The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) will hold an online mission to Slovenia at the end of May and beginning of June 2021 to assess growing concerns about the deteriorating climate for press and media freedom over the past year.
The virtual fact-finding mission will be led jointly by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Press Institute (IPI), in partnership with the Slovenian Journalists’ Association (DNS).
MFRR partner organisations ARTICLE 19, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Free Press Unlimited (FPU) and the Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT) will join along with representatives from other international media freedom groups.
Over a two-week period, the MFRR will meet with a variety of stakeholders including journalists, editors, associations, civil society, academics and MEPs from across the political spectrum, as well as state institutions and representatives of the government.
The MFRR delegation will also meet virtually with representatives from the public broadcaster RTVSLO and the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) to discuss growing pressure on the Central European country’s public service media.
The aim of the mission will be to better understand key developments in the framework of media freedom in Slovenia over the last year and assess the main challenges facing journalists and other media actors.
A mission report published in July will present the MFRR’s findings and set out a list of recommendations for both the governing coalition government and the European Union. When international travel is possible, the MFRR plans to travel to Ljubljana to meet with stakeholders on the ground and meet in person with government representatives.
The mission comes as Slovenia prepares to take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU and amidst mounting concerns over media freedom from national associations, international groups and European institutions.
Over the last year, the MFRR has expressed growing alarm about the sharp increase in vocal attacks and smears on journalists by public figures including Prime Minister Janša, and clear attempts to exert greater control over the country’s public service media. The mission will address these issues as well as concerns over journalists’ safety, legal threats and media pluralism.
The MFRR tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU member states and candidate countries. It has organised a number of similar missions over the past year to Montenegro, Poland, Serbia and Spain.