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

Jernej Rovšek
The Private and the Public in the Media
Regulation and implementation in Slovenia

eBook (533kB, pdf)

This book is divided into three main parts. In the first part, the author speaks about one important human right long neglected in Slovenia: the right to obtain information. For more than a decade, this right amounted to no more than a declaration in the 1991 Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia without any possibility of being exercised in practice, since a law that would regulate the content and the method of exercising this right did not exist. The Human Right Ombudsman's efforts over several years finally bore fruit, and the law on Access to Information of A Public Nature was passed in 2003. But this has not spelled an end to difficulties related to the exercising of this important civil and political right. We have so far taken just the first steps towards informing the public about this right and the methods of its exercise. What still has to be improved are the mechanisms actually enabling the exercise of this right. Journalists, who ignored this law while it was in the process of being drafted, discovered the new opportunities it offered only after it came into force. Until then, they were content with the deficient provisions in the Mass Media Act, which prescribed shorter time limits but did not stipulate the administrative procedure, nor did they provide for judicial protection of the right to access information. For the media, which provide information to the public, the new law on access to information will become even more useful when the time limit for access to information is shortened and a sufficiently effective and fast complaint procedure is guaranteed.

The second part is dedicated to the right to privacy and the mechanisms of its protection when it is invaded, unjustifiably or disproportionately, by the media. Only recently has the protection of this right received more emphasis in situations in which it had to be weighed against the right to freedom of expression. Proof are some decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, particularly the judgment in the case of Princess Caroline of Monaco. A special part of the right to privacy in the wider sense of the word is the protection of personal data that has been accorded special attention in the treaty establishing a Constitution of Europe. In Slovenia, personal data protection is neglected, in terms of both legal regulation and protection mechanisms. From the principle according to which everything in this field that is not explicitly allowed (by law) is prohibited, we must move towards a more flexible legal arrangement and supervision, which will enable the balancing of this right against other legitimate rights, including the right to freedom of expression and the right to access information.

In the third part, the author looks into the mechanisms of self-regulation and self-control in the media. This chapter is also an attempt to resuscitate the initiative to establish a press council in Slovenia. There are many possible mechanisms for media accountability. At the Journalism Days in Ankaran in 2004, Claude-Jean Bertrand of the French Press Institute listed eighty of these, stressing that the list was not complete. In this book, the author presents in more detail only those models of media accountability that are based on the principles close to the type of work the author performs and with which he is most familiar: informal and extra judicial (ombudsman) protection of the rights of individuals, i.e. press council and media ombudsman. The former is a collective, multipartite body which, in addition to the representatives of journalists' associations, usually includes representatives of civil society. A media ombudsman, on the other hand, is a monocratic body, meaning that it is personified by the person fulfilling that function and that it belongs in the group of so-called private sector quasi ombudsmen. It is the author’s opinion that Slovenia needs a press council as a body for self-regulation and self-control that would also include representatives of the public. In contrast to the existing Ethics Commission of the Association of Journalists, such a press council would also deal with the conduct of the media and not only with that of individual journalists. Until now, various journalists' organizations, the association and the union of journalists have opposed the establishment of such a press council, albeit without convincing reason. Their fear has been that politics could “sneak” into their work through the representatives of civil society. The author thinks that the prospects for the establishment of such a body in Slovenia improved after the journalists' strike in the autumn of 2004, provided that journalists realize that, despite all the tensions between them and politics and media owners, they would be much better off if they had the public as their ally.