On October 10, 2018, the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) and the Cultural Center Aktivity with support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) organized a public discussion in Trenčín titled Media Freedom, information conflicts and democracy in Slovakia. The event took place in the framework of IVO project „Country at the crossroad“ , consisting of series of discussions of experts with public on topical issues of society’s in several Slovak cities.
Discussion was attended by IVO president Grigorij Mesežnikov, Ľuba Lesná (journalist, essayist and writer) and Ivan Ježík (lecturer and activist, NGO Voices). Event was moderated by Jakub Kobela (Slovak Debate Association).
Speakers touched on a wide range of issues related to formation of the media environment in Slovakia during the transformation process and democratization as well as its present forms. They have spoken about changes in the media scene since 1989 from personal, professional and ownership points of view, about journalists’ participation in public debate in defense of democracy against authoritarianism, reforms and country’s involvement into the process of European integration, about the forms of information conflicts of high societal relevance with participation of broad spectrum of actors (politicians, representatives of business sphere, people from the media – journalists and publishers). They also pointed out to the context of the most significant media case that took place in Slovakia in 2018 and had a wide social resonance with impact on internal political development, activation of civil society and party politics – the murder of independent journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.
High attention was paid by speakers and participants from the public to current state of the media scene, its problems and challenges as well as to interactions between the so-called standard media and various communication and information platforms that try to compete with the established media and to fulfill some of their core functions. They have also touched on the issue of disinformation and conspiratorial “media“, their toxic content, and the ways they use to reach recipients.