Reinventing Media: Media Policy Reform in East Central Europe

TitleReinventing Media: Media Policy Reform in East Central Europe
Publication TypeBook
EditorSukosd, Miklos, and Peter Bajomi-Lazar
PublisherCentral European University Press
Place of PublicationBudapest
SeriesCPS Books
Full Text

The emergence of democratic regimes in post-communist East Central Europe brought an end to institutionalized political censorship. In its place, the media found itself confronted by new and often complex challenges. The emerging political elite, for example, proved highly sensitive to critical coverage and very adept at finding ways to stifle investigative journalism. In some cases, governments exerted direct political pressure on both the commercial and public sector. While in several countries in the region public broadcasting has seemed to be caught in a state of permanent crisis. Within the media itself, there have been serious questions concerning minority representation, public access, and the development of professional standards. Frustrated by increasing commercialization and dilatory institutions, some have gone so far as to contest the freedoms they fought for during the years of communist subjugation. In the early 1990s, there were numerous calls for authoritative solutions. Most countries in the region reformed their media industries through broadcasting acts and yet, many problems still persist. The need for informed and imaginative debate is as strong as ever. This volume contains ten studies that explore the current situation of the media in East Central Europe. The first section, entitled Reinventing Media Systems, addresses the reform of public television; the application of European legal standards; government pressure on media institutions and markets; media developments in the post-war Balkans; and the coverage of the EU and NATO accession process. In part two, Minorities and Media Reform, chapters deal with questions of access and representation of minorities, with a specific focus on ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians, and the physically challenged. Each case study was written in the context of a potentially new generation of broadcasting acts. Besides analyzing the current challenges faced by the media, every chapter includes timely policy recommendations for reform. These findings are based on research carried out in 2000 and 2001 under the International Policy Fellowship Scheme, a program jointly administered by the Open Society Institute and the Center for Policy Studies from the Central European University.

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