Večer news desk relocating despite concerns about independence
The newspaper publisher Večer will be moving its Maribor headquarters to a building owned by Mayor Saša Arsenovič despite opposition from employees, as well as journalists from other media outlets, who warned of possible threats to the paper's independence.
The lease contract has been signed and the paper will start operating out of the new premises on 1 January, Večer reported on 20 December.
Večer, a national newspaper with a focus on Maribor and north-east Slovenia, has had the current offices in the centre of the city since 1962.
However, just before the previous owners sold the newspaper to six companies affiliated with media mogul Martin Odlazek in mid-2021, they also sold the office building where it is based.
The newspaper is now officially headquartered in Ljubljana, from where it covers national stories, but most of its staff has remained at its rented old headquarters in Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city.
Despite loud opposition from Večer staff, journalists' organisations and the public, the relocation will go through. Nevertheless, the paper pledged to continue delivering an independent news service.
Company boss Miha Klančar said the relocation would in no way affect the basic functions a media outlet must perform in a democracy. "As director, I will continue to respect and ensure editorial and journalistic independence. Now, we need to focus on preserving quality and a high level of professionalism and being able to perform changes that will be needed in the future."
Večer staff thanked all those who supported their efforts to fight the relocation. They believe it will become clear very soon whether operating in Galerija Gosposka, the mayor's flagship building in the centre of Maribor, is realistic and possible. If this is not the case, the public will learn about it, they say.
Arsenovič had made a name for himself as a successful entrepreneur before being elected mayor for the first time in 2018. He owns a number of properties in Maribor.