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)
Slovenia’s constitution and legal system guarantee freedom of speech and of the press. However, the law bars hate speech and incitement to intolerance or violence. Unlike in most countries in the region, defamation remains a criminal offense in Slovenia, and political figures continue to use defamation suits against journalists and media outlets. Local and international media watchdogs have pressured the government to reform defamation legislation, and in 2014, a number of officials indicated willingness to consider reform. The Mass Media Act of 2006 established the “right of correction,” according to which anyone offended or insulted by information published in the media—even truthful information—can demand a “correction” to be published in the same space as the offending article.
Journalists can be legally compelled to reveal their sources. The high-profile case of Anuška Delić, a journalist working for the daily Delo, continued in 2014. Delić was indicted on the charge of disseminating classified information in 2013 and could face up to three years in prison if found guilty. The charges, filed by the state prosecutor, are connected to several 2011 articles alleging ties between members of the Slovenian Democratic Party and a neo-Nazi organization. In 2014, Delić discovered that the prosecution had attempted to secure a warrant to wiretap her phone during investigations, although a court had denied the request. The case was ongoing at year’s end.
The 2003 Access to Public Information Act ensures free access to information, and the Office of the Information Commissioner is tasked with handling freedom of information requests. In March 2014, the parliament voted to expand the scope of the act, making it applicable to private organizations that carry out public functions.
The Ministry of Culture is the main regulatory body for print media and supervises the implementation of the Mass Media Act. It also handles complaints against the media from the public. Electronic media are regulated by the Post and Electronic Communications Agency, which monitors the media landscape and ensures compliance with national regulations and directives.
The government does not actively censor the media, and the administration of prime minister Alenka Bratušek appears to be more open and available to Slovenian journalists than its predecessor. A controversial 2013 episode in which some of the board members of the public broadcaster, Radiotelevizija Slovenija (RTV), were abruptly dismissed appears not to have adversely affected public programming, which includes in-depth coverage of the Slovenian government. However, journalists working for the public broadcaster have reported political pressure when covering elections or politically sensitive topics in the past. While media content generally represents a range of opinions and information, some reporters have also complained that the country’s major dailies tend to represent a left-leaning point of view, and that the right lacks sufficient representation in the print media. RTV is required by law to air programs that cater to Italian and Hungarian ethnic minorities in Slovenia. Journalists are generally free from physical harassment and intimidation while covering the news, and retaliatory violence against the media is also rare. There were no reports of physical attacks against journalists in 2014.
A wide variety of media outlets operate in Slovenia. There are eight daily and a number of weekly newspapers. The country’s major newspapers are privately owned. The government-operated Slovenian Press Agency publishes news in Slovenian and English, and maintains offices abroad. RTV operates three television channels and two radio channels with national reach, and several private outlets are also available to audiences across the country. The government does not restrict access to the internet, which was accessed by approximately 72 percent of the population in 2014.
Laws compel media outlets to report information about their financing and ownership to the government. However, not all outlets comply with regulations, and the ownership structures of many entities remain opaque. Ownership of media outlets changes often, making the market difficult to monitor. In July 2014, the publishing company Delo sold its ownership stake in the daily Večer to Dober Vecer, a firm created weeks prior to the transaction. The Office for the Protection of Competition, which in 2009 had ordered Delo to divest its stake in order to reduce excessive concentration in the news and advertising markets, approved the sale despite protests from Večer journalists.
Newspapers that are critical of the government have faced difficulties securing advertising from state-owned companies in the past. Slovenia’s media sector continues to experience substantial financial strain, and conditions for working journalists—particularly those working for print media—are increasingly challenging.