Slovenia

On our watchlist: A rapid decline in civic freedoms as government restricts fundamental rights

Janša's right-wing government continues its crackdown on media freedom and targeting of CSOs. Those that speak out about violations of freedoms, rights and a lack of social dialogue are targeted in retaliation. The crumbling democracy and current state of civic space in the country sets a dangerous precedent for the European continent, as Slovenia prepares to assume the presidency of the EU in July. Due to the rapid decline in civic space, Slovenia is now on the CIVICUS Monitor Watchlist.
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On our watchlist: A rapid decline in civic freedoms as government restricts fundamental rights

Janša’s government continues its attack on media freedom; spreads misinformation about CSOs

Prime Minister Janez Janša's government has continued its attacks on CSOs and the media. In February 2021, the Slovene Democratic Party sent out a questionnaire to all households with a series of misleading and suggestive questions about the media and non-governmental organisations. In addition, CSOs reported that PM Janša once again used incorrect data regarding NGO financing during a vote of no confidence in parliament. Whilst the NGOs who are facing eviction from Metelkova have managed to successfully litigate to preserve their rights via a complaint to the Constitutional Court, the government continues to undermine CSOs through inserting similar restrictions in other bills, which are now up for parliamentary consideration. Numerous developments took place in relation to media freedom: journalists continue to face online attacks from the Prime Minister, there have been attempts to undermine the national press agency and attempts to censor media from reporting on COVID-19.
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Janša’s government continues its attack on media freedom; spreads misinformation about CSOs

Government continues its attack on CSOs

Following the downgrade of Slovenia by the CIVICUS Monitor, attempts by public authorities to undermine civic space in the country continue. After various restrictive measures and hostile rhetoric targeting NGOs since the new government took power in Slovenia in March 2020, in December 2020 the Janez Janša government unsuccessfully attempted to introduce an amendment abolishing the state’s fund for non-governmental organisations through its 7th anti-corona stimulus package. In January 2021, the Ministry of Environment proposed new changes to the Environmental Protection and Spatial Planning Acts which would exclude environmental NGOs from key relevant procedures. The law is currently under consultation. Anti-government protests have continued to take place since April 2020. The protest wave continues despite being challenged by heavy fines by the police. Read more

Government continues its attack on CSOs

Janša's government threatens to evict 18 CSOs and continues to attack the media

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Slovenia are increasingly becoming the target of the Slovenian government's restrictive measures and hostile rhetoric.The latest developments take place amid the second wave of the COVID-19pandemic, which has been used as a pre-text to clamp down on NGOs. 18 NGOs were recently requested by the government (Ministry of Culture) to vacate their premises in the building at No. 6 Metelkova Street in Ljubljana, in which they have been operating since the mid-1990s. In addition media have contined to faced attacks from Prime Minister Janez Janša. Read more

Janša's government threatens to evict 18 CSOs and continues to attack the media

Peaceful assembly and media freedom strained under Janša's government

Protests, especially Friday anti-government protests, have been a regular feature of public life in Slovenia since Janša took office. Some citizens initiated cyclists’ protests to complain about the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Protests have been staged every Friday thus far, with more than thirty held since March 2020, and have since spread across Slovenia. However, these protests have been subject to intense police scrutiny. Concerns were raised over the police handling of these protests in Ljubljana, will allegations of excessive use of police powers. A package of three media laws has also come under the spotlight, with journalists staging a protest calling for these laws to be scrapped. These laws threaten to completely change the Slovenian media landscape. Journalists also faced threats during the reporting period. Read more

Peaceful assembly and media freedom strained under Janša's government

Government uses the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to curtail civic freedoms

On 13th March 2020, a new right-wing coalition government was constituted, with Janez Janša being appointed as the new PM. Janša, who is the leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) is known for being one of the biggest allies of Hungary's Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán. In its first week the government took many concerning decisions regarding COVID-19. For instance, the Intervention Measures Act was introduced to provide support measures for different spheres in Slovenia. However there were unsuccessful attempts to pass articles which broaden police powers and surveillance. Freedom of expression also came under attack during the pandemic. For example, under the pretence of public health safety, the government’s press conferences were closed to the press. A compromise was later reached by journalist unions and the government. Critical journalists have also been harassed on social media and through SDS Party channels. Read more

Government uses the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to curtail civic freedoms

Centre-right party leader becomes Prime Minister raising concerns for civic space

In March 2020 Slovenia’s parliament confirmed Janez Janša as its new Prime Minister. Janša is known for his anti-immigration stance and for being critical towards NGO funding and journalists. In a separate development, the cultural NGO sector continues to face spatial challenges. Meanwhile media watchdog bodies have called on authorities to ensure a safe working environment for journalists who continue to face “intensive attacks”. Read more

Centre-right party leader becomes Prime Minister raising concerns for civic space

CSOs in Slovenia face criticism and derogatory statements for environmental protection work

Cooperation between institutions and civil society remains generally positive. However, some criticism was sparked against environmental civil society organisations in connection with the environmental protection work . Read more

CSOs in Slovenia face criticism and derogatory statements for environmental protection work

CSOs in Slovenia win lawsuits, while cooperation between CSOs and state continues

The new Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Simon Zajc, appointed in March 2019, has committed to continue the positive cooperation between the Ministry and the civil society organizations (CSOs) initiated by his predecessor. Read more

CSOs in Slovenia win lawsuits, while cooperation between CSOs and state continues

New government moves to open space for dialogue with civil society

A number of ministries in Slovenia's new coalition government have moved to create more space for constructive dialogue with CSOs. Read more

New government moves to open space for dialogue with civil society