The Ethical Journalism Network, together with their partners the Evens Foundation and Fritt Ord Foundation, have produced the following report which looks at the challenges that the media are facing in Hungary. This report is part of a series of reports that have been published over the last 10 months on the media situations in Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and now Slovakia, with reports on Ukraine and Georgia to come. This report includes a set of clear recommendations for the media and policy communities to take forward.
Building Trust in Journalism – Slovakia
Building Trust in Journalism – Slovakia provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities that the media are facing in Slovakia. Based on a number of interviews that took place with key Slovak media stakeholders, it finds that the Slovak media landscape is currently the freest of the Visegrad countries, despite an increase in both government and oligarch control of media. These findings are in line with its RSF Press Freedom Ranking of 33rd place in 2020, up two places on the previous year.1
The murder of investigative reporter, Ján Kuciak, in 2018 was a turning point which established a sense of solidarity amongst the media profession which is coupled with an apparent desire amongst some of the public to investigative journalism, demonstrated through their financial support of a number of influential independent media titles.
There are some concerns in relation to mainstream media ownership which appears to remain firmly in the grip of a select number of financial groups and oligarchs with strong business and economic interests although a recent sale of shares in leading publication the Denník SME to the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a non-for-profit investment fund for independent media raises some hope.
The government also continues to control the public media through politicised appointment processes and public advertising spend. The popularity of websites, which are typified by health disinformation and anti-European Union narratives, is a further cause for concern as similar narratives are now being disseminated by some of the online media. The tradition for investigative journalism is strong in Slovakia, however, and it is having some impact on policy and tackling corruption.
1 Reporters Sans Frontières (2020). Press Freedom Index Slovakia [online]. Available at: https://rsf.org/en/slovakia (Accessed 12 April
The Evens Foundation aims to contribute to rethinking and building a European reality committed to the values of diversity, freedom, responsibility and solidarity. We identify and support innovative ideas and achievements through our prizes and calls, initiate experimental projects bridging the gap between research and practice, and facilitate knowledge exchange through our lectures, seminars, debates and publications.
The Fritt Ord Foundation is a private non-profit foundation that is intended to protect and promote freedom of expression, public debate, art and culture. We work internationally, concentrating on projects directly related to freedom of expression and free journalism.