Slovakia has 5.4 million citizens. Almost 20 percent of its population is comprised of minorities. There is a half-million strong Hungarian minority. Then there is a Roma population estimated at between 350,000 to 400,000 people. All Roma and most Hungarian people understand Slovak language. Then there are additional 50,000 Czechs, Moravians and Silesians living in Slovakia. There are also smaller minorities like Jews or Ruthenians.
Almost all ethnic Slovaks and all Czechs living in Slovakia are bilingual, speaking Slovak and/or understanding Czech language. A common history and shared language skills allows for easy penetration of Czech-language media, including broadcasts in both languages, as well as books, magazines, and Internet media. Many Czech programmes are available on Slovak television and the radio.
From January, 1969 (when Czechoslovakia became a federal state), until 31 December, 1992 (when Czechoslovakia dissolved), there was no daily press with a large readership in both parts of the federal state, partially because of cultural (attractiveness of local issues) and historical reasons, and partially because of a language difference. In the last decades of communism, there were, however, one state-wide radio and one state-wide television channel. These operated alongside separate regional television and radio studios in the Czech and Slovak republics.
Although programmes for children must be translated from Czech language into Slovak language, the broadcasting of foreign programmes with Czech dubbing is quite common in Slovakia.
As mentioned, about 10 percent of the population is Hungarian. These people live mostly on the boarders with Hungary, and thus typically consume either Hungarian-language media products that originate in Slovakia (sometimes in addition to Slovak-language media), or Hungarian media from Hungary.
It is legally permissible to broadcast in the languages of ethnic minorities during regional and local radio broadcasts without translating into the official language. In the case of live television broadcasts, it is possible to broadcast in the languages of ethnic minorities with simultaneous translation (at least in subtitles) into the official language.
Historically, public radio broadcasting has always had the highest quality of cultural programmes. Public Slovak television broadcasts, as well as broadcasts of the most influential private station, Markíza, were traditionally heavily influenced by politics. This continued throughout the late 1990s. Nowadays, private electronic media are somehow critical of the government, but certainly the major role of watchdog is played by serious quality daily and weekly press.
More than 85 percent of Slovakians older than 14 years of age listen to radio broadcasts on regular basis; it is the second most popular medium after television. Radio broadcasting has played an important role in politics and cultural life in Slovakia. Throughout the 1990s, it was usually the most trusted institution, and not only amongst the media.
Although there are some national media groups, the most important media outlets are owned or co-owned by foreign companies. The exception is, obviously, public service media: Slovak Television (STV, Slovenská televízia), Slovak Radio (SRo, Slovenský rozhlas) and the news agency TASR (Tlačová agentúra Slovenskej republiky or News Agency of the Slovak Republic).
Media owners of private media are private companies or individuals who are independent from the government. The trend is rather that media owners increasingly have subtle influence on politicians – and more so because of their business interests than because of political interests, although neither this latter type of interests is dead in Slovakia.
The relationship between various governments and the press has changed. Between 1993 and 1998 there was a "media war" between the government(s) and the majority of the press; at the same time, public service media became the governmental propaganda channel. During the next two governmental periods, 1998 to 2006, the press initially supported or at least tolerated new governments. But in the years 2005 and 2006 the press became hostile toward last M. Dzurinda's government. A new R. Fico' government, in power since summer 2006, has not met with favourable coverage on the part of most of the media.
Yet, although it is true that the (especially tabloid) media are often unprofessional in their reporting and unfair in their commenting, the Prime Minister and some members of his government are often hypersensitive towards the criticism of the media. It must be said that the courts have become a major playground for media and politics relations in Slovakia, with courts often giving perhaps too high financial compensations to top politicians and public figures for alleged “non-material damages”.
2. Traditional Media
2.1 Print Media
Interest in the daily press in Slovakia is on a long-term decline. Circulation and readership surveys confirm the decline when only about 50 percent of adult population reads regularly daily press. The relatively wide variety of newspapers and magazines in Slovakia are owned by a few media houses.
The Swiss company Ringier Slovakia is the leader in this sector. It publishes the most popular tabloid daily Nový Čas (New Time, sells between 145,000 and 150,000 copies, small drop on yearly basis) and its Sunday edition Nový Čas Nedeľa (New Time Sunday, sells 55-60,000 copies). It also publishes weeklies Život (Life, sells 110-120,000 copies, a significant drop from about 150,000), Nový Čas pre ženy (New Time for Women, sells 185-195,000 copies) as well as the monthlies Eva (55-65,000 copies) and In (between 20,000 and 25,000 copies sold). Its portfolio also includes a quarterly for men, Adam. However, towards the end of 2009 it stopped publishing monthly Rebecca.
The second-most important media house is the Slovak company, Spoločnosť 7 Plus. Three Slovak owners co-own this publishing house. It was established in 1990. It publishes the tabloid daily Plus jeden deň (Plus One Day, sells about 55-60,000), weeklies: Plus 7 dní (Plus Seven Days, sells 140-150,000 copies), Šarm (Charm, sells 50-55,000 copies), Báječná žena (Wonderful Woman, 130-140,000 copies) and a number of specialised monthlies for women (eg Emma, between 50,000 and 60,000 copies), for men (Brejk, 12,000 copies sold), and particularly for hunters, fishers, hobbyists, mothers, etc.
The third-most important publishing group is Petit Press, which is owned by the German media group MEDIA Group RP and the Slovak group Prvá slovenská investičná spoločnosť. The Petit Press publishes 31 regional and national periodicals with a total weekly circulation of more than 800,000 copies. Petit Press publishes the quality liberal national daily Sme; regional daily Korzár; the Hungarian-language daily Új Szó; the English-language weekly The Slovak Spectator; the Hungarian-language weekly Vasárnap; a Slovak language weekly called Roľnícke noviny (with a circulation of 5,000 ); a network of regional weeklies with the common title My (We) (and different subtitles); and the fortnightly television programme TV Svet. Daily Sme sells about 60,000 copies. Új Szó sells 23,000 copies, and Korzár sells 25,000 copies.
The economics weekly Trend is co-owned by Slovak managers of Trend Holding. Trend sells about 16,000 copies.
A division of the British Daily Mail and General Trust, DMGT Northcliffe Perex, sold in early 2010 the popular family-lifestyle daily Pravda (Truth). This group also owned the daily advertisement paper, Avízo,and a web portal for job advertising, Profesia. Pravda sells between 50,000 and 52,000 copies. The new owner seems to be connected to a large Slovak financial group J&T, which already owns some media outlets.
The German publishing group Verlagsgruppe Handelsblatt owns the high quality daily Hospodárske noviny (Economy News). It sells about 18,500 copies.
Some television program weeklies, including the celebrity monthly OK!, are owned by the German company Bauer Media. Slovak entrepreneur Ladislav Rehák publishes the weeklies Slovenka(45,000 copies circulated), Star (20,000 copies) and the monthly paper Dorka. Rehák owns the radio station Jemné melódie (Soft Melodies) too.
The Catholic weekly Katolícke noviny sells about 80,000 copies.
At least three attempts to publish serious news and analysis newspaper weekly has failed when the last attempt weekly Žurnál was stopped in late 2009.
There are between 25 and 30 private radio stations in Slovakia in addition to public service radio stations. The number of radio stations fluctuates throughout a year as some radio stations disappear from the market and others enter the market. For example, in December, 2008, there were 45 holders of licences for radio broadcast. Of these, 14 holders had licences for digital radio broadcast. Again, not all licence holders already broadcasted.
About three quarters of the population listen to radio broadcasts on a regular basis (answering "listened yesterday" in the most recent survey) and almost 93 percent at least occasionally ("listened last week").
The public service radio programmes of Slovak Radio lost listeners to private radio stations during the late 1990s and early 2000s. This transformation of preferences peaked in 2005. The Research Department of Slovak Radio has suggested that 38 percent of all citizens listened in November, 2005, to Slovak Radio, Rádio Slovensko, making it the most popular station. The private radio station Rádio Express was the second most popular channel with 29 percent.
But Market & Media & Lifestyle research in spring and summer of 2005 indicated that Rádio Express was the first private station in Slovak history radio to have a greater share of the audience than a public radio channel. According to their data, Rádio Express had 886,000 listeners in contrast to the 841,000 listeners of Rádio Slovensko. Thus, public radio is loosing ground to private radio; Rádio Express is a surprising success story.
The oldest research data available indicated that the public regional channel Rádio Regina is the third most popular station (with a 15 percent share) followed by the private radio station Fun Radio (12.5 percent) and Radio Okey (8.5 percent). The public music channel Radio FM (5 percent) and Christian station Radio Lumen (5 percent) followed.
Among foreign radio broadcasts, the most popular were the Hungarian private radio stations Danubius Rádio and Slagerradio (2.5 percent), who lost their licenses at the beginning of 2010.
Other research suggests that the third most popular radio station was Fun Rádio, followed by Radio Okey, regional public station Radio Regina, music radio for younger listeners Radio FM, private Radio Twist, Radio Lumen and Radio Devín.
The most recent data ("listened yesterday") gathered between October 2009 and January 2010, suggests that Rádio Express is the most popular radio station in Slovakia, with 21 percent of all listeners, followed by Rádio Slovensko with 18 percent, and Fun rádio with 16 percent. The radio station Jemné melódie had 8 percent, RadioNet had 7.5 percent, Rádio Regina 6.6 percent, and Rádio Europa 2 (previously Rádio Okey) 5 percent:
RádioNet is a group of local and regional radio stations that includes: Lumen, Beta, Frontinus, G3, Hit FM, Kiss, Max, One and Zet.
- Slovak Radio (SRo) is a public service station that still plays an important role in radio broadcasting. Slovak Radio changed its format in September 2004 and again in late 2009 and early 2010, when three new digital channels were prepared. It has different channels, some of which are available via Internet, via satellite only or via standard terrestrial broadcast.
- Rádio Slovensko broadcasts news and current affairs for listeners as well as dramatic, entertaining and religious programmes. It also airs pop music for listeners in their late 20s on FM frequencies. It has increased the amount of music in its programme since late 2008. Rádio Slovensko broadcasts hourly news bulletins, a short news update every half hour and its main news programme, Rádiožurnál, five times per day. The core format consists of three news and current affairs programmes with music: the morning programme Dobré ráno, Slovensko; the early afternoon programme Dobrý deň, Slovensko; and the late afternoon programme Popoludnie naSlovensku. This radio station also broadcasts discussion programmes (Z prvej ruky, Sobotné dialógy, Nočná pyramída), talk shows about celebrities (Vec verejná Michala Tvarožka, Pálenica Borisa Filana), publicity magazines (auto-moto Pozor zákruta!; the lifestyle magazine Esprit; the cultural show Zrkadlenie; Literárna revue Dada Nagya; and family magazines Pozvete nás ďalej), religious news and current affairs, live broadcasts from religious and sport activities, as well as radio plays and fairly tales.
- Rádio Regina represents three regional studios. At certain times these radio stations broadcast a common nationwide programme. Rádio Regina is a family radio station with a lot of folk and trumpet music as well as pop music from the 1960s through the 1990s. Rádio Regina focuses on local and regional issues. It broadcasts on FM but also on some MW frequencies.
- Rádio FM broadcasts programmes for youth as well as popular and alternative music. It broadcasts programmes about music, science, technology, media, film and Internet Rádio FM´s target group is young people between 14 and 30 years old. It broadcasts in a "black and white" format. At night it broadcasts alternative music, including world music, hip-hop, new jazz and metal. During the day it broadcasts live popular music with commentary. In comparison to commercial stations, it offers more Slovak music. It broadcasts only on FM frequencies. It transmits some concerts via EBU.
- Radio Slovensko, Radio Devín, Radio FM andRadio Regina broadcast for 24 hours a day.
- Radio Patria carries programming for national minorities. Three quarters of its broadcast are in Hungarian, 10 percent in the Ruthenian language, 10 percent in Ukrainian, and 2.6 percent in Roma language. The rest is almost equally shared by German, Czech and Polish languages. Radio Patria broadcasts only on MW frequencies. It broadcasts from 08:00 till 17:30. Specific minority programmes are broadcast in language blocs.
- Radio Slovakia International is an international broadcast in five foreign languages (English, German, Spanish, Russian, French), and in Slovak language for Slovaks living abroad. There was a controversy between management of public radio and state authorities in 2005, as to who should pay for foreign broadcasts. The government was not willing to pay for this broadcast - but demanded this service from the Slovak Radio. Finally, a settlement was reached when the government, through its Ministry of Culture, agreed to pay for foreign service broadcasting.
- Radio INET is public service broadcast via Internet.
- Three new channels were established between 2009 and 2010. The first was Radio Litera, the second is Radio Klasika and the third is Radio Junior (which will start broadcasting on June 2010). These channels are all digital-only radio stations (distributed via satellite, internet and possibly cable).
- The following multi-regional private radio stations were available in Slovakia in late 2009 - early 2010: Radio Express, Rádio Europa 2, Radio Lumen, Radio Viva, Fun Radio, Radio 7, Radio Hey,Radio Kiss, Radio Jemné melódie (Soft Melodies), Radio HIT FM 96.4, Hornetradio, ROCKJAM and Radio One.
- Traffic (or car-radio) Radio Express is owned by Emmis International Holding, B.V, of the Netherlands. This is a daughter company of Emmis Communication, from the US.
- Rádio Europa 2 is owned by a Slovak company with possible foreign capital. It broadcasts music and information.
Radio Lumen is owned by a consortium of Catholic and Greco Catholic religious authorities. It is a religious station. Radio Viva is owned by a single Slovak company.
- The radio station Fun Radio is owned by a single Slovak company. It streams music and live commentary for a young target audience.
- Radio 7 broadcasts via satellite and is co-owned by Trans World Radio and Trans World Radio - Slovakia. Its broadcasts mostly music, gospel or country-folk in particular. Radio 7 also broadcasts religious sermons, religious, literary programmes and programmes for children. It broadcasts in Slovak and Czech languages
- Radio Hey is owned by a single Slovak company. It airs music accompanied with morning commentary and music without commentary during the rest of the day.
- Radio Jemné melódie (Soft Melodies) is owned by a single Slovak company.
- Radio HIT FM 96,4 is owned by a single person.
- Radio One is owned by a non-governmental organisation.
- Hornetradio is a sport radio broadcast in Eastern Slovakia. A single company owns it. It broadcasts only via satellite.
- ROCKJAM radio broadcasts via KDS, MMDS, MVDS. It is owned by a single person.
Television is the most popular medium in Slovakia. The most popular television station is Markíza, a private station with a 26-27 percent market share. The second most popular television station is Joj, another private station, with 18 percent market share. The third most popular television station is the public television's first programme, Jednotka, with 13 percent market share. The second channel of public television, Dvojka, attracted 6.6 percent of viewers.
These are four most important players in the TV landscape. The remaining television stations have less than 5 percent market share each. It is more meaningful to create special language categories for these remaining television markets. Thus, Czech television stations attracted 6.5 percent of all viewers, and Hungarian language television stations attracted about 4 percent of viewers.
The public television station Slovak Television (STV) has three channels: Jednotka, Dvojka and Trojka (these names reflect numbers). The first channel, Jednotka, is similar to the Austrian or Czech first public television channel; the second channel, Dvojka, is similar to the Austrian or Czech public television second channel. The third channel, Trojka, is a sport channel.
Jednotka covers 97.3 percent of Slovakia and 95.8 percent of the population. Dvojka covers 89.4 percent of the territory and 88.7 percent of the population. It has a market share of 3.3 percent. Trojka broadcasts digitally and is thus accessible to viewers who use either cable or satellite broadcast. It has a market share of about 1 percent.
With the exception of news and some current affairs programmes, the first channel (Jednotka) has become very similar to commercial stations. There is little significant difference in quality; if there is a difference, Jednotka is rather of lower quality than higher quality than other Slovak commercial stations.
The second channel, Dvojka, is focused on education, social, religious, professional and ethnic minorities and groups, as well as political issues in general. For example, it broadcast 236 and 258 hours for minorities in 2008 and 2007 respectively. Out of this number, more than half was aimed at the Hungarian minority and about 15-20 percent for the Roma minority. Due to chronic financial crises, Dvojka re-broadcasts many programmes from its archive or from foreign productions.
The third channel (Trojka) has started digital broadcasting in the summer of 2008. It airs sport content only with limited viewership. Obviously, its viewership jumps up during important sport events.
STV restructured its personnel and programming in the early 2000s. It made more than 1,000 employees redundant and kept about 900 employees.
The major private television station, Markíza, is majority owned by an American company called Central European Media Enterprises owned primarily by Ronald Lauder and Mark Palmer. Central European Media Enterprises (CME) operates a leading group of television networks and stations across central and eastern Europe. Today, CME operates TV Markíza, Nova Sport, Television Doma and MTV in the Slovak Republic. The Time Warner Company bought about one third of all shares of CME in 2009.
Markíza started broadcasting on 31 August 1996. It is a 24-hour station. It covers 86 percent of the country and 91 percent of households, and is also available digitally via satellite. Its most popular programmes include the main television news programme Televízne noviny, which has been for a decade the most watched news programme in Slovakia. Markíza also airs some popular current affairs and civic issue programmes like Na telo (Very Personally), Paľba (Shooting at Target), Lampáreň (Public Ombudsman), and some popular licensed entertainment programmes (Slovakia Got Talent, Let's dance, Superstar and Bailando).
In September 2009, a sister station called TV Doma appeared on the television market. This nationwide television station targets middle-aged women. Its market share was 2.2 percent in February 2010.
The second-most popular full-format television channel, Joj, is owned by J&T Media Enterprises, which is a daughter company of the Slovak investment/financial group J&T TV. Joj grew out of a local television station after the allocation of key terrestrial frequencies by the Broadcasting and Re-transmission Board on 23 October, 2001. TV JoJ began broadcasting on 2 March, 2002, as the second full-format commercial television station in the Slovak market.
Joj was founded as a national terrestrial television station by the Nova Holding group, which holds the licence of the most successful Czech television station, TV Nova. The language and cultural relationship of the Czech and Slovak markets, as well as capital interconnection with the Czech TV Nova, allows Joj to broadcast Slovak, as well as Czech programmes, without any dubbing. This considerably reduces costs. Joj TV covers 80 percent of the country and reaches 68 percent of the population. Its programme structure includes a mix of entertainment programmes, crime series, competitions, news and evening films.
In October, 2008, a sister television station, Joj+, was launched. It has similar programmes. However, Joj+ broadcasts movies and series (80 percent of the time table), as well as some programmes previously broadcast on Joj. It has a market share of 3 percent.
The news station TA3 is also owned by a Slovak owner, Grafobal Company. The company is involved primarily in the production of print and packaging materials. TA3 is the first cable and satellite news television station (with limited terrestrial broadcast in and around Bratislava) in Slovakia. It started broadcasting in September, 2001. It was established by C.E.N., Ltd. Television TA3 broadcasts in half-hour blocs with information about the economy, sports, news and weather. It has some regular programmes too. It broadcasts 17 hours during week and 16 hours during weekends. It has limited viewership, about 2 percent of the market.
A number of multi-regional television stations operate in Slovakia. RING TV offers mono-thematic programmes with interactive games for adults. It has been broadcasting for 51 hours a week since 2006. It is owned by a single person from Slovakia.
TV Televízo broadcasts contest for mobile telephones. During the day, content includes astrological advice, health and lifestyle news, entertaining and music programmes. At night, it airs erotic clips and replays of daily programmes. It broadcasts some news and current affairs programmes, as well as documentary, films and fairly tales.
BeBe TV is a mono-thematic station which broadcasts cartoons for young children. It has been on the air since 2007.
TV LUX broadcasts religious programmes for 17 hours a day. It started broadcasting in 2008. It is co-owned by three Christian groups including the Conference of Bishops of Slovakia and the Salesians of Don Bosco.
MUSIC BOX broadcasts music clips and some entertainment programmes.
In 2008 film attendance was 3.15 million while in 2007 it had been 2.77 million. The trend is positively increasing, because already in 2007 this attendance was more than double the attendance of 2006.
The majority of films that premièred in Slovak cinemas in 2008 and 2007 originated in the US (95 and 116 respectively), followed by Europe (42 and 71) and the rest of the world (0 and 11). Out of the 71 European movies shown for the first time in 2008 and 2007, seven and four were shot in Slovakia and 19 and 14 in the Czech Republic.
In contrast, in 2006 there were 53 premières made in the US and 56 from Europe. The total number of produced full-length feature films of Slovak origin has varied in recent years from one (2006) to nine (2007). Some movies were not shown the same year they were produced. In addition, some full-length movies shot in Slovakia were considered in the "non acted" category. In total, there were 256 full-length feature movies shown in Slovakia in 2008.
The first permanent cinema theatre was established in 1905 in Bratislava under the name Electro Bioscop. There were almost 100 permanent cinema theatres in Slovakia at the end of WW I. However, the first movie shown on the territory of present day Slovakia was already in 1896.
The first Slovak full-length feature was produced in 1921. The film was called Jánošík, directed by the Siakel brothers. The subject of the film, a historical figure and national hero (similar to English hero Robin Hood), is also the topic of two other full-length movies with the same name, shot in a later period.
Not more than ten Slovak films were produced during the two world wars. The full-lenght documentaries Po horách, po dolách (Across Mountains, Accros Valleys, 1929) and Zem spieva (Singing Earth, 1933) are amongst the most interesting productions of the time.
Some propaganda movies were shot during WW II. At the same time the first cartoon movies were produced by Viktor Kubal. His cartoons Únos (Kidnaping, 1942), Studňa lásky (The Well of Love, 1942) or Tajomný dedo (Mysterious Grandpa, 1944) established the tradition of Slovak cartoon film.
A new era of Slovak cinema started in the 1960s, during political thaw. Already in 1961 director Stanislav Barabáš shot Pieseň o sivom holubovi (Song about Grey Pigeon). The film was about issues related to WWII, but from the perspective of a child.
The next year, three important directors produced interesting films: Martin Hollý's first full-length feature Havrania cesta (Raven´s Road), Peter Solan's full-length feature Boxer a smrť (Boxer and Death), and Štefan Uher with the full-length feature Slnko v sieti (The Sun in a Net). They all contributed in professionalising film production and introducing modern artistic features, as well as their own interpretations.
In the second half of the 1960s, another trio of respected directors emerged. The first, Juraj Jakubisko, introduced a new film poetry with his Kristove roky (Christ´s Age, 1967), Zbehovia a pútnici (Deserters and Pilgrims, 1968) and Vtáčkovia, siroty a blázni (Little Birds, Orphans and Fools,1969) .
The second was Elo Havetta. His first movie Slávnosť v botanickej záhrade (Festival in Botanical Garden, 1969) was full of parody and fantasies. Hi second film, Ľalie poľné (1972) was focused on individual pilgrims' experiences and thoughts.
The third notable movie director from this period was Dušan Hanák. His first movie was 322 (1969), but his masterpiece was probably the full-length documentary Obrazy starého sveta (Pirctures of the Old World, 1972).
The most appreciated director of the 1990s was Martin Šulík, with his Všetko čo mám rád (Everything I like, 1992), Záhrada (The Garden, 1995), Orbis Pictus (1997) and Krajinka (A Little Country, 2000).
Overall, the most successful full-length features in the history of Slovakia probably include: Vlčie diery (Wolves´Holes, 1948, P.Bielik), 44 (1957, P. Bielik), Kapitán Dabač (Captain Dabač, P. Bielik), Obchod na Korze (Shop on Mainstreat, 1965, Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos), Ľalie poľné (Lilies), Pásla kone na betóne (She fed Horses on Concrete), and Tisícročná včela (Thousand Year Bee). The most famous Slovak directors are probably Juraj Jakubisko, Martin Holly, Miloslav Luther, Dusan Hanak, Martin Sulik, and Stefan Uher.
The most recent Slovak full-length features include Tango with Mosquitos (2009, directed by M. Luther), Silence in the Soul (2009, directed by V. Balko), Heaven, Hell, ..Earth (2009, directed by L.Siváková), Gypsy Virgin (2008, director D. Rapoš), Bathory (2008, director J. Jakubisko) and Music (2007, director J. Nvota).
Recent interesting documentaries include: The Borderlines (2009, J.Vojtek), Osadné (2009, M. Škop), Cooking History (2009, P.Kerekes, international cooperation), Last Travell Couch (2008, P. Benovsky) or Blind Loves (2007, P. Lehotský).
In 2007, there were about 1.4million TV sets in Slovakia as well as 1.5million radio receivers. There were 1,093 TV transmitters and 242 radio transmitters There were 760,000 cable television subscribers in 2007 and almost 2 million Internet subscribers. More than 660,000 Internet subscribers use broadband access.
There were about 40 providers of access to Internet, television and/or telephone services in Slovakia in early 2010. Obviously, there were more options in bigger cities than in smaller ones or in villages.
The main companies include UPC, T-Com and Orange in providing Internet, fixed lines and television connection, Orange and T-Mobile in mobile phone connection, followed by O2-Telefonica.
Less important Internet connection providers (but sometimes cheaper than the major players) are Swan, Slovanet, GTS Slovakia, Satro and RadioLan and others.
3. New Media
All daily newspapers have their own websites. There are usually different versions online and in print. Sometimes print versions of a newspaper are presented in PDF format in addition to a different online version. There is also a trend of putting a pay wall around archived content.
The Daily Sme was the first daily that established and opened its own site for bloggers in period 2004/2005 Some articles from this site written by bloggers are published by the daily in a printed version.
Some weeklies have an electronic version of their publication, but there is a growing trend toward pay-per-read services, at least for full versions of some articles and content protected by copyright.
Most media websites offer limited versions of their regular content. Some, particularly those with low circulation like Slovo, publish full texts of all articles online.
Public Slovak Radio and Slovak Television and most private radio as well as television stations are accessible online too. In contrast to print media, electronic media increasingly put full-length versions of selected audio or audiovisual programmes on the Internet. These include mainly news and current affairs programmes.
There have been attempts to create an Internet-based daily newspaper and cultural weeklies, but these attempts failed due to poor economic results (low revenues from advertising).
3.2 Digital media
There were 1.952 million households (for 5.4 million inhabitants) in Slovakia in 2009. Of these 1.938 million were "television households." The aforementioned statistical data for TV sets reflects the fact that many households did not pay regular fees. It should be mentioned that there are no longer fees for licences, but every household is obliged to pay a fee for public media service in the case it has access to electricity.
This change reflects both change in mission of public service media but also tries to avoid till recently high level of non-payers as well as their difficult identification for purpose of paying for the service (which till recently was based solely on self-declaration).
The predominant means for receiving radio and television broadcasts were terrestrial and satellite in the countryside. Cable, terrestrial and satellite means of transmission were available and more wide-spread in larger cities. The total number of digital television households was 289,000 (Rate of penetration 14.8 percent of all households).
More than half of all respondents (57 percent) claimed in late 2008 or early 2009 that they could receive cable, or satellite or digital television signal. About one tenth (7.5 percent) were not sure about this information. More detailed analysis suggested that almost 15 percent claimed that they were receiving a signal only via satellite, almost 29 percent only via cable network, while digital signal (set-top box or digital television) was used exclusively by 7 percent.
A combination of satellite and digital broadcasting was used by 3.3 percent. A combination of cable and digital broadcasting was used by 1 percent of respondents. About 40 percent of households have pay-TV, which is distributed largely via analogue cable. Up to 31 December 2009, the main cable operator, UPC, had 276,200 subscribers. Digital cable television broadcasting was used by 61,300 subscribers of UPC company.
The country's main satellite platform, UPC Direct, had subscribers in approximately 1.5 percent of households (or in 26,900 households as of 31 December 2007) and competes with the platform Digi TV, which is controlled by the Romanian operator RCS/RDS. Digi TV had about 10,000 subscribers in Slovakia in 2007. There is also a third provider of satellite television broadcast, Towercom. This company provides its service under the name Skylink.
In the early 2007, Slovak Telecom (controlled by Deutsche Telekom for 51 percent) launched the IPTV service Magio, which offers some 60 television channels and a video-on-demand service. There are rumours that Slovak Telecom would launch a television broadcast via satellite in near future.
For example, the news television station TA3 distributes its broadcasts to most cable networks in Slovakia as well as in the Czech Republic. The signal is available free of charge via digital satellite receivers (Astra 3A). It is also possible to receive it via multichannel distribution system MMDS. In and around Bratislava, it is possible to receive this signal terrestrially. TA 3 broadcasts via mobile phone, too.
Before Christmas 2009 the first digital terrestrial multiplex started operating in Slovakia. It is available for 80 percent of citizens. Its offer includes three channels of public Slovak Television, and private televisions Joj and Joj+.
- Online media
- Radia.sk - Radios Survey 2008
- Radia.sk - List of radios
- RadioTV.sk - Regional radio stations
- Radia.sk - Independent source of information about private radio stations in Slovakia. Mostly a compilation of press and Internet reports.
- Medialne.sk - Tv statistics
- Memo98 - An NGO which previously monitored mostly quantitative and sometimes qualitative parameters of media reporting. Most reports are available in English online.
- Office of Statistics of the Slovak Republic - Publishes yearbooks with yearly statistics about media in Slovakia. Some information is available online Questions sent by e-mail are answered seriously, but as far as media is concerned, limited statistical information is available.
- Tlačovke.sk - Data on viewerships and listenrship
- Tvcentrum.sk - Rozhlasová rada odobrila vznik stanice pre deti Rádio Junior
- Slovak Audit Bureau of Circulation database. It offers statistics on circulation of newspapers and journals that joined this project.
- Statistical Yearbooks of Slovakia
4. Media organisations
4.1 News agencies
There are two major domestic news agencies in Slovakia. The private agency SITA (Slovak Information and Press Agency) was established in January, 1997.
The state-supported public news agency TASR (News Agency of Slovak Republic) was founded in 1993.There is also a specialised Roma News Agency.
TASR became a public-service, national, independent information institution that provides a public service in the field of news with the passage of Act No. 385/2008. TASR has 114 clients, including four international news agencies. In 2008, TASR produced almost 139,000 news reports, 57,000 graphs, maps and photos, almost 13,000 voice news and over 3,100 video news reports. It has 16 regional branches and two permanent international reporters in Prague and Brussels. TASR has more than 150 employees. TASR had special contract with the Ministry of Culture which effectively meant subsidy in amount of 1.746 million euro. There is a dispute whether this is or is not illegal state subsidy.
SITA has more than a hundred experienced, full-time reporters, editors and analysts. It has dozens of other part-time staff members. It produces more than 400 agency news items per day, dozens of sector overviews in various languages and media monitoring services. SITA provides specialised services for businesses and institutions. These include overviews sent by e-mail, sector monitoring services, media analyses, political analyses, media monitoring notes and other information products.
Roma News Agency specialises in Roma issues. Its activities were financed by grant from the Open Society Institute in 2009.
4.2 Trade unions
The Slovak Syndicate of Journalists, the largest union of journalists, is a non-profit professional organisation of journalists. However, its legal status is a civic association. It is a member of the International Federation of Journalists as well as of European Federation of Journalists.
4.3 Other media outlets
- Press Agencies
- Trade unions
5. National media policies
5.1 Media legislation
The constitution of Slovakia gives sufficient guarantees for media freedom and freedom of expression. Of course, as with any constitution, this is a theoretical assumption. Only a deep constitutional crisis could verify this claim. No constitution can expressly include all regulations and prohibitions.
The media legislation currently stems from: Law No. 308/2000 on Broadcasting and Retransmission (amened about ten times since then); Law No. 16/2004, on Slovak Television; Law No. 619/2003, on Slovak Radio; Law No. 220/2007 on Digital Broadcasting; the Announcement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about Accepting European Covenant on Transborder Television No. 168/1998; the Announcement of Ministry of Foreign Affairs about Accepting Protocol Changing European Covenant on Transborder Television No. 345/2002; the Decree of the Ministry of Culture No. 589/2007, on Single System of Marking Audiovisual Works, Sound Recordings of Artistic Output and Multimedia Works or Other Parts of Programme Service.
Also important are: Audiovisual Law No. 343/2007 (On Conditions of Evidence, Public Dissemination and Storing of Audiovisual Works, Multimedia Works and Sound Records of Artistic Output); Law No. 610/2003, on Electronic Communications; and Law No. 646/2005, on Protections of Some Radio and Television Programme Services and Information Society Services.
The Act on Slovak Television and Slovak Radio regulates the function, tasks, activities, financing, budgetary control and management of public service television and radio media. According to the law, media organisations are defined as national, independent, informative, or cultural and educational institutions, providing their services to the public in the area of television and radio broadcasting.
Act No. 308/2000 Coll. on Broadcasting and Retransmission is a complex legislation regulating the area of private and public television broadcasting, radio broadcasting, retransmission of programme services, as well as audiovisual services on demand and online television in the Slovak Republic.
The Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission is the body entitled to grant and withdrew licences for television broadcasting and licences for retransmission. It supervises the observance of the laws on radio and television broadcasting. The National Council of the Slovak Republic appoints its members for a period of six years each. The administrative, legal and expert activities, as well as the monitoring of broadcasts, is provided by the Office of the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission. The act, apart from defining main terms, regulates the conditions governing the process of granting licences for broadcasting in addition to matters of advertising, online/tele shopping and sponsored programmes, the protection of human dignity, the protection of underage persons and the right to remedy, access to information and important events.
The Council also monitors and regulates the conditions governing the broadcasting of European works and works of independent producers and the transparency of financial relations. It handles sanctions in case of a breach of the law.
Act No. 610/2003 Coll. on Electronic Communications (with amendments) governs the conditions for electronic communications networks and electronic communications services. It also regulates conditions for using radio facilities, state regulation of electronic communications, the rights and obligations for undertaking electronic communications networks and electronic communications services, protection of these networks and services, effective use of the frequency spectrum and numbers, rights and obligations to real estates of third parties, protection of privacy and data and powers of state administration authorities in the sector of electronic communications. The act does not apply to the content of services provided through electronic communications networks.
Act No.220/2007 Coll. on Digital Broadcasting regulates digital broadcasting of programme services and the provisions for other content services delivered via a means of a digital transmission within the territory of the Slovak Republic. It deals also with the rights and obligations of natural persons and legal entities in connection with digital broadcasting of programme services and the provision of other content services broadcast by means of digital transmission. It regulates the actions and competences of the public administration bodies on the regulation of the digital broadcasting of programme services and other content services provided by means of a digital transmission.
The act does not apply, though, to content services accessible through the Internet if the service isn't accessible by another manner of transmission. The act regulates the process and the conditions governing the installation of digital transmissions in the Slovak Republic and the operation of supplemental content services. It also regulates the conditions governing the allocation and operation of a terrestrial multiplex in a television broadcast band and specifies an individual, special public-legal multiplex. The act also stipulates the mandatory offer of the allocation of a position in terrestrial multiplexer for a broadcaster with a licence for regional television broadcasting.
The mandatory offer for a public broadcaster and a broadcaster having a licence for regional television broadcasting also applies in the case of the allocation of a terrestrial multiplex within a broadcast band. The act prohibits the financial interconnection and personnel interconnection between authorised broadcasters and the operator of a terrestrial multiplex and a broadcaster with a nationwide licence. The act also prohibits the concentration of ownership of operators of several multiplexes if their signal can be received by more than 50 percent of all the inhabitants of the Slovak Republic. The act stipulates the conditions and procedures governing the transition to TV digital terrestrial broadcasting, which should be completed in the Slovak Republic by 2012.
There was a lively, sometimes emotional, public discussion before the parliament passed the current Press and News Agency Act No. 167/2008. It must be mentioned that there were more than dozen drafts of the press law in the last 20 years (1990-2008). None of these drafts was adopted. Either there was a negative reaction on the side of journalists, publishers and/or journalistic associations, or there was missing political will to pass such draft law (usually prepared by a journalism association, or by individual MPs, or by a group of MPs).
Publishers and editors raised a number of objections against this last draft press law. It seems useful to review their arguments here again. The main objections were related to the specific rights that the new law brought or modified. Namely, these were the right to correction, the right to reply and the right to additional announcement.
Publishers and some commentators have argued that this law threatens freedom of the press. It has been argued that the press would be forced to publish too many corrections, replies and additional announcements, especially by politicians. Further, it was believed that this law would not help common citizens to defend their rights, as suggested by the Ministry of Culture. Only politicians and public figures, even criminals, would benefit. The publishers complained that sanctions introduced by the law are too harsh for smaller publishers. Finally, the publishers argued that they will be forced to publish text (reply, correction, additional announcement) which could break into personality rights (and thus they would possibly face another legal action).
The Slovak Syndicate of Journalists argued that this law does not guarantee the important rights of journalists, eg that it offered a limited protection of journalists’ rights in contrast to number of duties. The only issue the Slovak Syndicate Journalists welcomed in the new law was the re-introduction of protection of information sources. Certainly, the Press and News Agency Act limits absolute freedom of the press. At the same time, it expands freedom of speech and access to alternative opinions in print media and news agency reports.
The Press and News Agency Act requires that publishers as well as news agencies give more respect to plurality of opinions and the rights of criticised, ridiculed and libelled persons to personally written, and, alternatively, legal defences. In this sense, the law can be seen as a contribution to opening public discussion. This law enlarges active and passive plurality of opinions. In a certain sense, this law was a reaction to brutal libel and defamation in the tabloid media. Some tabloid media used, or rather abused, double meanings or a biased selection of otherwise true facts to defame people. Even some professional editors of “serious” press products were ignoring requests to publish corrections. In some cases, this approach was combined with refusal to receive official letters sent by post.
Ondrášik did a content analysis in 2009 of the replies and corrections (published or unpublished) in three leading Slovak broadsheet dailies: Sme, Pravda and Hospodárske noviny. He focused on aspects such as who used the right to reply and correction, how often these rights were used and how many requests were actually published. The scope of the study was 10 months after the passage of the new Press and News Agency Law.
Although there was a problem with availability of sources, the study is indicative of the impact of this law on journalistic work.
In the case of business daily Hospodárske noviny, nine out of 17 received requests to publish replies or corrections were actually published. Eight requests were not published because they did not meet formal conditions. There were only two sources which demanded reply or correction: either business people (nine cases) or politicians (eight cases). Almost identical results showed analysis of actually published replies and corrections.
Daily Pravda received almost 100 requests for reply or correction. A majority of requests came from politicians at all levels, then from business entities. Daily Pravda published only one or two such requests; other requests did not meet the formal (legal) criteria.
Daily Sme received 30 requests for reply and 20 requests for correction. As at Pravda, Daily Sme refused to publish the majority of requests on formal grounds. In fact, it published only two replies and six corrections. Most replies came from state administration, central authorities, or regional and local authorities. Every fifth request for a reply and every fourth request for a correction came from lawyers or law companies, and courts. Law companies and courts were successful in get their corrections or replies published in almost half of all cases.
The Press and News Agency Act (Law 167/2008) states that a publisher must make transparent a number of data about its publishing activities. There are two different lists of data that must be published either in each issue of a periodical or in each first issue of a periodical.
The first list of data includes: the title of periodical, subtitle, frequency of publishing, the name, seat (headquarters) and identification number of a publisher, date, number and volume of an issue, price, ISSN number (if applicable) and registration number (which is called an “evidence” number, due to historical ideological reminiscences to past compulsory state registration process).
The second list of data includes shares of a publisher on voting rights or property shares of a broadcaster in a company. The press agency must guarantee that each news item will include the name of the news agency and date of publication.
The press law defines the periodical press as newspapers and magazines or other periodicals published under the same title with identical content and unified layout at least twice a year. As such this law does not deal with information or contents distributed via Internet or computer networks.
The most recent law is the Law on Certain Measures Related to Slovak Radio and Slovak Television, passed in 2009. This legislation creates a framework for state contracts with public service institutions to broadcast programmes in public interest, specific investments and foreign broadcast. This legislation will be enacted in 2010.
An amendment to the Language Law also passed in 2009. Some parts of this law deal with media obligations in language matters.
Various legislation has important sections related to the media and freedom of speech and press, rights of minorities, etc. Here we can include Law No. 270/1995 on State Language; Law No. 147/2001, on Advertising; Copyright Law No. 618/2003; and the General Covenant on Protection of Ethnic Minorities (Announcement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs No. 160/1998).
There is also general legislation that deals with some aspects of media and freedom of speech and press, especially with human dignity and protection of morals. It is included in the Civil Code, Criminal Code and Freedom of Information Law No. 211/2000 as well as legislation dealing with campaigns in the media before various elections (presidential, parliamentary, regional self-government and local elections).
5.2 Accountability systems
There is a Code of Ethics of the Slovak Syndicate of Journalists. It is binding for all journalists and publicists in Slovakia.
The Code of Ethics says: “The responsibility of the journalist to the public is superior to all other responsibilities, especially to those concerning their employers and governmental powers.”
Furthermore, the Code of Ethics demands that a journalist do everything necessary to give the public veracious, precise, verified, complete and professional information. Facts are to be given as objectively as possible, in their real context, without any distortion or withholding, with appropriate use of a journalist's creative abilities. If some facts cannot be verified, it is necessary to mention this in the article or programme.
The Code says that any journalist can freely express personal or group opinions within the limits of the pluralistic context of ideas if he does not violate the civil rights of another person or group of persons and if he does not undermine societal morals. At the same time, he himself has to respect the request for a free exchange of opinions and for a free flow of information. He must always respect the limits of good taste and the suitability of his means of expression. He has a right and a moral duty to refuse to publish information he finds to be untrue, distorted, speculative, incomplete or commercially directed (so-called hidden advertisement).
The Code says if the journalist publishes untrue, half-true (distorted), speculative or incomplete information, he must rectify it with the publication of a correction or response. The correction must be published in an approximately identical graphical arrangement (layout), preferably in the same place as the information being corrected.
The Code of Ethics considers unfounded accusations, abuse of trust, using the status of a journalist for personal or collective benefit, falsification of documents, distortion of facts, any lie and purposeful withholding of knowledge of the violation of law and societal morals as the greatest professional guilt.
The Code of Ethics declares that a journalist should assume responsibility for everything she publishes. Without the consent of the person concerned, a journalist may not defame anyone, or interfere with his or her private life if this person does not break the law or cause public offence.
The journalist will not publish an interview if the subject does not permit. For the sake of objectivity, the journalist must try in the course of the preparation for his work or its realisation to give voice to all stakeholders. From an ethical point of view, the journalist has an undeniable right of free access to all information sources.
The journalist is obliged to disclose his intentions as an author to his sources. When collecting information, he does not use pressure. He is not allowed to misuse information. The journalist is obliged to keep his information sources secret until he is exempted from this duty by the informant or by the court. The journalist has a right to such a contract that secures his material needs and his professional honour. He has a right to refuse any pressure on him to act against his conviction. He only accepts orders from his superiors according to the terms of his contract. The journalist has a right to be protected by her direct superior and publisher by all legal and accessible means, including the protection of her right to use a pseudonym.
The journalist must not pursue private and subjective interests for personal gain; she does not sign her own name to work that is commercial, or to advertisements. The editorial staff is entitled to be consulted by the editorial or publisher's board on all decisions important to their work. The journalist will not plagiarise. He will not offer his work for publication simultaneously to more editorial offices. Without the author's consent, he does not intervene in the contents of the work. He does not decrease the authority and abilities of his colleagues.
The journalist holds in due respect the Constitutional State Order, its democratic institutions, valid law and generally accepted moral principles of society. The journalist must not promote aggressive wars, violence and aggressiveness as the means of international conflicts solution, political, civic, racial, national, religious and other sorts of intolerance. The journalists respects other states, nations and their institutions, culture and morals.
In addition to the universally binding Code of Ethics, public service media have their own internal editorial professional guidelines. Some print media have either their own professional editorial guidelines or their own ethical codes.
5.3 Regulatory authority
The professional and ethical behaviour of electronic media is supervised primarily by the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission, and, to a lesser extent, the Council of Slovak Television (only for public television) and the Radio Council (only for public radio).
These bodies deal, in their own competencies, with regulation of content that aims at protection of media and cultural pluralism, support for cultural and language diversity, protection of children and youth, protection of human dignity, protection of consumer and protection of copyright.
The Supreme Audit Bureau supervises financial management of public service institutions.
Additional bodies involved in regulating the broadcasting sector include the Ministry of Culture, the Telecommunication Office and the Anti-Monopoly Office.
The Ministry of Culture is the central body of the state administration. It prepares the basic concept of state media policies and most media legislation drafts.
It should be noted that regulation of broadcasting is separated from regulation of telecommunications; there are also two independent regulatory bodies in Slovakia: the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission and Telecommunication Authority. There were some discussions about merging both regulators into one regulatory body in 2003-2004.
The Telecommunications Office (established in 2004) manages the broadcasting frequency spectrum jointly with the ministries of Traffic, Post Offices and Telecommunications. The Telecommunication Office updates plans of utilisation of the broadcast frequency spectrum every two years in co-operation with the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission.
The role of the Telecommunication Office is mainly technical. It informs the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission of all changes in the list of frequencies which might result in a tender.
The Anti-Monopoly Office (established in 2001) protects limits on ownership concentration, monitors for abuse of a dominant position in the market or fairness in competition, concentration of businesses, and unfair dominance on market and upholding the rules of market competition. However, dominance of the market (different from monopoly position) is not forbidden in Slovakia, including media market. The Anti-Monopoly Office is interested only in cases of evident abuse of a dominant position of actors on the market.
There also is voluntary, non-state Ethical Commission (different from the Press Council). It deals with unethical behaviour of advertisers or with controversial adverts.
Previous media monitoring efforts include MEMO´98, an NGO that previously monitored fairness in media reporting. This organisation monitored media fairness and objectivity mostly through quantitative methodology. There was also the ad hoc project Slovak Press Watch, which monitored fairness and quality of the media reporting in select media in qualitative terms. It resumed its often courageous and interesting activities in 2009.
Laws, Regulations and Institutions
- Audit Bureau of Circulation
- Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic
- Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission (Rada)
- Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic - Collects statistical data about print media. Some information is available online in the Infotéka section. There is also information on media laws as well as drafts of media laws.
- Press Council (TRSR)
- Slovakia's National Public-Service Radio Broadcaster
- Television Council
- Telecommunications Regulatory Authority
6. Media resources
6.1 Learning and support
There has been long-term criticism of the level of higher education in general, and of journalism education in Slovakia in particular. For example, ARRA report 2006 suggested: “ [...]with some exceptions, Slovak universities add little to broadening of human knowledge, and Slovak scientists little publish in internationally renowned journals and their output has little response among scientist [...].“There are many professors and associate professors at universities, as well as PhD lecturers, but this does not relfect in any way in quality of scientific research in comparison with other universities.“
There are reports that highlight questionable quality of journalism education. For example, Portuguese expert Oscar Mascarenhas (2001) wrote: “the majority of editors and journalists with whom I talked showed disrespect towards quality of journalistic schools in Slovakia which considered old fashioned and not suitable for quality education for journalists.”
Finnish media expert Svetlana Pasti wrote (2004): ”Slovak journalistic schools have been permanently criticised by media professionals for their theoretical inclination and resulting difficult applicability of their graduates in daily routines.”
Finally, comparative study on level of journalism education in various European countries suggests that Presnall (2007, 17): ”Journalistic communities are characterised by low level of journalistic education in these countries.”
Since 1989, when there was only one Department of Journalism in Slovakia at Comenius University in Bratislava, established in 1952, there has been a growth of institutions specialized in media and communication studies.
The head of Department of Journalism at Comenius University is assoc. prof. PhDr Svetlana Hlavcakova, PhD.
The Catholic University in Ružomberok, established in 2000, has programme in journalism. The head of Department of Journalism is prof. PhDr. Jozef Mlacek, CSc. This department publishes magazine Problems of Journalism, since recently a peer reviewed magazine for theory, research and practice of mass media communication. This magazine was formerly published at Department of Journalism at Comenius University in Bratislava. It aims to publish quarterly, two double issues in Slovak, and one special issue containing papers in foreign languages.
The University of Constantine Philosopher in Nitra offers studies in journalism at the Department of Journalism (Head is assoc. prof. PhDr. Karol Orban, PhD.) and studies in mass media communication and advertising at the Department of mass media communication and advertising (Head is Mgr. Katarína Fichnová, PhD.). Both departments are at the Faculty of Arts.
There is Faculty of Media at private Bratislava University of Law in Bratislava. This Faculty has three institutes: Institute of Media Communication, Institute of Marketing Communication and Institute of Media and Marketing Creativity.
The University of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava has a special Faculty of Mass Media Communication, established in 1997. It has Department of Language Communication, Department of Artistic Communication, Department of Marketing Communication and Department of Mass Media Communication.
The Faculty plans to publish a new journal in mass media and marketing called Communication Today. It should be published twice a year and peer reviewed.
The University of Prešov has been a part of the Slovak higher education for a longer period of time. Some of its faculties have been here for more than a half of a century, other for several decades and others just several years. It offers programs in mass media studies and language-communication studies. The first programme is offered by the Institute of Slovakistik, general language studies and mass media studies at the Faculty of Arts. The second programme is offered by the Faculty of Humanities and Natural Sciences. Both programmes suggest that graduates can work in the media, although in the second programme it is more likely as language proofreaders or spokepersons of authorities.
There is a new research and educational center School of Communication and Media in Bratislava. It has been established in 2008 with the aim to become centre of excellence in media and communication research and teaching in Slovakia. So far it puts its priority on scientific research (FP 7 Programme Media and Democracy) and publications (Media and Globalization, Media Law in Slovakia). Contact: email@example.com
6.2 Prime sources for detailed information
Media and Journalism studies
- Catholic University in Ružomberok
- Department of Journalism at Comenius University
- Faculty of Media at private Bratislava University of Law in Bratislava
- Faculty of Mass Media Communication, University of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava
- University of Constantine Philosopher in Nitra
- University of Prešov
7.1 Development trends
The Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission reported already in 2006 and 2007 that the TV market is saturated. With the stagnation of the advertising market, the Council reported, there is no need to bring in more competitors. Indeed, there have been no major changes in the broadcasting market over the past a few years - perhaps with the exception of introduction of two new national terrestrial television stations, Doma and Joj+. However, these two television stations are "sister stations" of pre-existing major players in the television market.
A major organisational change was introduction of viewership surveys in October, 2004. The system helped the advertising industry to obtain data about viewer habits and preferences that are more accurate than other methods of measuring.
The process of digitalisation has been complicated due to political pressure in 2008 and 2009 to give hidden preferential treatment to a selected company for managing complex terrestrial digital network. Complications also stem from lack of private businesses interest in rapid introduction of digital television broadcasting. It is clear that without the initial national government or EU push there would no plan for a digital switchover in Slovakia.
At the same time, the state or the government gave unofficial preferential treatment to the company Towercom to manage digital spectrum in Slovakia. In the words of the former head of the Telecommunication Authority, a public tender was tailored for this particular company. The major reason behind this manipulation of the public tender was a personal and/or institutional relationship involving two broadcasters, Joj and TA3, with the owners of Towercom (Sme, 15.8.2009, p.7).
In February 2010, three largest commercial television stations went to court in protest that the Council for Broadcasting and Television took away analogue licences, including those licences which should not be used by law for broadcasting in multiplexes.
The government transformed legal status of news agency TASR from state subsidized organisation into a sort of public service institution. The government also created Audiovisual Fund which should support independent audiovisual production. There also was passed legislation which made possible contracts with the state between public service media (STV and SRo) on the one hand, and the Ministry of Culture on the other hand. The aim is to support programmes that are broadcast in public interest through public service media. At the same time, most recently passed legislation harmonized Slovak legislation with most recent EU regulations in this area (Audiovisual Media Service on Demand, Internet televisions) but also gave perhaps too many advantages to private televisions (main television news can be interrupted by commercial break, etc.).
- Ondrášik, Branislav (2009, 25-27 June). The Slovak Press Law: History and Its Impact on A Free Media. Paper presented at the conference Beyond East and West, Two Decades of Media Transformation after the Fall of Communism, Budapest, Hungary.
- Školkay, Andrej (1999). The Role of the Mass Media in Politcs and Society in Slovakia after the Fall of Communism. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Bratislava: Comenius University.
- Vozár, Jozef (2008). Právo na odpoveď (The Right to Reply). Právny obzor, Vol. 91, No. 3, pp.159-169.
School of Communication and Media
851 01 Bratislava, Slovakia