Changes for the better

With the collection of articles on this website, we wish to demonstrate that by investigating and pointing out irregularities, journalism can make a significant contribution to changes for the better. Here, we are therefore highlighting our stories with impact:

 

  • In May 2017, we published a leaked draft of the new bill which regulates the functioning of Slovenia’s main intelligence agency (Sova). The bill would give, among others, the power to its employees to secrety conduct house searches in the homes of Slovenians. The bill was prepared by a government working group. After our publication, the Slovenian prime minister Miro Cerar stressed at the parliament session that some provisions of the bill are unconstitutional and will not presented to the parliament. More on this in the article: Premier Cerar: Some provisions in the Sova bill are unconstitutional (May 2017)
  • We have uncovered a fact that in the past years, a company called Metalvar paid 557.000 less in tax than it should. The director of Metalvar at that time was Darko Dubravica. The company could not prove to the tax authority that some of the services paid to contractors were actually rendered. Dubravica then became part of management in a municipality-owned company Nigrad. After our exposure, Dubravica was fired from Nigrad – officially, due to business related issues. More on this in the article: Nigrad fires ex director of Metalvar (March 2017)
  • During 2016, we extensively reported on the lack of oversight over quality of healthcare services in Slovenian hospitals. Slovenian ministry of health estimates that around 1000 patients die each year because of medical mistakes which could be avoided. The ministry has now published a proposed list of changes for improving the quality of healthcare. More on this in the article Ministry presents proposals for improving quality of healthcare (January 2017)
  • One of the reasons for traffic accidents in Slovenia is also poor condition of state roads. In summer of 2016, we uncovered 34 dangerous spots on state roads where security of the traffic infrastructure should be improved. Slovenian government now announced investments into roads worth several hundred million Euros. First goal of those investments is improving safety of Slovenian state roads. More on this in the article Why are Slovenian state roads in decay and how will those responsible improve their safety (December 2016)
  • President of the board of director of Slovenian “bad bank” resigned from the post after we revealed backroom dealings of directors on how to raise salaries of managers of state-owned companies above the legal limits. More on this in the article Slovenia: “Bad Bank” Head Steps Down (October 2016)
  • In July 2016, we warned that there are basically no sanctions for doctors where inspectors discovered suspicions of preferential treatment of persons who are waiting for their health service. In October 2016, the police executed a search warrant in Slovenian biggest hospital, University clinical centre Ljubljana, and at the Institute of Oncology, because of suspected preferential treatment of some patients. More on this here (October 2016)
  • Around 6600 people in Slovenia who cannot afford market rent are waiting for affordable housing (non-profit apartments). The government now made the first step to address the issue and gave another 30 million Euro for the development of new non-profit apartments. With this money, around 500 additional apartments can be funded. More on this in the article The government will provide 30 million Euro for additional non-profit apartments (August 2016).
  • As we pointed out in March 2016, certain judges receive high salary supplements for being on call, although they actually almost never need to go to work during this time. The entitlement to these supplements will now be reviewed by the Slovenian Court of Audit. More on this in the article Court of Audit takes interest in supplements of judges’ salaries (June 2016).
  • In March 2016, we published an article on the lack of non-profit apartments in Slovenia, where we pointed out last year’s abolition of subsidies on the market share of the rent for those who cannot afford to rent an apartment at the market price and have no available subsidized apartments. The Constitutional Court has now ruled the abolition of subsidies to be unconstitutional, so the State and the Municipalities have to start giving the subsidies to the socially disadvantaged once again. More on this in the article Constitutional Court eases the situation for those who can not afford rental housing (May 2016).
  • For the past three years, we have been drawing attention to the poor oversight over the spending of European funds, which has enabled illegal annexes to construction contracts, tailored tenders for the execution of work, and even fraud. For this reason, European Commission repeatedly froze the disbursement of funds to Slovenia in recent years. Auditors now concluded that state authorities finally improved the control over the spending of funds. More on this in the article Auditor report: The control over the spending of EU funds is improving (April 2016).
  • Over a year after our analysis of the systematic and illegal exploitation of more than 200 part-time employees of RTV Slovenia, who need to perform the same work as their permanently employed colleagues for a lower pay and under worse conditions, the public radio and television finally began to employ these co-workers. More on this in the article Our work counts: RTV Slovenia finally begins to employ part-time workers (January 2016).
  • Since the end of 2014, we have been writing about the illegal exploitation of part-time employees in bigger media houses in Slovenia, who perform the same work as their permanently employed colleagues, but for a lower pay and under worse conditions. The Labour Inspectorate has now finally reacted and started inspections in several media houses. More on this in the article Our work has an effect: The inspectors performed “raids” in Slovenian media houses, due to part-time employees  (November 2015).
  • Since January 2015, we have been asking the Inspection for Food Safety for the results of the control over kitchens in kindergartens, schools, and other public institutions. In September, after insisting for 8 months, we finally managed to receive the records of the checks for the year 2014. Now readers can check themselves, whether the food in the public institutions, which you or your loved ones attend, is prepared safely. More on this in the article Safe food: Inspectors discover serious irregularities in one tenth of the kitchens in public institutions (September 2015).
  •  The Ministry of Labour awarded IT service contracts worth several million Euros to two private companies without public tenders, although they have already been warned this practice is against the law by the Court of Audit back in 2013. Due to the reporting on podcrto.si, these deals are now being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission. More on this in the article: Anti-Corruption Commission opens up an investigation on public procurement at the Ministry of Labour (September 2015).
  • In the spring, the so-called Digital champion of Slovenia to the European Commission, Aleš Špetič, pointed out in his blog and on podcrto.si that the definition of cash in the draft law on tax registers will practically disable business activity of start-ups in Slovenia. The current definition could in fact also include payments through PayPal and other payment systems, where the use of tax registers is not possible. This would actually disable business activity of start-ups in Slovenia. After Špetič pointed out this problem, the Ministry of Finance and the finance administration adopted the position that payments through PayPal and other payment systems are not cash payments and therefore do not require the use of tax registers. More on this in the article Tax inspectors: Tax registers not required for payments through PayPal (September 2015).
  • The fault for the ballooning accident at the Ljubljana Marshes in August 2011, which killed 6 people, lies also in the inactivity of the Inspector Agency for Civil Aviation. As it was revealed on podcrto.si, inspectors have been aware for 6 months prior to the accident that the perpetrator has been flying for several years without a license and has also violated flight rules. They have not acted decisively at that time. Apart from that, they did not exercise any control over the balloonists for a year and a half after the accident. This has now changed; the inspectors regularly control the pilots and owners of balloons, who have to comply to strict safety measures, if they want to fly commercially. More on this in the article Inspectors finally begin conducting regular inspections on balloonists (September 2015).
  • After the shutdown of the Supervizor, a web application which tracks state’s business with the private sector, with the explanation that the application will be restarted only after several months, due to the transfer of the servers of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to the servers of the Ministry of Public Administration, we pointed out the controversial operations of the President of the ACC and the Information Commissioner.  The people in charge then managed to restart Supervizor after only two days. More on this in the article How Information Commissioner Prelesnik and President of the ACC Štefanec shut down Supervizor (July 2015).
  • The PR Representative for the Ministry of Health cancelled the already agreed interview with an employee of the Ministry on a topic, we were investigating, because podcrto.si did not agree that the PR representatives of the Ministry can review and approve (authorize) the summaries of the statements in the article, given by the employee before its publication. With an opinion on the conduct of the Ministry, we turned for help to the Director of the Government Communication Office (GCO) Boštjan Lajovic, who agreed with our position. After Mr Lajovic gave his opinion on the matter, the Ministry of Health agreed to an interview with their employee. More on this in the article Director of Government Communication Office: Conditioning statements to authorised reporters unacceptable (March 2015).
  • Several large Slovenian media houses illegally exploit part-time workers to lower their costs. The part-time employees perform the same tasks as regular employees, but for a far lower salary and practically without any worker’s rights. At podcrto.si, we wrote about the exploitation of part-time workers at RTV Slovenia and now the Labour Inspectorate announced a systematic surveillance of employment in major Slovenian media houses due to the problems of part-time workers. More on this in the article Labour Inspectorate announces systematic surveillance of employment in media houses due to the problems with part-time workers (January 2015).
  • Although it is responsible for overseeing and fining state authorities that do not answer the requests for public information, the Public Sector Inspectorate did not provide us with information on operating costs, despite our repeated requests. The Inspectorate has now fined itself for not responding to our request. More on this in the article Inspectorate fines itself for not responding to requests (November 2014).
  • The Government deposed the Director of Slovenia Police Stanislav Veniger, unofficially also because of our reports on the illegal payrolls. According to our calculations, Veniger was paid 83,000 € as a Police’s delegate to an international institution before he became Police’s director. More on this in the article Our articles had an effect –  Government deposes Police Chief Stanislav Veniger (October 2014).
  • In April 2014, we revealed serious vulnerabilities of the web portal eDavki of the financial administration. These enabled interception of user data and even identity theft. After our (numerous) warnings, the finance administration improved the portal security. More on this in the article FURS assures: Now we really fixed the security of the portal eDavki (October 2014).
  • The badly protected Simobil, Mobitel and Tušmobil GSM networks made it possible to intercept calls and text messages and to even steal the identity of GSM service users. Simobil and Mobitel improved their network security after the publication of articles on this topic. More on this in the article Safety in all GSM networks is not yet guaranteed (October 2012).
  • The Health Insurance Institute paid the Institute of Oncology up to 7.5 million in excessive amounts to reimburse the purchase of medicines for cancer treatment. There are no clear records on how the Institute of Oncology spent these funds. Following our findings, the Government reformed the cost reimbursement system, so that the health fund now only pays for the actual cost of the drugs. More on this in the article Preventing a millions worth of drug overpayment (May 2012).

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