The legal framework guarantees the right to freedom of expression to all. CSOs engaged in human rights and democracy promotion are allowed to speak freely and engage in advocacy. The freedom of expression is guaranteed through comprehensive legislation: The Constitution, The Law on Media, the Law on Broadcasting Activity, the Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation, as well as the Law on Free Access to Public Information.
No significant progress was made during the year in the legal framework regulating the freedom of expression, in particular, to change the shortcomings identified in the Urgent Reform Priorities.
Following the global and regional trends of fake news and disinformation campaigns, the government has announced and prepared an Action Plan to tackle the issue of disinformation and fake news and the civil society was invited to take part. The response by the journalist organizations to these developments was that the government should allow for self-regulation (for which several activities were undertaken already by relevant organizations). Despite this pledge for self-regulation, the action group from the Government began its activities.
The legislation provides for limitations of hate speech. The key legal act is the Law on Civil Liability for Insult and Defamation which does not require the need to obtain permission to speak publicly or deliver presentation/lecture; and there is no requirement that publications of organizations must be pre-approved. The law was not amended throughout the year, even though indications were given in the Urgent Reform Priorities document stating that the number of cases of libel in courts, mostly targeting journalists, should be reduced by introducing measures.
In practice, there was progress towards respecting the freedom of expression, particularly when it comes to media outlets and improvement of the climate for journalism. The country was ranked 95 in the 2019 World Press Freedom index, rising 14 places compared to 2018. However, journalists were still a target for hostility and threats, and a culture of impunity of the attacks over them persists.
0 – 20 Fully disabling environment20 – 40 Disabling environment
40 – 60 Partially enabling environment60 – 80 Enabling environment
80 – 100 Fully enabling environment
The following cases were recorded: verbal and physical attacks over journalists, pressures over journalist investigating organized crime in construction activities, physical attack by the security over female journalist during religious manifestation, two female journalists were target to hate speech and threats by a state employee, forceful eviction of representatives of the media from the building of the Constitutional court, where they were previously invited, to attend the meeting of the president of the court and the EU ambassador Žbogar. Furthermore, according to the AJM, a culture of impunity for attacks on journalists persists, as out of the sixty attacks in the past six years, 13 have not been investigated and many remain unsolved.
The last HRD report on the country shows that the human rights defenders who work in the field of journalism feel neither free nor restricted in exercising their freedom of opinion and expression. They confirm that the climate is more favorable, but still are exposed to constant threats and pressures, and usually discredited if affiliated or with ng with CSOs.
Chart 4. Have you or other individuals from your organization experienced some of the listed unlawful restrictions while practicing the right to freedom of expression (%):
Namely, eight CSOs practice self-censorship, seven CSOs faced pressure for critical speech against the government or private entities and seven CSOs faced pressure over their advocacy activities. Throughout the year, the CSOs were able to freely react to discriminatory, harmful and hateful expressions in public