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

birn-macedonia-launches-seventh-call-for-investigative-reports

BIRN Macedonia Launches Seventh Call for Investigative Reports

BIRN Macedonia, together with Centre for Investigative journalism - SCOOP Macedonia and the Centre for Civil Communications launched the seventh call for investigative stories on March 2nd.

birn-builds-up-library-of-investigative-journalism

BIRN Builds up Library of Investigative Journalism

BIRN Macedonia on February 25 donated a variety of books to the School of Journalism and Public Relations in Macedonia in order to provide additional support to the students of the school in strengthening their skills and knowledge of investigative journalism.

albania-reporters-trained-on-likely-impact-of-reform

Albania Reporters Trained on Likely Impact of Reform

On February 20th and 21st BIRN Albania held a two-day workshop in the city of Durres with ten journalists on the country’s administrative and territorial reform and its impact on the local elections, due at the end of June. 

belgrade-insight-kicked-out-of-distribution-points

Belgrade Insight Kicked Out of Distribution Points

Distribution of Belgrade Insight has been stopped at Belgrade airport and at Tourist Organisation of Belgrade centres - in what appears a continuation of the government-led campaign against BIRN.

birn-macedonia-promotes-2015-fellowship

BIRN Macedonia Promotes 2015 Fellowship

BIRN Macedonia has launched the ninth Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence, this year on the theme of ‘Values’.

birn-s-response-to-johannes-hahn-on-media-freedom

BIRN's Response to Johannes Hahn on Media Freedom

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network is issuing a statement after Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiation, said he could not react to claims about media freedom violations in Serbia without seeing proof. BIRN is sending its response to all relevant human rights organisations, EU diplomats and international journalists.

unite-for-freedom-birn-media-debate-hears

Unite for Freedom, BIRN Media Debate Hears

Panellists and guests at the ‘Free the media’ debate concluded that in times of financial hardship and other pressures, journalists must unite against new forms of censorship.

birn-addresses-international-human-rights-organisations

BIRN Addresses International Human Rights Organisations

BIRN Regional Director Gordana Igric has sent a letter on behalf of the network to more than 30 international human rights and media organisations including the Committee to Protect Journalists, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and International Press Institute to highlight the continued pressure on BIRN in Serbia.

birn-kosovo-monitoring-of-public-procurement-for-2014

BIRN Kosovo monitoring of public procurement for 2014

BIRN Kosovo monitoring of public procurement for 2014.

birn-wins-grizelj-award-in-serbia

BIRN Wins Grizelj Award in Serbia

The Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia, NUNS, has announced that BIRN Serbia had received Jug Grizelj Award for investigative journalism for 2014.

In This Article

Network