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Slovakia places seventh in Nations in Transit ranking

SLOVAKIA recorded seventh best result among the 29 transitioning countries evaluated on the quality of democracy by the U.S. non-governmental organisation Freedom House. 

(Source: Sme )

In its Nations in Transit 2015 report, Slovakia scored as 3.64 points overall and was described as consolidated democracy.

The democracy scores and regime ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 7 the lowest. The 2015 ratings reflect the period from January 1 to December 31, 2014.

Freedom House evaluated together seven categories. In case of electoral process Slovakia got 1.5 points, for civil society 1.75, for independent media 3, for national democratic governance 3, for local democratic governance 2.5, for judicial framework and independence 3, and for corruption 3.75.

The evaluation was similar to last year’s, with the exception of the independent media category where it worsened from 2.75 to 3. When evaluating this category, the author pointed to several cases which happened in 2014 in the media sector, including the decision of the Bratislava district court which ordered Ringier Axel Springer, as publisher of the daily Nový Čas, to apologize to a Supreme Court judge for harming his personal integrity with an article and accompanying photos printed by the tabloid in 2011.

Moreover, the year 2014 witnessed a concerning increase in media-outlet acquisitions by local financial groups, most notably the Penta group. The Penta group’s numerous acquisitions raise serious questions, both about Penta’s intentions and the future editorial independence of publications that provide important critiques of politics, business, and power in the country, reads the official website of Freedom House.

Of the 29 countries assessed for 2014, 13 were rated as democracies, six as transitional regimes, and 10 as authoritarian regimes. The rating is led by Slovenia, followed by Estonia, Latvia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Slovakia, according to the Freedom House website.

Disclaimer: Penta financial group has a 45-percent share in Petit Press, the co-owner of The Slovak Spectator.

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