Slovakia Political Orientation
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 86.81 – Mostly Free
World Press Freedom Rank: Slovakia 17/180
Slovakia is ranked 17th out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders‘ 2023 World Press Freedom Index. RFS states there have been reforms undertaken by the Slovak government to improve media freedom and “bring justice for the 2018 assassination of the investigative journalist Jan Kuciak,” however they express concern since the progress has been slow.
DW reports that in 2018, journalist Jan Kuciak (27) and his fiancée were assassinated while Kuciak was investigating “ties between Slovak politicians, local businessmen, and the Italian mafia.” This murder led to countrywide protests, resulting in PM Robert Fico’s resignation.
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
TV and digital media remain the most popular source of news information in Slovakia, with the government and oligarchs having direct and indirect control over the media. Public service broadcaster RTVS and its commercial rival Markíza are major news outlets.
The public broadcaster RTVS is owned and subsidized by the state. Furthermore, the government news agency, TASR, claims not to be funded by the state; however, it enters into contracts with the state to fulfill objectives in the public interest. For example, TASR received “€2.2m from the Ministry of Culture for the 2016 year (Contract 68/2015/M).” Further, the Parliament elects its board.
Regarding radio stations, the private radio station Fun Radio/Fun Media Group a.s is owned by Boris Kollár. He is the leader of the far-right populist political movement, SME Rodina.
The majority of the private media belongs to two financial investment groups: Penta Investments and the other is J&T. For example, Penta, which Marek Dospiva owns, according to Forbes magazine, is one of the wealthiest people in the Czech Republic. Penta Investments owns News and Media Holding, the largest media company in Slovakia. Another example is Markíza Group which operates TV Markíza, Doma, and Dajto. The late Czech oligarch Petr Kellner (died 2021) owns Markíza through his company PPF.
In summary, Slovakian media faces several challenges, such as the concentration of media ownership and the influence of oligarchs with stakes in private media outlets. There is also a lack of transparency regarding media funding and concern for the safety of investigative journalists. Although the press is generally free in Slovakia, especially in digital media, it faces pressures from the government, which has direct and indirect control over public broadcasters, potentially resulting in decreased press freedom.
Last Updated on November 4, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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