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Slovenia: conservative influence on the press

Slovenia's small media landscape is characterised by a high concentration of ownership and major state influence. After the break-up of former Yugoslavia only some of the main national dailies were privatised. Some remained in state ownership while others were bought by state enterprises.

A newspaper reader in Piran.
(Flickr, Greta Hughson, Lizenz: CC BY-NC 2.0)

This is the reason why the Slovenian print media are still concentrated in the hands of a few owners and are not always immune to political influence. This was particularly evident under the conservative government of Janez Janša, which was in office from 2004 to 2008. Janša tried to use his connections with the paper's owner, the state brewery Laško, to turn the traditionally left wing-liberal major quality newspaper Delo into a government-loyal publication. Many respected journalists left the newspaper in protest.

Attempts to sell the Slovenian print media to new owners are generally not very transparent, creating an atmosphere of worry and fear about the future among their employees. The daily Večer was only finally sold in July 2014 after several attempts.

The case of Anuška Delić is a good illustration of how press freedom often comes under pressure in Slovenia. Delić, a journalist at the daily Delo, was accused in 2011 of publishing classified information in her reports on alleged connections between the Neo-Nazi group Blood & Honour and the conservative Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS). The case was reopened in January 2015, but in April the public prosecutor dropped the charges for lack of evidence.

Slovenia's major national dailies have not been immune to the economic crisis either. For some years now sales have been falling and newspapers have had to cut costs. At the same time, opinion-forming newspapers like Delo, Dnevnik and Večer have tried to attract readers with Internet services. Much of the journalistic content on online portals is available only for a fee.

Alongside public national and regional television, a number of private channels boast high viewing figures. These include the US-owned POP TV and Kanal A. However, POP TV has shed 125 staff over the past two years, and further redundancies are likely. The reason given is the rationalisation of operations.

Although a large number of private radio stations have been founded in recent years, the two public channels Val 202 and Ra SLO1 are still the most popular. Altogether there are around ninety radio stations.

Press Freedom Index:

Reporters without Borders: 35th place (2015)
Freedom House: 24th place (2014)

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