By: Luka Perš / Nova24tv.si
Due to numerous manipulations, the Ministry of Culture commissioned a study on the media landscape in Slovenia from the Faculty of Media. The research was conducted by dr. Matevž Tomšič, dr. Borut Rončevič, dr. Nuša Erman, and dr. Tamara Besednjak Valič. In media such as 24ur, MMC RTV SLO, Dnevnik, Večer, Delo, Slovenske novice, Svet24, the imbalance is between 30 and 40 percent. The pro-government or anti-opposition attitude is not significantly represented in most of these media. Particular concern was given to the public RTV portal, which stood out considerably in terms of imbalance.
The Slovenian media landscape seems to be in an alarming situation. Journalists are said to be afraid for their lives, they feel threatened and attacked in their work, a few days ago we were frightened by an article in the Brussels Politico, and similar unverified stories are multiplying elsewhere. As this topic involves many interpretations left to manipulation, the results of the latest research of the Faculty of Media are all the more welcome, as they have proven with great accuracy what the real ratio is in the media market and what views prevail. The survey covered ten most popular websites. These are 24ur.com, Siol.net, Rtvslo.si, Slovenskenovice.si, Svet24.si, Delo.si, Dnevnik.si, Vecer.com, and Nova24tv.si. Well, despite the research, 24ur took a professional slip and presented some of the data in the research in their own way. The inconsistency was pointed out by the Foreign Minister dr. Anže Logar on Twitter.
The media space is an institutionalised component of the public sphere. As such, it is one of the most important factors enabling a democratic political life. Namely, it is a place where the articulation of various social and political interests takes place. The media represent a mechanism of social communication between actors from different social fields, wherein their role of mediator among citizens or civil society on the one hand and power-political structures and their bearers on the other hand, is especially important. The authors of the research emphasise that the definition of an individual medium to ideological and political issues is not problematic. Thus, in developed democracies, there are social democratic, liberal, and conservative media. The majority left wing media scene in Slovenia shudders with the claim that the public space in Slovenia should be more balanced. Researchers argue that it is therefore important that it is composed of media of different ideological orientations. Problems and solutions are evaluated from different angles, and thus the individual has the opportunity to come to his/her own conclusion on the basis of different information, they write in the introduction to the research.
There are no surprises: The media space is dominated by left-leaning media
Academics point out in the study that the first research on the media in Slovenia was conducted within the framework of researchers from the Institute for the Revival of Civil Society in 2002. Already at that time, the authors in a study entitled Media Construction of Reality found that the media space in its political and ideological preferences was markedly one-sided and that the transitional left was strongly supported. Especially the then leading party on the left, the LDS, and the current SD party.
The modern direction of the media space is represented by online media. By 2025, Slovenia is expected to have 1.7 million inhabitants with daily use of the Internet, so the authors of the investigation took a sample of the ten most visited online media and analysed their impact on everyday reporting. The analysis covered the time period between March and September 2020.
The data show the daily reach of the online media 24ur, Siol, Slovenske novice, and MMC RTV Slovenia from 150 to 500 thousand daily visitors. Other media covered in the survey reach their reach between 50 to 100 thousand daily visitors. Thus, the portal of the largest private media house occupies 36 percent, followed by the Siol portal with 15 percent. It is followed by MMC RTV Slovenia with 13 percent and Slovenske novice with 10 percent. The other six (Dnevnik, Delo, Večer, Žurnal24, Svet24, Nova24tv) together occupy less than a third of the total media space.
The public portal RTV considerably stands out in terms of imbalance
The researchers analysed the media on the basis of three topics that divided the Slovenian public last year. These were government measures against covid-19 (797 publications), media legislation (278 publications), and policy attitudes towards the migrant crisis (359 publications). The results were as follows. Most of the posts took a neutral stance. Researchers found that as many as 47 percent of all posts do not show a balanced attitude, but rather presents anti-government posts. Among publications where neutral views do not predominate, left-wing publications are strongly prevalent. There are as many as 66.7 percent of these posts. They then tackled each of the ten selected media individually.
For Nova24TV it was reported that anti-opposition texts (46.3 percent) and pro-government texts (41.3 percent) predominated. The most balanced media are Siol (73.7 percent) and Slovenske novice (69.8 percent). For texts that are unbalanced, the smallest deviation is at Siol (14 percent) and Žurnal24 (21.9 percent). In other media (24ur, MMC RTV SLO, Dnevnik, Večer, Delo, Slovenske novice, Svet24), the imbalance is between 30 and 40 percent. The pro-government or anti-opposition attitude is not significantly represented in most media.
They especially pointed out the case of the public media MMC RTVSLO, to which we annually allocate a little less than 100 million euros of mandatory contribution. It was dominated by 55.8 percent of balanced articles during this time period. But as many as 41.9 percent of all publications in this public medium were unbalanced texts. Thus, the share of unbalanced texts for the government side was only 5.9 percent.
Most media have a recognisable political and ideological note
At the end, the researchers of the Faculty of Media emphasised the role of the only public media in Slovenia. It is the only public medium, so it is expected to enable different views on the most important social issues in its broadcasts and contributions. An important part is its plurality and impartiality. However, according to the survey, it stood out quite a bit in its imbalance.
They assess that most of the selected media have a recognizable political and ideological note. Among these, the left views clearly prevail over the right. Those with by far the greatest reach of daily readers express anti-government views and are much more in favour of the current left wing opposition parties. It is therefore worth pointing out that the political left also has more media support than the current center-right government.