Slovakia is a democratic republic with a multi-party parliamentary system. After the 1989 collapse of Communism, the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993 meant that Slovakia became an independent state. It is now a member of the EU and NATO.
Of the 18 registered churches in Slovakia, the Roman Catholic Church is the largest and 55.8% of the population identify as Roman Catholic. Other prominent religious institutions include the 5.3% Lutherans, 4.0% Greek Catholics, 1.6% Calvinists, 0.9% Orthodox. 23.8% of the population is non-religious.
The right to freedom of belief and religious (or non-religious) expression is outlined in the Constitution.
“The freedoms of thought, conscience, religion, and faith are guaranteed. This right also comprises the possibility to change one’s religious belief or faith. Everyone has the right to be without religious belief. Everyone has the right to publicly express his opinion.”
— Article 24(1), The Constitution of the Slovak Republic
The government has been criticized for policies that favour the Roman Catholic Church, and to a lesser extent other religious groups sizeable followings in Slovakia, over newer or minority religions or beliefs.
According to Article 423 of the Criminal Code, “Defamation of nation, race and belief”:
“Who defames publicly
a) any nation, its language, any race or ethnic group, or
b) a group of persons or an individual because of their real or supposed belonging to a certain race, nation, nationality, ethnic group, because of their real or supposed origin, skin color, religious belief or because they have no religion, shall be punished by imprisonment for one to three years.
(2) The offender shall be punished by imprisonment for two to five years if he commits the act referred to in paragraph 1
a) as a member of an extremist group,
b) as a public official, or
c) from a special motive.”
In 2020, an opinion writer was accused of defaming Catholics in a 2018 article in which he mocked and sharply criticized a Catholic priest, who is reportedly known for his radically conservative social views and links to the far-right. The charges were reportedly dropped later in the year.