31 December 13

Party Spokesman Unhappy Over Questioning of Former Company

Marko Selaković, the spokesman for the United Regions of Serbia party, has criticized BIRN’s research into the operations of his former business.

Since June this year the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network has been investigating the spending of Belgrade public companies and the city administration on marketing and other services provided by PR agencies. BIRN journalists have obtained some 300 business contracts over the course of the research and conducted dozens of interviews with representatives of the public administration and private companies, while two articles have been published.

When BIRN began its research into the work of the Stratkom PR Agency, which does business with several public companies and state institutions in Serbia, Selaković expressed his discontent on Facebook and Twitter. Selaković is the former director of the company, and was recently appointed spokesman of the United Regions of Serbia party. Writing on the social network websites, Selaković said he was unhappy that journalists were showing interest in Stratkom’s business operations.

“Over the past few days the so-called investigative journalists swooped down on the StratCom agency, where I worked until December 10. They called practically all StratCom clients (they didn’t meet with StratCom) and insisted on answers to all kinds of questions. They got the answers but refused to see the contracts. Also, they are not interested in other agencies but focus solely on StratCom. The digging up and checking of clients goes all the way to the level of the Rača municipality. They are calling clients’ managers, municipal heads, directors...The interviews are very unpleasant and conducted in a bitter tone of voice. Practically everyone’s been on StratCom’s back over the past few months – from the Tax Administration on-site inspection to tax police officers, etc, etc. Now that I am no longer there I feel it is my duty to put a stop to the abuse of people working at the company. As for me, I’m prepared to file a criminal complaint against myself. If it is established that StratCom or I personally did anything illegal, I am prepared to bear all the consequences. I’m just asking for the selective persecution and pursuit of people who are doing their jobs to stop once and for all. In whose interest is it for a healthy agency to be eliminated from the market?...

… Let’s get one thing straight here: I have always been and will be in favour of investigative journalism. I have never been and will never be in favour of selective investigative journalism…

… But I really don’t understand where they get the right to repeatedly call, day after day, EACH and EVERY StratCom client and over and over again ask absurd questions such as: "Did Selaković abuse his position as URS spokesman so StratCom would work with you?"; "Do you know how much money you are paying them?"; "Do the people know that you are giving them money?"; "What is it that they do for you for that kind of money?" and similar questions. In this process, the “investigative journalists” don’t want to talk to the people in charge of implementing the agreements but only with the management. And they call them over and over again, day after day. This creates tension in the agency’s relations with clients because the clients feel very uncomfortable. My question is: how can I abuse a position that I have held for 15 days (and I ended my employment the minute I took on this political position) and StratCom has been around for years? But no, this question isn’t heard."



Fill out my online form.

Latest News and Events

al-jazeera-balkans-shows-birn-film-seven-times

Al Jazeera Balkans Shows BIRN Film Seven Times

Al Jazeera Balkans broadcast BIRN’s documentary ‘The Unidentified’, about the Serbian fighters responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the Kosovo war, seven times in December 2016.

internet-offers-income-perspectives-birn-serbia-debate-hears-1

Internet Offers Income Perspectives, BIRN Serbia Debate Hears

People in Serbia are willing to pay for good content on the Internet but there are major issues with clickbait articles, badly-produced news and commercially-led content, a BIRN Serbia debate heard.

birn-cin-begin-montenegro-investigative-journalism-project

BIRN, CIN Begin Montenegro Investigative Journalism Project

Strengthening investigative reporting and the capacities of investigative journalists in Montenegro, as well as the quality of media content related to EU negotiation chapters, are the focus of the new EU-supported project.

birn-bih-participates-in-information-law-consultations

BIRN BiH Participates in Information Law Consultations

Representatives of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina participated in a public debate on a draft revision of the Law on Free Access to Information, held in Sarajevo on February 23. 

balkan-insight-cited-in-council-of-europe-commission-report

Balkan Insight Cited in Council of Europe Commission Report

The latest European Commission against Racism and Intolerance country report on Bosnia and Herzegovina quotes articles from BIRN’s flagship publication Balkan Insight.

smear-campaign-targets-birn-journalists-in-macedonia

Smear Campaign Targets BIRN Journalists in Macedonia

BIRN journalists in Macedonia are being subjected to an incendiary campaign on social networks by supporters of the rightist VMRO DPMNE party.

birn-macedonia-s-vlado-apostolov-awarded-for-investigative-reporting

BIRN Macedonia’s Vlado Apostolov Awarded for Investigative Reporting

The Association of Journalists of Macedonia gave its annual investigative reporting award for 2016 to BIRN journalist Vlado Apostolov on February 22 for his series of articles on properties connected to a Macedonian official, Vladimir Zdravev.

birn-albania-seeks-investigations-on-financial-industry

BIRN Albania Seeks Investigations on Financial Industry

Grants offered for three journalists to uncover corruption and abuse of power stories in the financial industry as well as mentoring by experienced editors.

birn-kosovo-wins-anti-corruption-reporting-award

BIRN Staff Trained in Project Cycle Management

Twenty BIRN Programme and Project Managers have been trained to build their capacities in the field of project cycle management.

birn-macedonia-launches-foreign-investments-database

BIRN Macedonia Launches Foreign Investments Database

BIRN Macedonia has launched a new database called ‘Foreign Investments Uncovered’ which indicates that the amount of these investments is seven times lower than announced by government.

In This Article

Network