Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Slovenian media are generally free to report on politics and other controversial issues. However, libel remains a criminal offense, and civil penalties may be levied against journalists who insult public officials. Self-censorship is sometimes practiced to avoid politically motivated lawsuits. On February 25, 2003, the National Assembly adopted the Law on the Access to Information of Public Character to provide free public access to official information. The Journalists Association of Slovenia has since issued a number of protests on behalf of journalists who claim violations of the new law. Early in the year, officials made marked efforts to use the media to increase public support for a referendum on the nation's accession to NATO in March. Prior to the vote, the government spent the equivalent of its entire annual media budget to produce and place a series of broadcasts promoting the benefits of NATO membership. Officials also accused journalists who criticized the accession of "disregard for the national interest." Commercial pressure on many media companies to make a profit has reportedly trickled into the newsroom, leading to biased editorial policies and an increase in publication of advertorials, or paid advertising disguised as editorial content. The prosecutor's office continues to stonewall the investigation into the 2001 assault on reporter Miro Petek, who was investigating improprieties at a state-owned bank. Media concentration in Slovenia is considered to be the highest in Europe, with only six daily newspapers in the country. The Mass Media Act permits foreign ownership, but due to restrictions on ownership and cross-ownership, foreign capital has been slow to enter the market. Internet use is unrestricted, and about 40 percent of households are online.