What happens when a whole country's online media goes behind a paywall?

Slovakia has become the first country to erect a paywall that encompasses nearly all of its main media outlets.

Since 2 May users have been asked to pay a flat fee of €2.90 (£2.57) that entitles them to access to all nine news sites under the scheme.

The paywall is the brainchild of Tomas Bella, former editor of the country's leading broadsheet, SME.

He is now chief executive of Piano Media, the Bratislava-based consultancy that will orchestrate the operation.

Bella tried to initiate a paywall during his time at SME but the project failed.

His company will now control access to SME as well as the country's oldest daily Pravda, a business broadsheet, a sports daily and a weekly news magazine among others.

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