The Slovenia Times

Simoniti discusses media freedom, STA with CoE commissioner


Ljubljana - Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti held an online talk with Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović on Wednesday to discuss media freedom and the freedom of expression, the Culture Ministry said. The pair also discussed the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) and proposed changes to the media legislation.

According to the ministry, Simoniti assured the commissioner that the Slovenian government thinks media freedom is crucial.

"The current government has not interfered with editorial policy or pressured the media. No journalist has been fired because of the government," the ministry said in a press release.

Commenting on the proposed changes to the media legislation, Simoniti said that 15 years ago when he was minister and the parliament passed the act on the public rebroadcast RTV Slovenija journalists and others working in the media had been just as upset as they were now by the latest proposed changes.

He said the changes were a response to the challenges of modern times.

Simoniti also presented the situation regarding the financing of the STA, stressing that the agency's founder was the state, so the STA answered to the government while the Government Communication Office was authorised to sign the contract with the STA every year.

The agency is obligated to forward to the government all financial and other data demanded by the agency's owner and it has not done that yet, the ministry said in a press release.

As for media concentration, Simoniti said that the government would like the Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS) and the Competition Protection Agency (AVK) to be more proactive.

He said that one of the goals of the new media legislation was to reduce the influence of harmful media concentration.

The minister told the commissioner that Slovenia and foreign media had recently been publishing "a whole range of false and misleading claims about the Slovenian government and the Slovenian media landscape".

The Culture Ministry has sent several denial statements to European newspapers after they published false information, he said.

Simoniti and Mijatović agreed they would continue the dialogue, the ministry said.


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