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Slovakia/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.6 Media pluralism and content diversity

The media system in the Slovak Republic has gradually changed since 1989 so that the plurality of media and the diversity of its contents have been assured. For the electronic media sector, an independent regulatory body was established - Council for Broadcast and Retransmission. Its members are elected by the National Council of the Slovak Republic. The telecommunications area is regulated by the Telecommunications Office SR, established pursuant to Act no. 195/2000 Coll. on Telecommunications. Its chairman is elected on a proposal by the SR National Council.

The preparation of laws for the area of the media is the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture, which has established an advisory body for the area of the media - The Council of the Minister of Culture for the Mass-media.

The press is not under any regulation, with the exception of the regulation of advertising pursuant to the Law on Advertising. Supervisory bodies include the Slovak Agricultural and Foodstuffs Inspection (advertisements on foods, cosmetic devices and tobacco products), The State Institute for the Control of Medicines (advertisements of medicines and nursing preparations) and the Slovak Trade Inspection. The Ministry of Culture keeps records of press periodicals and their publishers.

Issues of concentration and economic competition are investigated by the Anti-monopoly Office, pursuant to Act no. 136/2001 Coll. on the Protection of Economic Competition. Dominant positions are not forbidden in the media, and the Office only investigates its potential abuse.

In the area of print materials and press agencies, there are no obligations towards the public in relation to the publication of ownership relations of the individual publishers, nor any regulation in relation to concentration (with the exception of general conditions of concentration pursuant to the Act on Economic Competition). Act no. 308/2000 Coll. on Broadcasting and Retransmission has set restrictions on ownership in the media for so-called cross ownership of press and electronic media. In the case of broadcasters, these obligations are regulated and controlled by the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission. The issue of the print media will be resolved by the new Press Act, the draft of which was presented by the Ministry of Culture in 2007 for specialist discussion and for the legislative process.

In 2007, there were 111 holders of licences for television broadcasting in the Slovak Republic (in the categories multi-regional monothematic broadcasting, multi-regional full format broadcasting, regional broadcasting, and local broadcasting).

Public service broadcasters are set by law - Slovenský rozhlas (Slovak Radio) with five terrestrial programme circuits and Slovenská televízia (Slovak Television) with two terrestrial circuits.

The largest private television broadcasters (private channels), on the basis of licences for multi-regional full format broadcasting, are TV Markíza and TV JOJ. The licence-holder for TV Markíza is the Markíza - Slovakia company. Its licence is valid until 13 September 2019. The owners of the company are CME Slovak Holdings B.V., A.R.J. company, a.s. (controlled by multi-national holding, CME), and the Slovak company Media Invest has a minority share. The licence-holder for TV JOJ is the MAC TV company, s.r.o., whose only owner is the Slovak shareholding company J&T Media Enterprises, which is united with the investment group, J&T Finance Group. Their licence runs until 27 January 2018.

In multi-regional monothematic television broadcasting, the most significant broadcaster is the news channel, TA3. The holder of the licence for its broadcasting is the C.E.N. company s r.o., whose only owner is the Slovak investment group, Grafobal Group, a.s. Among monothematic television stations are two music stations (Music Box and Mooby TV). Thematic stations oriented to culture or artistic content at present do not exist in Slovakia.

In 2007, there were a total of 31 holders of licences for multiregional, regional or local radio broadcasting, and 159 holders of licences for executing retransmission in cable networks or by means of other technologies.

Each year, the Ministry of Culture compiles statistics on television and radio broadcasting in the Slovak Republic. According to these statistics, in 2006 the share of imported programmes on multiregional television amounted to 22.5%, and the share of domestic programmes was 77.5% (news, current affairs etc.). In dramatic programmes (films and serials) this share is quite different - imported programmes make up 97% of the total volume. The broadcasting of music and entertainment programmes is more balanced, 47:53 in favour of domestic production. In public Slovak television broadcasting, the total share of imported and domestic programmes for 2006 showed a breakdown of 45% (foreign programmes) a 55% (domestic programmes). However, in STV broadcasting, imported programmes had the greatest share in the drama programme segment (88%).

Current discussion in the area of culture in 2007 mainly concerned issues related to a new proposal of the Press Act (protection of sources and information, right to remedy, right to a response, the obligation of the public media to provide information, the responsibility of publishers for content). The new Press Act should replace the present, still valid legal regulation which was adopted back in 1966.

Over the last decade in Slovakia, there has been continuous discussion of issues surrounding the status, management, financing and programme of the public media - Slovak Radio and Slovak Television. The current discussions, in 2007, referred mainly to the system of financing these media, the optimisation of their infrastructures, and their position in the process of digitisation of television broadcasting. The intention of the Ministry of Culture in this area is to prepare the draft of a contract between the state and the public media on the contents and financial provision of the public service in television and radio broadcasting.

Chapter published: 15-01-2008

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