Central and Southeastern Europe in Transition: Perspectives on Success and Failure since 1989

By Hall Gardner | Go to book overview

new free media in establishing new democratic political culture and in reinforcing civil societies? The answer is not evident.

We must even say that a very rapid implementation of new marketplaces for media has not been favorable to the consolidation of civil societies. In many cases, the rules of market economy and the spirit of competition have contributed to the destruction of some of the elements of civil societies that had begun to emerge during the 1980s. In competition with great international media-groups, smaller local initiatives were often inexperienced and poor and could not resist. Some old, ambitious and intellectual publications have totally disappeared from the market, and other publications have lost their initial purpose because they had to take into account their readers' needs.

At the beginning of transition, media was seen as an important element of cultural and not political life--an important cultural good. Journalists then tried to reconstruct a new culture of information and to develop new ways of social communication. The principal question was to present information as thoroughly as possible and to develop critical views for the public.

Today, in a market economy, the media are seen as an economic product. The work of journalists is not very important. What is central, however, is the capacity to earn money, to sell more copies, and to reach a greater public.

I lived this experience when I was a correspondent for the daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza in Paris. During my four years there, I saw its evolution. At the beginning we were all idealistic. We thought that the Polish public was interested in all the important discussions and changes that had happened in France and in Western Europe. But quickly we discovered that it was not true. Thus, I was obliged to write articles about more peripheral issues, because it was more important to develop a headline or uncover a scoop rather than explain what was really happening in France.


NOTES
1.
Cf. Jacques Semelin, La liberté au bout des ondes ( Paris: Belfond, 1997).
2.
This is well described in the book of Tristan Mattellard who speaks about these media as "l'audio-visual Trojan horse." Cf. Tristan Mattelard, Le cheval de Troie audiovisuel--le rideau de fer à l'épreuve des radios et télévisions transfrontalières ( Grenoble: Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, 1995).
3.
Pawel Smolenski, Gazeta Wyborcza ( Paris: Noir sur Blanc, 1991).
4.
Cf. Marcin Frybes and Anne Nivat, "Le nouveau paysage médiatique à l'Est," L'Autre Europe no. 28/29 ( 1995).
5.
Henry F. Carey, "From Big Lie to Small Lies: State Mass Media Dominance in Post-Communist Romania", EEPS 10, no. 1 ( 1995), 16-45.
6.
Edith Oltay, "Hungary," RFE/RL Research Report Vol. 1 no. 39, October 1992, p. 41.
7.
Karol Jakubowicz, "Politicians Endanger Independence of Polish Public TV," in Transition no. 8, vol. 2, ( 1996), pp. 28-30.

-60-

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Central and Southeastern Europe in Transition: Perspectives on Success and Failure since 1989
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 in Search of East-Central Europe: Ten Years After 5
  • Notes 19
  • Chapter 2 the Balkans: A Distorted, Third World Reflection of Europe 21
  • Notes 28
  • Chapter 3 Rusty Ottoman Keys to the Balkans of Today 31
  • Notes 42
  • Chapter 4 the Role of Culture Under the Communist and Post-Communist Eras 43
  • Chapter 5 the Transformation of the Media in Post-Communist Central Europe 51
  • Notes 60
  • Chapter 6 the Media in Transition in Southern Central Europe 61
  • Notes 73
  • Chapter 7 a Balance of Economic Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe 75
  • Notes 92
  • Chapter 8 Ulysses and the Lotus Eaters 97
  • Notes 110
  • Chapter 9 Environmental Security and Civil Society 113
  • Notes 142
  • Chapter 10 the Genesis of Nato Enlargement and of War "Over" Kosovo 151
  • Introduction 151
  • Notes 181
  • Name Index 199
  • Subject Index 203
  • Contributors and Editors 209
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