following tweet: “The fucker is congratulating her today, and tomorrow, he will make sure that she will be out of a job. At the same time, he continues to insult her and claim that she is part of fake news.” Šuštaršič was, of course, hinting at what has been going on between the STA and UKOM, and apparently also blamed Urbanija for the situation, however, it is not known what relations he has with the STA director, who announced on the public website that he intends to close the agency in the next two months – it is likely that he is trying to force payments for the unsolicited services by doing this. The contract between UKOM and STA has not been concluded, so there is no basis for the STA director to keep sending invoices to UKOM.
Years ago, Šuštaršič wrote a letter and sent it to then-Prime Minister Borut Pahor. In it, he urged Pahor, as the STA owner’s representative, to study the situation at the agency and take the latest measures taken by the then-administration, led by Alenka Katarina Paulin, seriously. When then-editor-in-chief, Borut Meško, called on Šuštaršič to substantiate some of the allegations from the letter with concrete evidence, they allegedly almost got into a fight.
Namely, Šuštaršič, who supposedly hated Meško with a passion, wanted to physically settle accounts with the editor-in-chief, Požareport reported. Let us remind you that Borut Meško died of cancer, and according to many, the director of the STA, Bojan Veselinovič, heavily contributed to the development of the disease with his prolonged harassment.
The Požareport web portal also states that this was not the journalist’s first attempt at a fight. Before this, he also wanted to fight the then-editor of internal policy, Uroš Urbanija – the same man who he is now calling a “fucker,” and he also physically threatened the deputy director Robert Gornik. When he was still a student, Šuštaršič was an activist of the Youth Forum, the youth wing of the Social Democrats party (Socialni demokrati – SD), which supposedly also helped him in his confrontations within the Slovenian Press Agency, so he allegedly also bragged about it himself.
However, Šuštaršič’s primitive outbursts did not end with the tweet mentioned above. “You lying fucker, the citizens have not been financing the STA for three months now. Because of you! Meanwhile, I still have to finance you, even though you are not even capable of watching over some sheep, given that your communication “skills” are reflected in 4000+ new graves,” he angrily replied to Urbanija and his remark that the journalist of the STA, which is funded by all citizens, is representing it with his linguistic “abilities.” Given that the STA received at least 2 million euros a year from the state budget – regardless of the contract with UKOM or the government administration – it is, of course, not true that the citizens have not been funding the STA for the last three months. By the way, UKOM also paid the bill for 169 thousand euros for the month of January. If we are to assume that director Veselinovič is not paying himself an obscenely high salary, there was surely enough money for the STA journalists in that amount as well, as they have had rather low salaries for years now. “The salaries are barely high enough for a decent living of the STA employees,” the group of journalists wrote in a press release. Veselinovič, who hid the data from the year 2019, however, received an incredible 102 thousand euros in that year.
It is becoming more and more clear why director Veselinovič and the Supervisory Board do not want to hand over the documentation
A few days ago, Urbanija wrote on Twitter that during the investigation of STA’s business conduct, it is becoming increasingly clear why director Veselinović and the supervisory board are concealing documentation. “Evident violation of laws, creative accounting in separating the so-called market activities from public activities, and the drawing of taxpayers’ money through the system of annexes,” he warned. It is worth recalling the words of the lawyer and member of the STA Supervisory Board, Radovan Cerjak, who told Nova24TV that ever since he joined the Slovenian Press Agency’s Supervisory Board, he has had a feeling that he is being blocked from supervision. “When I requested certain documents on several occasions, there was always a thousand and one problems, which meant that I could not get the said documents. For example, I once asked to see the employment contract of the director of the company, Mr. Bojan Veselinovič. The contract was handed to us at the meeting of the Supervisory Board, and after a minute or two, it was snatched from my hands. A similar thing happened with the price list.” Cerjak pointed out that supervision cannot be done this way.