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Slovak Mass Media in the 21st Century: Current Challenges

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Miroslava Dobrotková, Artur Bekmatov, Andrea Chlebcová Hečková and Ján Kuciak

The book deals with the most challenging issues which the Slovak Mass Media are currently facing, including matters of public criticism. The first chapter describes the media influence on power control in Slovakia. It does not avoid the controversial question of corruption in the Slovak media field. The following chapter examines the stereotypes about the social minorities that are still widely spread by the media (especially the Internet and the social media). In this context, the chapter related to the public media explains why the existence of the media of public service is so important and why it is necessary to finance such media by public sources and not by the state. In the final chapter, the author aims to identify the reasons why alternative sources of information usually fail to inform truthfully, impartially and objectively.

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Introduction

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The development of Slovak media environment in the last 25 years is determined by turbulent political situation, the transition from socialist state system to the building and consolidating of democracy. Before 1989, the crucial function of media includes support of actual political leading power in preserving the status quo, communist propaganda and spreading only the official information. Mainly in the first years after the Velvet Revolution, the work of some media had common features with socialist media, especially during the so-called Mečiar era. Dual broadcasting system in Slovakia was established only in 1991 (before 1989, there were only state broadcasters) when public service media were created; however, from the beginning of the public broadcast, experts were discussing which system would guarantee real independence of public service media from politics. Nowadays, Slovak media operate on free market; their freedom of expression and the right to be informed is anyhow protected. Slovak media are confronted with the mistrust of the public and criticism of different aspects of their work – from alleged unprofessionalism and spreading distorted information to the dissemination of the facts that are not important and on the other hand marginalizing the facts that are necessary for the everyday decision-making of public.

This monograph deals with the most significant issues that are matters of public criticism. It has no ambition to cover all the problems which Slovak Mass Media actually face, but it is focused on the most challenging questions which actually resonate with the Slovak...

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