Oligarchs get comfortable in Slovak media sector

The fact that mainstream media is now owned by financial groups and oligarchs, does not help readers consider them trustworthy.

Ria Gehrerová
Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia
Source: Denník N
Oligarchs get comfortable in Slovak media sector - NewsMavens
A newspaper. Image from Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Slovakia’s most popular daily, the tabloid Nový Čas, has a new owner. Anton Siekel is a Slovak millionaire who has ties to the Slovak National Party -- the group that forms part of the government. Siekel acquired the publication when the international publishing house Ringier Axel Springer was selling their media in Slovakia. Apart from Nový Čas, the publishing house sold some of their most influential magazines.

Nový Čas will now be controlled by the publishing house News and Media Holding, which is owned by the financial group Penta. Observers of the Slovak political scene might remember that Penta was involved in one of the biggest corruption scandals, Gorilla, which caused thousands of protesters to take to the streets a few years ago. The group operates in strictly regulated sectors, such as a medical care.

The fact that mainstream media is owned by financial groups and oligarchs, does not help them to be considered trustworthy by readers. It is commonly known that some of the media owners are closely linked to the politicians and the parties. Sadly, even if we did not know, we could deduce these affiliations from the choice of information presented in these publications, and the of journalists who write them.

Details from the story:

  • Penta owns the second most popular daily tabloid, Plus 1 deň, as well as the weekly tabloid, Plus 7 dní, the economical weekly, Trend, and the publishing house Petit Press (which prints daily SME.)
  • When Penta bought the latter, dozens of journalist left the daily SME and launched a new daily, Denník N. They were supported by the IT company ESET that refuses to do business with the state.
  • The new owner of the most popular daily Nový Čas, Anton Siekel, is considered to be a political advisor to the leader of the Slovak National Party, Andrej Danko.
  • Anton Siekel is one of the richest Slovaks. Last year he was appointed chairman of the Slovak Olympic Committee.
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