Freedom of the Press
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)
The Slovenian constitution and legal system guarantee freedom of the press, and the government typically respects this right in practice. However, reports of government pressure and interference in the media are a growing cause for concern. Although libel is not punishable with prison terms, it remains a criminal offense. A controversial law that took effect in late 2005 served to increase government influence on public media outlets, establishing a programming council and a supervisory board to oversee the public television and radio network. The Parliament appoints 21 of the 29 Programming Council members, as well as 5 members of the 11-member Supervisory Board. The government names 4 of the board’s members, leaving only 2 seats controlled by employees.
Media are able to report freely on government activities and express a diversity of viewpoints. However, there were several reports of police using unnecessary force against journalists in 2006, and news outlets faced indirect political and economic pressure from the government and business interests. On occasion, government officials have openly criticized members of the media, treating them as political opposition. Major print outlets are adequately financed through advertising sales and private investment, but the government owns stakes in companies that hold shares in major media firms. The public broadcaster’s television and radio channels compete with a handful of commercial stations. Freelance journalists do not fall under the current labor legislation, leaving them vulnerable to pressure from media owners, who are themselves strongly influenced by investors and public officials. Internet access is unrestricted and widely available, with about 56 percent of the population reportedly using the internet in 2006.