M E D I A W A T C H    S E R I E S
Marko Zajc, Janez Polajnar
Ours and Yours
Tanja Petrović
A long way home
Brankica Petković, Marko Prpič, Neva Nahtigal, Sandra Bašić-Hrvatin
Media Preferences and Perceptions
Mitja Velikonja
Sandra Bašić-Hrvatin, Brankica Petković
You call this a media market?
Brankica Petković, Sandra Bašić-Hrvatin, Lenart J. Kučić, Iztok Jurančič, Marko Prpič, Roman Kuhar
Media for Citizens
Mitja Velikonja
Jernej Rovšek
The Private and the Public in the Media
Sandra Bašić-Hrvatin, Lenart J. Kučić, Brankica Petković
Media Ownership
Roman Kuhar
Media Representations of Homosexuality
Dragan Petrovec
Violence in the Media
Majda Hrženjak, Ksenija H. Vidmar, Zalka Drglin, Valerija Vendramin, Jerca Legan
Making Her Up
Gojko Bervar
Freedom of Non-accountability
Sandra Bašić-Hrvatin
Serving the State or the Public
Sandra Bašić-Hrvatin, Marko Milosavljević
Media Policy in Slovenia in the 1990s
Breda Luthar, Tonči Kuzmanić, Srečo Dragoš, Mitja Velikonja, Sandra Bašić-Hrvatin, Lenart J. Kučić
The Victory of the Imaginary Left
Matevž Krivic, Simona Zatler
Freedom of the Press and Personal Rights
Karmen Erjavec, Sandra Bašić-Hrvatin, Barbara Kelbl
We About the Roma
Tonči Kuzmanić
Hate-speech in Slovenia
Darren Purcell
The Slovenian State on the Internet
Breda Luthar
The Politics of Tele-tabloids
Marjeta Doupona Horvat, Jef Verschueren, Igor Ž. Žagar
The Pragmatics of Legitimation

Sandra Bašić-Hrvatin, Marko Milosavljević
Media Policy in Slovenia in the 1990s
Regulation, Privatization, Concentration and Commercialization of the Media

eBook (600kB, pdf)

During the 1990s the Slovene media were significantly affected by political changes. The events that most influenced the media world of the nineties were the introduction of the new media law (arguments and discussions about the media law in Slovenia have again become topical ten years later), the privatization of the media, liberalization of the print media market and superficial regulation of the broadcasting market, media monopolization and commercialization. These events are the subject of the analysis in this essay.

The Slovene media market is small, so relatively modest financial resources suffice to establish control over it (especially in comparison with the sums involved in the takeovers and acquisitions in other European countries). Before the process of media privatization got underway, the Slovene state expected the invasion of large European and American corporations, similar to what has happened in some other countries in transition. One decade later it is possible to conclude instead that a small number of local owners with stakes in numerous affiliated companies control the major part of the Slovene media market. The concentration is still in progress, while cross-ownership ties remain unchanged. It is obvious that the state, or rather its supervising institutions, do not have any mechanism (and no interest) to introduce order into this field.

Moreover, the legislative body has overlooked another important fact, namely that privatization has nothing to do with the ethics of the media operation, and even less so with the accountability of the media to the public. The democratic and plural media, which were expected to be secured through the Mass Media Act of 1994, proved to have a high price. In democratic societies the prevention of media monopolization is the responsibility of the state. However, in a system which is subject to voluntary steps by the state, market and new owners, that is to say, in which there are no legal and financial conditions for plurality of the media, it is not possible to talk of media freedom.

The story of introducing firstly the Mass Media Act that came into force in 1994 and then the Mass Media Act of 2001 brings to light the state’s attitude towards the media deregulation. In the beginning of the 1990s, the basic dilemmas revolved around the questions of whether a law on the media was needed at all, and what kind of law it should be. Once in force, the law proved to be deficient. Insufficient supervision of the implementation of the deficient law thus resulted in a non-transparent concentration of media ownership and numerous violations of the law for which, unfortunately, there were no sanctions.

The first changes to the Mass Media Act of 1994 were proposed in 1997 followed by four years of debate before the Mass Media Act, which replaced the former law, came into force. It treats certain areas (for example, the interests of the state) in minute detail, while others (for example the interests of citizens) are dealt with only loosely. On the other hand, the fundamental question posed over the past decade remains unchanged and, more importantly, unanswered. This question is: What kind of the media policy does the state actually support?