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Slovenia: securing funding for the news agency

About two months before the end of the year, it was decided that the delayed government funding of the financial pressure on the Slovenian news agency for the current year is over. New SDA Director Igor Kadunk and Head of the Government’s Press Office (UKOM), Orus Urbanega, today signed a contract to fund the agency’s public service for this year.

Urbanga explained in a press conference that the contract regulates the financing for the whole year in the amount of approximately two million euros. No further details were disclosed about the settlement. Last week, the government had already announced on Twitter that the contract provided for an immediate payment of 845,000 euros.

The state gives half the income

At the beginning of the year, the government of right-wing conservative Prime Minister Janez Jansa halted legal funding for the public service in the STA. This includes freely accessible reports on the most important events in the country. To this day, there have been 312 days in which STA has fulfilled this commitment without funding. About half of STA’s income comes from government grants, which is why the payment freeze has brought the agency to the brink of bankruptcy.

The funding dispute, in which the European Commission has repeatedly called on the Slovenian government to resume funding, was now supposed to be settled for the time being. However, there are still unanswered questions.

The photo service appears to be the focus of the controversy. Urbanija sees the photos as part of the agency’s free public service. But Kadunk stressed that the legal provisions in this regard are not clear. The images are currently part of the agency’s commercial offering.

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