Slovenian Press Agency marks 30th anniversary

Ljubljana – The Slovenian Press Agency (STA) celebrated its 30th anniversary with a ceremony in front of its headquarters in Ljubljana on Sunday amid a rather uncertain financial situation to mark the day 30 years ago when it published its first news article.

The STA was entered in the national register of companies on 3 June 1991, and started operating on 20 June 1991, a few days ahead of the official declaration of Slovenia’s independence.

On this day 30 years ago, the national news agency published its first news article in Slovenian and English in a bid to form a channel of communication with the domestic and foreign public.

“Unfortunately we are celebrating our 30th birthday in the most uncertain of times in the history of our media outlet. Politics has got at us. Not for the first time. But never as aggressively as now,” STA employees said in the statement that was read at the event.

The statement says that the incumbent government interprets the STA’s role in a wrong manner. “We are no government mouthpiece, we are a media outlet in the public interest. Instead of gaining recognition for our work over the past 30 years we were called a national disgrace this year.”

“Despite the uncertain situation, we will continue to do our work professionally. We will do it until the end, not letting be transformed into a PR service of the government, neither this one nor any other. We believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that justice will be served in court,” the statement reads.

The event was accompanied by live music and by a video presentation featuring stories by four of STA journalists, ending with a family photo of all staff and ex-staff plus a big birthday cake.

Since its humble and difficult beginnings during the Slovenian war of independence, the STA has developed into a modern media service that provides text articles, audio clips, photographs, livestreams and several other types of content.

Employing more than 80 journalists, photographers and other staff, the STA publishes more than 350 news items in Slovenian and English daily.

In the 30 years of its existence, the agency has published more than 2.5 million news items and other pieces of text content in Slovenia and more than 270,000 in English, around a million photographs and more than 130,000 audio recordings.

The anniversary comes at a difficult time as the agency, which is fully owned by the Republic of Slovenia, has not been paid by the government for the public service it provides for more than 170 days and is on the verge of insolvency.

Jumping in to help was the Slovenian Journalist Association (DNS), which launched a donation campaign in May as part of which more than a quarter million euro has been raised for the agency. Today, STA staff thanked everyone who has made a donation.

The association has also proposed that President Borut Pahor decorate the STA on the anniversary, with the president responding affirmatively. The agency will thus receive the Order of Merit at Presidential Palace on Wednesday.