SLOVAKIA. Critical junctures in the media transformation process.



In Slovakia, we record several critical junctures in the years 2000 – 2020, which had a significant impact on the media development, as well as on the opportunities and risks for deliberative communication and democracy. These included the advent of online media after 2000, the rise of social media since 2004, the worldwide economic crisis in 2008, the corruption case ‘Gorilla’ in 2011, the murder of the investigative journalist Ján Kuciak in 2018 and the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020. These events also affected the individual domains studied in Slovakia. Within the legal and ethical regulation, there are laws and standards that guarantee freedom of the press and the conduct of journalists is governed by multiple ethical codes. However, the most significant risks for the media in the journalistic domain are political influences and the pressures from media owners. These issues were also reflected in the decline in media credibility, as confirmed by research in the domain of media usage patterns. A rather positive phenomenon is, despite the persistent absence of empirical data that would support the claim, a sufficient number of academics who deal with the media competencies of media users. In summary, solid conditions (legislative, ethical, educational) for the media have been created in Slovakia, but the influences of politicians and media owners, job instability and poor financial evaluation of journalists remain a risk.