The Slovenia Times

Slovenia loses four spots in World Press Freedom Index


Paris - Slovenia has lost four spots to rank 36th among 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), with the report warning of the "dangerous path for press freedom" in Slovenia.

The report finds that in Slovenia problems for press freedom continue despite pressure from international NGOs for improvements. "Defamation is still criminalised and well-known politicians continue to subject media outlets to intimidatory lawsuits and often slanderous verbal attacks."

According to the RSF, these tendencies became even more accentuated when Janez Janša became prime minister in March 2020. "After a smear campaign against freelance journalist (and RSF correspondent) Blaž Zgaga, who was investigating the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis, other critical journalists were attacked on social media and in pro-government media funded by oligarchs who support Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, Janša's ally.

"Following Orban's example, Janša's government took tentative institutional steps to undermine the editorial and financial independence of the public TV broadcaster and the national press agency, eliminating funding for the latter in late 2020 and early 2021. SDS supporters created an alternative 'national press agency' relaying the party's propaganda."

Meanwhile, the privately-owned media were economically affected by the decision to suspend the sale of newspapers in small shops and kiosks with the declared aim of combatting the coronavirus, the report says.

The annual RSF report about world press freedom says that journalism, the "main vaccine against disinformation", is completely or partly blocked in 73% of the 180 countries ranked by the organisation.

The situation is the best in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Costa Rica and the Netherlands, and the worst in Eritrea, North Korea, Turkmenistan, China and Djibouti.

The World Press Freedom Index has been compiled since 2002, focussing on media independence, self-censorship, the legal framework and transparency.


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