Vladimir Puchala Becomes New General Director of TASR

Vladimir Puchala Becomes New General Director of TASR

Bratislava, September 5 (TASR) – Vladimir Puchala has become the new general director of the News Agency of the Slovak Republic (TASR) in line with a decision made by the TASR board of directors following a public hearing of the candidates for the post on Tuesday.

Puchala succeeded against another candidate, head of Slovak heritage institution Matica slovenska Marian Tkac.

The public service agency has thus acquired a new general director from within. Puchala, who will replace Jaroslav Reznik in the top post, has been a member of the TASR management since 2008. He’s occupied the post of strategic director until now.

“It’s extraordinary responsibility that I probably feel at the moment,” said Puchala in reaction to the board of directors’ decision. He added that he wants to build a useful and effective agency.

“I want an agency that is built on high-quality information coming from clear sources. I want technologies that deliver content to clients and the public in a secure manner. I want an agency that offers non-commercial information. I want an agency that offers information that is beneficial for society and useful for clients,” said Puchala.

Chairman of the agency’s board of directors Vladimir Masar expects TASR under Puchala to continue along its current path and to continue to be a strong pillar of public service in Slovakia. The board of directors evaluated highly the projects presented by both candidates, but it viewed Puchala’s project as being of better quality, said Masar.

The board of directors elected the new TASR boss after its previous head Jaroslav Reznik was elected as general director of public broadcaster Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS). Reznik announced his resignation from his TASR post on July 17. Puchala was tasked with managing the agency until the new general director was elected.

“We evaluated both projects positively. Perhaps the fundamental difference was the fact that one project was drawn up by a person who’s been taking part in the managing of the news agency and is actually acting general director, so it’s a big advantage from a certain point of view. The other candidate was from outside TASR, a fact that has emerged as a relatively more pronounced problem in terms of sophisticated information,” said Masar.

Puchala said that he wants to extend close cooperation with RTVS, which is currently headed by former TASR chief Jaroslav Reznik.

“We’re two public-service media that have a big opportunity to cooperate in a better way, to create synergy and benefits in the current complex times in terms of quality information,” said Puchala.

Cooperation with RTVS should concern foreign correspondents. Puchala is interested in reintroducing a correspondent in the Czech Republic and creating such a post in Ukraine.

In addition, Puchala wants to meet a private shareholder of TASR’s subsidiary Teraz Media in order to initiate an extraordinary general meeting to discuss its future. Via Teraz Media, TASR runs internet news channel Tablet.TV, as well as websites Teraz.sk, Skolskyservis.sk and Webmagazin.sk.

“We want to make the running of Teraz Media more effective, while we perhaps also want to settle shareholder relations in order to make sure that there isn’t even a shadow of suspicion that somebody might or might not be interfering with the news service,” said Puchala, adding that further moves can’t be announced in advance because the agreement of two shareholders is necessary for any steps to be taken.

An urgent issue for TASR concerns technologies, in particular the obsolete editorial software.

“I believe that I can resolve all these challenges step by step by 2022,” said Puchala.