Brdo pri Kranju – Media freedom was one of the topics that the College of Commissioners discussed Thursday as they met the government at the outset of Slovenia’s presidency of the EU. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expects that Slovenia will swiftly sort out the financing of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) and ensure its independence.
She said free and critical media which exercise oversight of governments were “the central element of any democratic society”, noting that the Commission’s concerns regarding the STA were well known and that the Commission had repeatedly voiced the expectation that the issue would be resolved.
“We believe that Slovenia must ensure the independence and appropriate funding of the public service provided by the agency, so we expect that swift solutions are found to unblock the funding. We will follow up the developments. I think there were some movements and I hope that over a short period of time there will be a good solution so that media pluralism is ensured,” she said.
Prime Minister Janez Janša said the STA must conclude an agreement with the government. “It is a European standard to settle an invoice when you have received it. But for someone to issue an invoice, there has to be a valid agreement. And this is the only problem we have concerning the agency.”
In June the government adopted a special regulation on the STA’s public service which sets the conditions for the release of a pre-payment for the agency’s public service and determines in greater detail what the agency’s public service must comprise.
“I hope that after these complications, which were completely unnecessary, we’ve now arrived at a solution and that this issue will be off the agenda,” Janša said.