CEJC Volume 8, No 1 (14), Spring 2015

Editor: Michał Głowacki, Guest Editor: Romy Wöhlert

Guest Editor’s introduction 

Romy Wöhlert (Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt & Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria)

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Variations in media freedom: Why do some governments in Central and Eastern Europe respect media freedom more than other ones?

Péter Bajomi-Lázár (Budapest Business School, Hungary)

ABSTRACT: It is argued in this paper that the relative deficit of media freedom in most of Central and Eastern Europe as opposed to the relative freedom of the media in most of Western Europe is ultimately rooted in the specificities of the former communist countries’  party systems. Young parties in young democracies lack the resources needed for party building and organization, which they compensate for by colonizing the state and the media and by exploiting state and media resources; party colonization of the media necessarily inhibits media freedom. It is further argued that temporal and spatial variations in media freedom in and across Central and Eastern Europe are explained by different patterns of media colonization. The more centralized the governing party’s or parties’ decision-making structures, the greater the likelihood of one-party colonization, and the more fragmented the governing party’s or parties’ decision-making structures, the lesser the likelihood of such colonization; one-party colonization of the media leads to lower levels of media freedom than multi-party colonization. In other words, the weaker the government, the more freedom the media have.

KEYWORDS: clientelism, media capture, media freedom, party colonization of the media, party systems, state capture

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Economic foundations of morality: Questions of transparency and ethics in Russian journalism

Anna Klyueva (University of Houston-Clear Lake, USA) and Katerina Tsetsura (University of Oklahoma, USA)

ABSTRACT: This study examines the questions of ethics and transparency in Russian journalism. The paper explains instances of non-transparent behavior among Russian journalists in light of economic hardship that Russian journalists in the province face in their everyday life. Specifically, this study attempts to explicate the connection between transparency, journalism ethics, and economic and social conditions in which regional journalists function in Russia. This paper argues that morality may depend on economic conditions of an individual and poor economic conditions tend to diminish human dignity. In turn, diminished human dignity more readily puts in jeopardy professional ethical principles and contributes to non-transparent media practices. Poor economic conditions have impli- cations for regional journalism practice in Russia, where they create a vicious circle which Russian journalists fail to break.

KEYWORDS: Russia, regional journalism, transparency, ethics, economic dependency, human dignity

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Value orientation and national identity in Russia: A media effect study on the Holocaust documentary “Night and Fog”

Jürgen Grimm (University of Vienna, Austria)

ABSTRACT: After the disintegration of the USSR, nation states formed which until today struggle for value orientation and collective identities. Especially the Russian identity seems heterogeneous and partially correlating with in-group vs. out-group stereotypes. The question arises how historical media communications can shape values and identity in Russia. In particular the breach of civilization by the Holocaust, as central element of European memory culture, offers manifold references. Guiding the research is the model of ‘Multidimensional-Imparting-of-History’ (MIH) which includes empirical indices of (humanitarian) values, national identity as well as European and Asian identification. A media effect experiment carried out with young Russian subjects (Moscow, 2012, N = 192) shows that the reception of a Holocaust documentary has limited humanizing effects. Identity-building was ambivalent. Apart from a partial increase in nationalistic attitudes, there was predominantly an increase in cosmopolitism. The findings in Russia are compared with results of similar studies in Austria, Germany and Israel.

KEYWORDS: Holocaust, terrifying images, communicating history, national identity, values

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Al Jazeera in the Central European media: 9/11 and the “Arab Spring” compared

Jaromir Hanzal (Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic), Ákos Balogh (Hungary), Michalina Guzikowska (University of Warsaw, Poland) and Gabriela Mezeiova (Media Academy, Slovakia)

ABSTRACT: This article presents a study of Al Jazeera perceptions in Central European print media based on a quantitative content analysis. The research compares two year-long periods, which cover the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the ‘Arab Spring’ two sets of events that drove global attention to the region of Middle East and North Africa and beyond. Building on previous research in this field, the authors analysed 94 different newspapers for perceived affiliations to terrorism, using Al Jazeera as a source of information or the structure of genres in texts mentioning the station among other variables. Special emphasis is put on the case of Libyan revolutionary events.

KEYWORDS: Al Jazeera, 9/11, ‘Arab Spring,’ print content, Central Europe, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Libya

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Texts soaked with culture: The impact of cultural differences on the thematic structure of British and Polish national dailies

Anna Zięba (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland)

ABSTRACT: This paper examines the thematic structure of written media texts published in two national Polish and British dailies, namely Gazeta Wyborcza and The Guardian. The investigation, based on traditional content analysis methods, includes over a thousand articles published between January 14, 2010 and February 10, 2010. The analysis of data includes a study of frequency of occurrence of individual topics. Results are interpreted with reference to Hofstede’s 5D model and Hall’s division of societies into high-context and low-context cultures. The investigation reveals significant correlation between the frequency of occurrence of individual topics and cultural patterns characteristic to na- tional culture, especially in the dimensions of uncertainty avoidance and individualism vs. collectivism. It is argued that the results of the study support a belief that culture wields an influence on language. The author concludes that the impact that culture has on language in press starts at the level of news values the criteria of prominence of media texts.

KEYWORDS: intercultural communication, cultural differences, thematic structure of press news, dimensions of culture, high-context, low-context

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Risk perception and political alienism: Political discourse on the future of nuclear energy in Hungary

Gábor Sarlós (ELTE Budapest, Hungary)

ABSTRACT: This article analyzes political narratives of the discourse on the future use of nuclear energy in Hungary. In light of the January 2014 parliamentary decision to expand Hungarian nuclear energy production capacity with Russian technology and financing, the article examines parliamentary addresses of the period 2010-2013 to identify and interpret characteristics and changes in nuclear narratives of parliamentary parties and the government. The content analysis includes identification of framing, characteristics of choice of language, realization of risk and of benefit oriented speaking patterns, and the assessment of power relations between the political actors. The article argues that the nuclear communication strategies of political parties show distinct approaches: f u l l f r o n t approach to include nuclear aspects of all possible issues, avoidance that attempts not taking sides in this issue, and re-direction that, within the nuclear framing, places a focus on other aspects with the purpose to re-define the dominant framing and to rule the discourse. Risk awareness patterns range from comprehensive to occasional, selective and latent risk perception structures. The Risk Perception Index, comprehending levels of risk and benefit perception, can serve as a model to measure, in numeric terms, the support or critique of the nuclear agenda.

KEYWORDS: nuclear energy, power relations, risk perception, discourse analysis

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Contextualizing media behavior: Media environments and individuals? media use in the European Union

Matthew Loveless (University of Kent, United Kingdom)

ABSTRACT: Individuals in ‘freer’ media environments are assumed to have better choices among media and are thus able to make better and more efficient use of media. Using the European Parlia- mentary Elections of 2009 as a highly visible political event, we find that, as expected, individuals use media to satisfy informational needs about the elections in highly ‘free’ media environments (Hallin & Mancini, 2004). In addition, we find strong prima facie evidence that in ‘less free’ media environments distinguished by the strong alignment of parties, social and political cleavages, and media outlets individuals also respond with higher information-seeking media behavior. For comparative media studies, by linking specific media environments to specific individual-level media behaviors, where media is used tells us more about how media is used.

KEYWORDS: media, political communication, European Union, political behavior, media effects, democracy

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Educating citizens to EU: How policies and communication strategies are implementing in Italy

Lucia D’Ambrosi (University of Macerata, Italy)

ABSTRACT: How to reinforce relationships between European institutions and citizens?Which actions should be carried out to promote European communication? These are the main questions our article intends to respond to, examining the most significant steps that involved the European Union’s communication policies up to the 2014 European Parliament elections. Among the crucial matters of this paper, we focus on the Italian context about the necessity to realize a strategy of integrated communication able to involve European Institutions altogether with national and local ones, and to make citizens knowledgeable about the European Union’s policies.

KEYWORDS: European communication, media, participation, European identity, Active Citizenship

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Interview with prof. Andrei Richter: Media freedom in Central and Eastern Europe

Social, political and economic changes experienced by Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries generated a plethora of new problems which are typical to young democracies. Twenty-five years after the abolition of censorship in the majority of CEE states, we pose questions on the current challenges to media freedom in a selection of national cases. Professor Andrei Richter elaborates on the notion of media freedom and the ways in which media freedom might be measured and analyzed in the context of online media and the development of ‘Open Journalism’?

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Book reviews

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Notes on contributors

Referees: Petra Aczél, Małgorzata Adamik-Szysiak, Maria Anikina, Domagoj Bebić, Svetlana Bodrunova, Ludmila Bolotova, Tomasz Gackowski, Anna Gladkova, Ilona Grzywińska, Halliki Harro-Loit, Dorka Horváth, Agnieszka Hess, Andres Joesaar, Elena Johansson, Kristina Juraite, Anna Kalinowska-Żeleźnik, Jenena Kleut, Katarzyna Kon- arska, Vasyl Kucherenko, Michał Kuś, Anna Litvinenko, Sylwia Męcfal, Natalia Milewski, Antonio Momoc, Madalina Moraru, Dana Mustata, Ewa Nowak, Svetlana Pasti, Judith Pies, Lilia Raycheva, Anda Rožukalne, Natalya Ryabinska, Andra Seleceanu, Andrej Školkay, Dusan Spasojevic, Václav Štětka, Robert Szwed, Adam Szynol, Daria Taradai, Ülle Toode, Lenka Waschkova Cisarova, Agnieszka Węglińska, Lenka Vochocova, Bissera Zankova 

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