Assessment of Slovak Strategic Communication Structures and Capabilities

Natália Tkáčová, Kristína Šefčíková / 8 Dec 2023

Slovakia finds itself grappling with a number of consecutive crises that extend beyond the bounds of the health system, geopolitics, and energy issues. The overarching political instability in the region, compounded by the enduring challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine war, and energy concerns, was exacerbated by an internal political crisis that led to the fall of the Slovak government in December 2022 and subsequent snap election that took place recently. The political instability, accompanied by decades-long corruption, created a corrosive effect of alarmingly low trust in government institutions, media, and even democracy. These issues have created a particularly challenging environment for strategic communication. As a consequence, the impact of governmental communication on its priority issue areas has, so far, been minimal, despite the development of strategic communication units and initiatives under a national conceptual framework.

Strategic communication in Slovakia is facing an information landscape in which hostile narratives and disinformation are not fringe phenomena, but have become part of mainstream politics, media, and public discourse. The recent snap election serves as a stark illustration, it saw the victory of parties that relied on increasingly hostile narratives in their campaigns. The outcome of this election reflects not only the depth of the challenges but also the need for a recalibration of strategic communication activities.

The present report aims to delve deeper into the landscape of strategic communication in Slovakia. It first lays out the legal and institutional framework and main actors involved in its development. Subsequently, it assesses the particular domestic challenges and opportunities for developing an efficient strategic communication system. Ultimately, the report aims to contribute to the ongoing discourse on improving strategic communication within the country with recommendations for its optimization and alignment with national interests and goals.