Press freedom in Slovenia is deteriorating

According to a report by Article 19, the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša is administering a systematic effort to undermine critical media, a coalition of press freedom organisations and journalism groups.

The report says he is attempting to seize greater control of the country’s public service broadcaster and national news agency using a mix of legal and administrative pressure aimed at undermining the integrity and independence of these institutions.

Leading government officials, including Janša himself, are stoking the toxicity of public debate by insulting and denigrating journalists – including via official government channels. This inflammatory rhetoric has led to rising self-censorship and an upsurge in threats against the press, both online and offline. Women journalists are particularly targeted with misogynistic and sexist insults.

The Slovenian Press Agency (STA), the lifeblood of the media market, has been drained of state funding since the beginning of the year in a calculated effort by the Government Communication Office (UKOM) to subdue the organisation and cement greater control over its financial and managerial operations.

The government recently agreed to pay an advance of €845.000 for 2021 costs only to pacify sustained criticism it has received for its actions and the need to remedy the situation before assuming the EU Presidency.