The Internet is used daily or almost daily by 53 percent of the population, but significantly more often by younger generations. In the age group 15-24, this is 91 percent. (Standard Eurobarometer 84, p.8). It is significant that 60 percent of respondents believe that social media are modern media where to get information about political issues. However, only 34 percent of respondents agree that information on social media is not to be trusted. In any case, 55 percent of respondents believe that social media are a good way to express itself on political issues (Standard Eurobarometer 84, p.10). An older study by Velšic (2012) has suggested the majority of the population aged 14+ already used social networks a few years ago. A more recent study by Velšic (2016) has suggested that especially younger supporters of radical right Kotleba´s ĽSNS political party are the most interested in current events via the Internet. Moreover, younger generation mostly supports either liberal (but in some policy areas such as migration rather conservative) SaS political party or Kotleba´s ĽSNS political party (each with about 24 percent support).
Indeed, the online media are increasingly important (especially with regard to re-emerging political/ideological parallelism). There are many different platforms in Slovakia that represent different political/ideological worldviews. Indeed, it appears that the media market has fundamentally changed in the last few years. Many people read (sometimes in addition to hard copies of newspapers) the online versions of newspapers as well as online-only newspapers and news sites. In late 2016, the most popular news portals included Sme.sk, Aktuality.sk, Cas.sk, Topky.sk, Pravda.sk, Webnoviny.sk, Tvnoviny.sk, Hnonline.sk and Markiza.sk.
Moreover, traditional media increasingly use social media for various purposes. For example, two of the above mentioned scandals covering overpriced costs for the opening ceremony and logo presentation by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs as well as the prime minister's controversial follow-up reaction and attack on “some“ journalists, these were obviously discussed in the media. The shorter or longer recordings of these discussions were presented online on Facebook. For example, Radio Express anchor Braňo Závodský uploaded his radio interview on FB (in audiovisual format) with the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs in which they both discussed this scandal in November 2016. This video was watched by over 52,000 viewers on FB in a few days. In contrast, 30 previous videos by the same journalist received attention of a few thousand of interested “visitors“ each.
Similarly, newspaper Denník N uploaded on FB a two-minute extract of a radio interview with the Prime Minister R. Fico (only in audio version) in which the prime minister criticised “some anti-governmental and anti-Slovak journalists“. This video became quite popular with around 60,000 views within a few days (in contrast to an average of some 5,000 or less views). (The full interview is also available in audio version uploaded by an anonymous source). Newspaper Denník N started uploading videos in early November 2014. Since that time, in two years, the newspaper uploaded over 700 videos. Denník N had some 92,000 fans on FB in late 2016.
In contrast, newspaper Sme seems to be less active on FB with videos, although it had 108,000 fans on FB in late 2016. Sme has uploaded 376 videos as of early December 2016 during the same period. More importantly, these videos had 20 times less views in total (in comparison with newspaper Denník N). It appears that Sme has adopted a different strategy. Sme runs its own online television. This is more popular communication channel than FB, with more videos (a few a day) and more viewers (top five videos had between 7,000 and 37,000 views in a week on December 2, 2016). The top video was actually a funny interpretation of the above-mentioned scandal (Ťažký týždeň s Janom Gorduličom: O Ficovom vzťahu k médiám a špinavým protislovenským prostitútkam, November 30, 2016)