STA, 10 August 2022 - Prime Minister Robert Golob has proposed that TV Slovenija journalist Petra Bezjak Cirman be appointed the new head of the government Communications Office (UKOM). Earlier on Wednesday, the prime minister's office confirmed for the STA that Dragan Barbutovski was leaving the post after just over two months on the job.
Bezjak Cirman is to become acting director of UKOM. She will expectedly be appointed in the coming days.
She has worked as a journalist at public broadcaster RTV Slovenija for years before becoming the head of the broadcaster's works council and the workers' representative on RTV Slovenija's supervisory board.
Bezjak Cirman told the STA that she was looking forward to a new challenge but also that this was a hard decision to make because she loved being a journalist. Nevertheless, she sees the heading of UKOM as a significant step in her career.
Bezjak Cirman has been a top workers' representative at the public broadcaster at a time when employees of RTV Slovenija protested against political meddling by the then UKOM boss Uroš Urbanija and the previous government.
Urbanija's time in office was marked by withdrawal of funding for the STA and weekly commentary about TV Slovenija production. Only a few weeks ago, he was appointed TV Slovenija director by the broadcaster's director general Andrej Grah Whatmough.
Barbutovski, who replaced Urbanija in early June, will in the future be working in the prime minister's office as foreign communications officer.
The newspaper Dnevnik was the first to report about Barbutovski leaving UKOM, citing differences within the ruling Freedom Movement as regards expectations and work methods at the office.
A press release from RTV Slovenija announcing that Bezjak Cirman was leaving the broadcaster said that Barbutovski had resigned as UKOM boss. It also said that Grah Whatmough agreed to cut Bezjak Cirman's resignation notice period, so that she could start working at UKOM as early as next week.
The prime minister's office said that coalition parties had been warning against hate speech in politics already before the April election and that UKOM was one of the bodies that should pay special attention to this.