The Slovenia Times

TV Slovenija anchor and editor face transfer over Mladina report


Ljubljana - TV Slovenija director Uroš Urbanija has called for a TV news show anchor and editor to get transferred over how they decided to present a report on the broadcaster ending its business with the magazine Mladina.

On the main news show TV Dnevnik last week anchor Saša Krajnc announced a report on the reasons why Urbanija was ending business cooperation with Mladina by saying the report was being run at the explicit request of editor-in-chief Jadranka Rebernik.

Having received the requested explanations, Urbanija concluded that Krajnc and the daily Dnevnik editor Vesna Pfeiffer were not up to the task and demanded Rebernik assign them to some other tasks.

Urbanija initially opened internal investigation to look into the claim that someone wanted to censor the report, demanding for reports to be sent to him on the matter.

It follows from those reports that the piece on Mladina was authored by a channel 2 reporter. The daily editor on TV Dnevnik, which is aired on prime channel 1, was notified of the piece less than an hour before the show.

"Consequently, Pfeiffer as editor had no chance to perform her editorial job in any way," it follows from the reports.

However, Urbanija interpreted that Krajnc and Pfeiffer "found themselves in a very stressful situation, which was why they decided to inform the viewers about the 'subject selection process' in TV Dnevnik".

He added that he believed editors and anchors "are expected to be able to adapt to new situations not just an hour ahead of the show but even five minutes ahead of the show or even during the show".

"Given the two employees were clearly in distress they could not cope with, I will not initiate disciplinary proceedings. However, I expect the editor-in-chief to have a word with the two employees and assign them the tasks they will be able to perform professionally," said Urbanija.

Krajnc and Pfeiffer have labelled Urbanija's allegation that they were not fit for their jobs as an insult and slander, announcing they will discuss with the lawyer what their options are.

"We've both been working with TV Slovenija longer than Urbanija and I regret that he doesn't understand the protocols of making television programmes," Krajnc told the STA.

Krajnc had been hosting news shows on TV Slovenija for 15 years, earlier he also hosted such programmes for TV Maribor and various radio stations. "I've hosted as unpredictable shows as election shows. So far I have always got excellent marks for my work on TV Slovenija from my superiors," said Krajnc.

Similarly, Pfeiffer says she has been working in journalism for almost 40 years, being editor of various shows on TV Slovenija since 2013. For the past three years she has been editor on the late night news show Odmevi and TV Dnevnik, which means she knows how to work under pressure, she told the STA.

She said the report on Mladina had not been announced. Instead she expected a report on Covid tests in pharmacies that was to promote the new news show Panorama on channel 2, but the author told her less than an hour before it was to go on air that the topic had been changed and the new report had already been edited, "which means I no longer had the chance to have any influence on it," said Pfeiffer.

This was confirmed by Krajnc, who said the report was too long, so they had to remove other planned reports from TV Dnevnik. Instead of withdrawing the report from the programme, they decided to inform the public of the circumstances it was made in.

The change of the topic of the Panorama report is said to have been demanded by editor-in-chief Rebernik. The report was later not aired on Panorama at all, which is why Pfeiffer suspects they wanted to "plant the content on TV Dnevnik" that she signed off as editor.

Both Pfeiffer and Krajnc continue in their jobs for the time being but Krajnc said work with TV Slovenija was difficult of late, pointing to staff shortages and "increasing number of demands from superiors to explain why we said something or didn't say something on the show".

According to Večer, Urbanija also ordered an analysis on what other media TV Slovenija had cited since the beginning of 2021 until 1 August this year.

He told Večer the reason was "the many allegations of corruption risks as certain media were being quoted disproportionally often by RTV Slovenija compared to others and "were covertly advertised in such a way".

Urbanija, who headed the Government Communication Office (UKOM) under the Janez Janša government, was appointed director of TV Slovenija in mid-July despite protests from the in-house trade unions.

During his watch UKOM withheld public funding from the STA for nearly a year and compiled weekly assessments on TV Slovenija reporting.


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