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

call-for-expression-of-interest-2

Call for Expression of Interest

Strengthening the media’s role in transparency of political party financing.

Durres, April 29-30, 2017

birn-investigates-scandals-at-the-university-of-prishtina

BIRN Investigates Scandals at the University of Prishtina

The University of Prishtina has been plagued with scandals in recent years, leading BIRN to investigate the university’s practices. Through its television programme “Life in Kosovo,” BIRN presented its findings on suspicious promotion cases and dubious professorial publishing practices. 

birn-discusses-fake-news

BIRN Discusses Fake News

 On April 4th, 2017, BIRN was pleased to participate in a weekly salon organized by Democracy for Development, D4D, in Prishtina to discuss the phenomenon of fake news. Opening remarks were delivered by the panelists, including BIRN representatives, about the Internet’s strong influence on loosening the public’s grip on the truth. 

 

who-owns-the-media-in-serbia

Who owns the Media in Serbia?

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and Reporters Without Borders have started a joint “Media Ownership Monitor” project to shed light on the Serbian media market.  

krypomëter-explained-at-university-of-prishtina

Krypomëter Explained at University of Prishtina

April 4th saw the first public lecture on fact checking at the University of Prishtina’s Faculty of Philology, Department of Journalism, concerning the “Krypometër’’ tool created by Kallxo.com. 

fact-checking-day-honoured-at-university-of-aab

Fact-checking Day Honoured at University of AAB

On April 5th, in honour of international fact-checking week, the kallxo.com team in cooperation with University of AAB’s Department of Mass Communications in Pristina, held a lecture at the university.

birn-bih-helps-initiative-plan-monitoring-bosnia-s

BIRN BiH Helps Initiative Plan Monitoring Bosnia’s

Members of the Initiative for Monitoring the European Integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina [the Initiative], including BIRN BiH, held a two-day strategic planning session focusing on monitoring Bosnia’s European integration process in the upcoming period. The session took place on March 21st and 22nd in the capital, Sarajevo.

birn-regional-project-on-openness-now-underway

BIRN Regional Project on Openness Now Underway

With the support of German Foreign Office Stability Pact funds, BIRN regional organisation has started the implementation of a nine-month regional project that aims to contribute to professionalizing media reporting on legal proceedings related to organized crime and corruption.

BIRN Chats with Student Participants in “Dialogue Across Borders”

On March 10th, 2017, BIRN hosted a group of students, primarily studying political science, who were participating in a workshop organized by “Dialogue Across Borders: Overcoming Borders through European Integration.” The project specifically aims to facilitate dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, while assisting in the normalization of relations between the two.

challenging-dangerous-messages-online-workshop-application

Challenging Dangerous Messages Online: Workshop Application

CIJA US, in cooperation with BIRN and the Foundation Dokukino will organize a series of capacity building activities in the Western Balkans in 2017 for activists, journalists, bloggers, educators and other online (and offline) influencers to help develop online communication strategies to respond to dangerous content.

In This Article

Network