Journalism and Populism in Slovakia

Suggested citation: Školkay, Andrej (2022), Journalism and Populism in Slovakia, National DEMOS Project. Work Package 7, Task 7.3, Version 2. 45 pages/ 18, 690 words.

National Report

Andrej Školkay

School of Communication and Media

Bratislava, Slovakia


This study attempts an analysis of the complex relationship between journalism and populism in Slovakia. In particular, the key research question is whether journalists support, challenge or are neutral in their approaches towards populist actors? It is the first national study with such focus. It is based on 24 in depth interviews with journalists from a wide spectrum of the media. I also illustrate position and approaches of either journalists and/or the media to populism on representative examples – events. These events, however insignificant from a long-term perspective may be, represent current deeply symbolic issues that help to explain underlying moral and professional principles. The fundamental question that I try to explain is how is it possible that a strong presence of populism in politics coexists with the mainstream journalism that has for a long time been opposing passively, and occasionally actively, populism? First, I briefly outline the local media ecosystem. I highlight those features of the media system that may help to uncover deeper causes of media and journalists‘ rolers in populism. I also explain and illustrate as an example the key criticism of the mainstream liberal media and journalists by both the mainstream conservative and so called alternative liberal media and journalists. I try to explain the birth and popularity of alternative media that form special ecosystem in Slovakia.