Since gaining independence in 1991, Slovenia has completely put in place all democratic institutions of state organisation, mostly undergone major capital rearrangements (privatisation, liberalisation, denationalisation) and achieved both of the starting objectives of new international involvement together with fulfilment of their criteria (entering the EU and NATO). Authors were motivated to write this book by the recognition that these days there are more calls for research to examine the actual behaviour of democratic institutions of state regulation, to ascertain their relationship and openness to citizens and their initiatives and check the possibilities of civil society forming policies. The book presents Slovenia’s constitutional regulation, as well as the organisation and actions of Slovenian authority. The description of the country’s democratic development highlights the democratic deficits and considers the possibilities of future development.
Coordination of public communication has become a key issue in management of complex emergencies, and is a matter of debate between nuclear emergency management professionals. A particular problem is when inconsistent information is sent to the media and public by official sources from different levels, which has led to calls for a more coordinated approach. The IAEA created guidelines recommending a one-voice communication approach that provides clear, consistent and coordinated information by relevant stakeholders. The reviewed theory on the emergency communication coordination and the empirical results in this paper demonstrate some challenges regarding the feasibility of the above stated goal. This paper explores the communication process in the two-month period of the Fukushima nuclear emergency by using a quantitative comparative content and discourse analysis of 1340 printed media articles on the Fukushima nuclear disaster from two major newspapers in Spain (“El País” and “El Mundo”), Italy (“Corriere della Sera” and “La Repubblica”), Norway (“Aftenposten” and “Dagsavisen”), Slovenia (“Delo” and “Večer”), Belgium (“Le Soir” and “De Standaard”) and Russia (“Komsomolskaya Pravda” and “Izvestiya”). The results show that it will be difficult to achieve a truly coordinated approach and one-voice communication in severe nuclear and radiological emergency due to the communication difficulties created by the dispersion of information sources, a broad and dispersed focus of the reported information, partially subjective and conflicting media reporting. The paper suggests ways to improve public communication coordination in nuclear and radiological disasters.
Trust in institutions is an important issue of political science and sociology. This article contributes to the discussion by exploring public trust in the military at the global, regional and national levels, and the causes of trust and distrust in the military. Analyses of public opinion data reveal that the military is a highly trusted social institution across the world. In Slovenia, the trust in the military is high as well; however, it is lower than international data would suggest, averaging at 50%. Against this background, the article focuses on the causes of trust. The original empirical survey was accomplished and shows that the most significant causes of a high level of trust in the military are its frequent and successful involvement in disaster relief, its professional qualifications and high performance, as well as its national defense role. Whereas the key causes of distrust are: the poor levels of transparency in its procurement process; the politicization of the military and organizational problems.
Any activity that might result in exposure of a population to contaminants requires communication of the associated risks. This communication is complicated by several factors including public perceptions, distrust, uncertainties in risk assessment and news media. These factors are especially prominent in communication of risks from ionizing radiation. A number of guidelines about the communication of risks related to radiation exposures have been made by national and international authorities and other stakeholders. The present paper investigates whether those guidelines were followed and evaluates how the radiation risk related information was presented in European newspapers and Russia in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident. It examines the use of measurement units and risk comparisons, the quality of the statements on radiation risk related issues and the use of visual materials in 1340 newspaper articles from Belgium, Italy, Norway, Russia, Slovenia and Spain. Our results indicated several misinterpretations and misrepresentations of radiological risks in the newspaper articles. We also show an inconsistency in the information that was reported with advice provided to risk communicators (e.g. authorities and experts) in the guidelines. The results suggest that risk communicators should improve their communication practices regarding radiological risks, in order to improve emergency management response.
The paper analyses the autonomy of Slovenian municipalities toward the central government. Slovenia is one of the very few countries in the European Union with a one-tier local government system, and while levels of local democracy have been on the rise for the last two decades, relations between the state on the one side and local units (municipalities) on the other has slowly deteriorated, especially over questions of municipal competencies, central oversight and the local financing of local communities. While Slovenia ratified the European Charter on Local Government in 1996, the charter was never fully implemented, as the subsidiarity principle was never fully implemented by the state. The paper will analyse the issue of local autonomy with special emphasis on the three mentioned topics, using primary and secondary sources as well as empirical data from several opinion polls conducted among stakeholders from national and local authorities.