Ljubljana – The supervisory board of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) appointed on Monday Igor Kadunc, former director general of the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, the agency’s acting director. Kadunc will take over from outgoing director Bojan Veselinovič on 31 October, while taking over as full-fledged director on 1 January 2022.
Chief supervisor Mladen Terčelj told the STA after today’s session that the majority of supervisors had voted for the appointment of Kadunc, who was the only candidate to apply for the job.
Terčelj believes the new director will come to the STA with “fresh energy” to resume the talks with the government, for which he hopes will be constructive.
The agency published a call for a new director in September to find a replacement for Veselinovič, whose five-year term would expire at the end of 2021.
However, Veselinovič resigned on 30 September after several rounds of talks on a public service contract for 2021 with the Government Communication Office (UKOM) failed to bring progress. His notice period expires on 30 October, and Kadunc will take over the next day.
Kadunc led RTV Slovenija between April 2017 and April 2021, and served as deputy director general between 1996 and 2001. As he says in his blog, he also led a bank, a paper mill, a hotel, the Slovenian Film Fund and even a shelter for women, while lecturing on banking, finances, management etc.
He took to Facebook today saying he does not see the appointment as any kind of victory, “because neither me nor the STA are, and must not be, in war or fight with anyone”.
He thanked the supervisory board for believing he could contribute to the STA as one of the key media outlets in the country, pledging to do all in his power for the agency to be successful at carrying out its mission.
Asked by the STA how he would address the agency’s dire financial situation, he said “it would be right to turn a new page” and address the issue of funding for this year in the best possible way and then focus on the contract for 2022.
He finds it important that a court decision on STA financing will be made and “will signal the direction of addressing funding for this year and perhaps the future”.
He does not know the details about the contract UKOM had offered to the STA for this year, but from what he had heard, “it’s clear that it cannot be signed”.
The STA staff meanwhile hope for constructive cooperation with the new director, from whom they primarily expect to address the financial situation and to ensure editorial autonomy while not laying off any workers.
“We expect the same from the representative of the STA owner, that is the Republic of Slovenia,” the staff wrote today.
They said the government side had expressed some reservation about Kadunc, but the staff nevertheless expect this will not be an excuse to continue the financial drainage of the agency and to not respect the law and regulations.
The STA, which provides public service under the STA law, has been without state funding since the beginning of the year. It has so far managed to survive thanks to a donation campaign in the summer and the sale of claims to UKOM. However, it is on the cusp of running out of money.