Media Democratization in Russia and Eurasia

By Rollberg, Peter | Demokratizatsiya, Spring 2014 | Go to article overview

Media Democratization in Russia and Eurasia


Rollberg, Peter, Demokratizatsiya


The complicated and often contradictory process of democratization in Russia and Eurasia is both dependent on and reflected by the transformation of these countries' mass media. As print and electronic media are essential factors in a functioning civil society, they often represent embattled territory within the post-Soviet space. The violent deaths of over 30 journalists in the past decade--the cases of Georgy Gongadze in Ukraine in 2000 and of Anna Politkovskaya in Russia in 2006 made worldwide headlines--drastically demonstrate the significance attributed to media in post-Soviet societies.

There is scholarly consensus that post-Soviet media, particularly the dominant medium, television, have "helped to re-consolidate elite power rather than empower citizens." (1) What is subject to debate is the question of what societal elements facilitate and constrain the independence and freedom of media, especially television, which has remained the most influential medium in these countries. What role do market forces play in the process of media democratization, and how do state structures regulate, suppress, or use them? What degree of informational pluralism has been achieved in the newly independent republics? What are the prospects for transparency and the participation of civil society in Russian and Eurasian media?

Using the four fundamental models proposed by Siebert et al. (2), it can be assumed that post-Soviet media underwent an evolution from a Social Responsibility model that had emerged in the last years of perestroika and glasnost and matured in the first post-communist phase, to an Authoritarian model that was forcefully implemented in the early 2000s. However, the classification requires some fine-tuning: even in the most liberal years of glasnost, Soviet media retained essential features of what Siebert called "the Soviet model," and even in the most intrusive years of the Putin presidency (2002-2003, after 2012), the Authoritarian model contains libertarian and consumer-driven features. Scholarly research on post-Soviet media was in high demand in the late 1990s and in the first years of the new millennium; the number of media-focused publications indicates that this field was seen as a promising one. However, in recent years, a noticeable disillusionment in the emancipative potential of mass media has gained ground among scholars. Media in post-Soviet societies are a moving target, influenced by technological, geopolitical, and cultural developments. That makes it hard, if not impossible, to arrive at a lasting analytical consensus about the post-Soviet media sphere, whether in regards to Russia, which keeps dominating its "near abroad" through media, or Ukraine and Belarus--one in turmoil, the other frozen--or in the Republic of Georgia. Even the applied common terminology requires refinement and adjustment depending on each case within a certain time frame--thus, the exact meaning of notions such as "censorship" or "self-censorship" can no longer be taken for granted since the terms originated from totalitarian society models. Equally problematic is the undifferentiated usage of the notion of "transition" from authoritarianism toward democracy, which has dominated the academic discourse on media for many years. As Tina Burrett has observed, the "continued application of the transition paradigm creates a false dichotomy. (...) The frustration that analysts express over the democratic deficit in the Russian media system must be replaced with realistic, empirically grounded expectations about the trajectory of political development in contemporary Russia. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Media Democratization in Russia and Eurasia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.