EANA calls on Janša to settle dispute over STA

Slovenska tiskovna agencija (STA).

Bern – The European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) has addressed an open letter to Prime Minister Janez Janša calling on him to resolve the dispute with the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) while expressing concern about Janša’s tweet accusing STA director Bojan Veselinovič of being an accomplice to the “murder” of former STA editor-in-chief Borut Meško.

“Since this allegation comes obviously without any proof we must regard this step as another blunt attempt to attack STA and its independence,” reads the open letter, published on the EANA website.

They say it is possible to get clear evidence about the quality of media freedom and media policy in a country by watching the relation between state and the news agency and how the authorities confirm its independence.

“If the independence of the news agency comes under siege, we can always spot two strategies: putting pressure on the management or the supervisory board of the news agency and cutting the funding of the news agency.”

EANA is “extremely worried” that both strategies are being applied in Slovenia. “Looking at the brutality of the applied actions, we regard the STA’s situation as unprecedented. By not hesitating to harm the reputation of involved persons, it is clear to us that the limits of civilised public conversation have been crossed.”

The organisation says that STA is an important part of Slovenia’s free media infrastructure. In the run-up to Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU “people of Slovenia and of whole Europe would highly appreciate that you do your best to settle the current conflict in a way, that the independence of STA represented by its management and its business conduct stays untouched,” reads the letter.