Status: Free
Legal Environment: 6 (of 30)
Political Environment: 10 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 7 (of 30)
Total Score: 23 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

The Slovenian constitutional and legal system guarantee freedom of the press and these rights are largely protected in practice. That said, the relationship between the media and the government grew tense throughout the year and journalists accused the government of indirect and direct political and economic pressure on the media. Libel remains a criminal offense in Slovenia, although not punishable with jail, but no charges were filed against journalists. The media in Slovenia is diverse and expressed a wide variety of views. The acrimonious relationship between the government and media began in 2005 when the government passed a controversial law that increased government influence on public media outlets. The legislation established a programming council and supervisory board to oversee television and radio networks. The parliament appoints 21 of the 29 council members. Only 2 members of the Supervisory Board are non-government controlled; the parliament appoints 5 members and the cabinet 4 members. As a result of the legislation, several heads of TV and radio broadcasters were replaced. Concerns were raised by media organizations that a 2006 law intended to increase media plurality through the allocation of government funding has led to disproportionate funding going to government-friendly media houses.

While most print media were privately owned, the government owned shares in some companies that were 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 exerted 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 no fat under the current labor legislation, leaving them vulnerable to pressure from media owners. Internet access is unrestricted, with an estimated 62% of Slovenians receiving information online.

This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.