Journalists associations

There are de iure or formally three journalism organisations. These are the Slovak Syndicate of Journalists (SSN), the Slovak Section of Association of European Journalists (SSAEJ) and the Slovak Association of Journalists (SAN).

A journalist can actually be a member of all three associations, if he or she decides so. Practically almost anybody can be registered as a member of one of the three main journalism organisations. In other words, there is a very low threshold for somebody to qualify as a journalist, either in a sense of being a member of a journalism association, or as one who works as a journalist. There are currently no special or difficult rules or professional conditions which would qualify an applicant to become a professionally registered journalist. Moreover, for claiming to be a journalist, one does not need to be a member of any professional association.

The most important, oldest (since 1990) and with largest membership (1,500 members in November 2016) is the SSN. SSN is member of International Federation of Journalists and European Federation of Journalists. In addition to formal conditions for membership - such as paying an entry fee and an annual membership due - in the largest journalism organisation SSN, there are three general professional and ethical conditions: to acknowledge the principles of freedom and democracy; to creatively participate in the production of journalistic content on all types of mass media; and to derive the major source of one’s income from this type of work. However, there is a special category of extraordinary membership. Employees of journalists, owners and co-owners of media with majority shares can be extraordinary members of SSN, if they are active as journalists. In addition, “publicists“ can also be extraordinary members of the SSN. SSN is (formally) more strict than other organisations in conditioning its continuous membership on permanent journalistic activity. For example, a member (with exception of retired members) who does not have a justifiable reason for not being actively participating in journalistic activity, and this can be proven, may lose its membership status. It should be mentioned that after recent parliamentary elections in Poland some Polish journalists declared their interest to become members of SSN.

The Slovak Section of the European Association of Journalists was launched in 2009. It is a very small organisation, an elite club of journalists with cosmopolitan or at least European perspectives, with about fifty members only.

The SAN was established around the year 2000. However, this association is no longer really active, considering that its last congress was held in 2007 and its last public statement was made in 2012.