Slovenia | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Slovenia

Slovenia

Freedom of the Press 2008

2008 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

23

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

10

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

7

The Slovenian constitutional and legal system guarantees freedom of the press, and these rights are largely protected in practice. That said, the relationship between the media and the government became tense during the year, and journalists accused the government of both indirect and direct political and economic pressure on the media. Libel remains a criminal offense in Slovenia and is punishable by up to two years in prison; according to the U.S. State Department, one individual was sentenced for three months during the year. The media in Slovenia are diverse and express a wide variety of views. The acrimonious relationship between the government and the media began in 2005 when the government passed a controversial law that increased its influence on public media outlets. The legislation established a programming council and a supervisory board to oversee television and radio networks. The parliament appoints 21 of the 29 Programming Council members and 5 members of the 11-member Supervisory Board. As a result of the legislation, several heads of television and radio broadcasters have been replaced. Concerns were raised by media organizations that a separate 2006 law intended to increase media plurality through the allocation of government funding has led to disproportionate funding going to government-friendly media houses and the Catholic Church media.

While most print media are privately owned, the government owns shares in some companies that are themselves shareholders of large media houses. According to a petition signed by 517 journalists in September and backed by the European Federation of Journalists, the government used its partial ownership of media houses, business relationships, and share holdings to exert influence over the media. The petition also alleged that the government used its position to weed out editors and journalists critical of the government. There are concerns that the increased government influence led to an increase in self-censorship. The problem is compounded by the fact that freelance journalists do not fit under the current labor legislation, leaving them vulnerable to pressure from media owners. Internet access is unrestricted, and there are no reports of the government monitoring its content or the e-mail communications of its citizens; 62 percent of Slovenians are reported to be accessing the internet on a regular basis.