Združenje novinarjev in publicistov
Pismo ZNP mednarodni javnosti o primeru Meško natisni

Dear Sir,  Madam,

I would like to inform you about the case of Borut Meško, who is the editor-in-chief of the STA (Slovenian Press Agency) and against whom the Director of the STA Bojan Veselinovič began the process of his dismissal and termination of the contract of employment. The real reason (which Veselinovič naturally denies) is that Meško is not »politically compatible« with media-policy aspirations of the current Slovenian government.


Bojan Veselinovič was appointed as the STA Director on 26 March this year by the decision of Borut Pahor's Government since the State is 100% owner of the STA. Veselinovič took the position of the Director on 2 April this year and soon began to interfere in the editorial work and was mobbing the editor Borut Meško to force him into resignation. Because of the pressure and constant mobbing, Meško went to a longer sick leave in May. After returning to work, the pressure on the chief editor continued, and in early October, the Director proposed dismissal and termination of the contract of employment. The Association of Journalists and Commentators (Združenje novinarjev in publicistov) believes that the reasons for harassment of Meško are thoroughly political. Veselinovič was an open supporter of the left (ex-communist) political option prior to being appointed as the STA Director. He is also one of the signatories and main initiators of the »Petitions against the political pressure and censorship«, directed against Janez Janša's right centrist government in autumn 2007, a year before the parliamentary election in 2008, which brought to power the satellite parties of the ex-communist regime (SD - the so-called “social democrats“ , LDS - the so called “liberal democrats“ , Zares /eng. =truly, indeed/ - the party of leftist ex-LDS members, DeSUS -  the ex-communist pensioner party). Meško as the editor-in-chief made possible from the very beginning of his mandate in July 2007 that STA journalists finally published also the reports and interviews about new findings in investigation on the totalitarian heritage of Slovenian post-communist society and politics (mass grave finding in Huda jama mine, near Laško in spring 2008, etc.), which was never in the focus of STA news and reports from the founding of agency in 1991 on. These reports and interviews were in fact very irritating for actual coalition government and their supporters in the so-called „civil society“ (communist veteran organisations, pro-communist academics and journalists association „Društvo novinarjev Slovenije“ etc.). It is to emphasize that Meško as a young journalist was one of the first of them who reported about misgovernment of the ex-communist regime, abuse of power and the communist mass liquidations after the Second World War in former socialist Yugoslavia for »Mladina« weekly magazine long ago, already at the end of the eighties, in the times of so-called „Slovenian Spring“ - (Slovenian art of Czech „velvet revolution“).  Meško was appointed to the position of the STA chief editor in July 2007 by the previous director Ms Alenka Paulin, who was as Master of communication sciences appointed to this position by Janez Janša's right centrist government. Although Ms Paulin was one of the ex-PR of Janša's SDS party, former STA editor-in-chief Nadja Podobnik was able to continue her work at the STA as the deputy of the editor-in-chief. While Meško is about to lose his job now, on the basis of Veselinovič’s constructed accusations.On the other hand, the Association of Journalists and Commentators has no indication that any full employed journalist lost his job in STA on behalf of director who was appointed by the Janša's government. If Meško loses his job, according to the Association of Journalists and Commentators, Prime Minister Borut Pahor will be responsible since his government set Veselinovič to the position of the Director of the STA. For the situation in the media, which is 100-percent owned by the State and where the director is appointed by the Government, the responsibility is on the Government and Prime minister. For harassment of subordinate editors and journalists, for political pressure and censorship on this media is to blame the government and Pahor personally. Therefore, the President of the Association of Journalists and Commentators Igor Kršinar on press conference on 20. 10. 2009 publicly accused the Prime Minister Borut Pahor of political pressure, censorship, mobbing and dismissal of journalists on the STA, who is not preferred by the government of Borut Pahor and director Bojan Veselinovič.  Pahor dismisses the allegations against him, saying that the government has no power to interfere in the internal relations within the STA and that Meško can go to the Court, if he considers that termination of employment is unlawful. The Association of Journalists and Commentator believes that Pahor lies: since the government is the only shareholder of the STA and has the authority to appoint the director, it is also responsible for the legality of the work in this agency. The Association of Journalists and Commentators believes that Pahor's Government is sending a threatening message to journalists, saying they will lose job unless they support the leftist political option and Pahor's government. Two years ago the STA employed some journalists who are more inclined to current opposition in Slovenia so they risk that they will lose their job in a similar manner as Meško. It is also possible that the government wants the case of Meško as an example to scare other journalists to make them more inclined toward Pahor's government and leftist political option. In Slovenia, this option has the ownership and editorial control of the three largest Slovenian dailies; »Delo«, »Večer« and »Dnevnik«: their owners have very close ties to the leftist political parties and their editors support the leftist political option. The chief editor of the central Slovenian newspaper Delo Darijan Košir e.g. - before the election in 2008 - openly declared to the readers that the newspaper supports „political change“ and Borut Pahor. This happened after the ex-owner of Delo Boško Šrot (Pivovarna Laško brewery CEO) commanded the editor influence of Delo to the supporters of Pahor and their political allies.It is to mention that Delo had previously destroyed independence of the editorial board of the weekly  Mag as a right centrist magazine, as reported otherwise. Anyone who does not think like the political Left is not in accordance with the newspaper Delo editorial policy, monopolised by the leftist political option.

Even the Association of Journalists of Slovenia (Društvo novinarjev Slovenije), led by the editor of Mladina weekly Grega Repovž, serves primarily to the interests of the leftist (ex-communist) political parties, which are on the power for most of the time since 1990. In Meško's case, Repovž gave his support to Veselinovič (and of course to Borut Pahor's government) rather than to the editor, who is going to lose his job. Association of Journalists of Slovenia is therefore governmental para-civil society. Without exaggeration we can say, the Association of Journalists and Commentators is the only independent journalist organization in Slovenia. Since governmental Repovž’s Association is also long standing member of the international journalists organizations, our association has little chance to attract  attention to the real media situation in Slovenia, so we ask to report  about the described case.

Thank you for your attention,

Igor Kršinar

President of the Association of Journalists and Commentators / Združenje novinarjev in publicistov

 Ljubljana, 27. 10. 2009



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