Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Northern & Eastern Europe

by Katia Ratkovich, Emily Thorpe, and Susan Kim

The North Atlantic Model or Liberal Model

The North Atlantic model, also known as the Liberal model, focuses on the similarities and differences of media in Great Britain, the United States, Canada and Ireland through the lenses of various different media topics, such as the development of mass media circulation, political parallelism, professionalism, the role of the state and governance in broadcasting.

Media circulation became more prevalent due to various laws and acts that suppressed media from getting out. For example, the Sedition act of 1794, which stated that it was a crime to publish anything that would tear down the federal government boosted circulation. Another noteworthy event that aided in circulation was the commercial revolution, which began in the 1830s. Commercialization meant expanded circulations, and the development of newspaper companies from being “small-scale enterprises” to “highly profitable businesses” (Hallin & Mancini, 203). This development transformed the political role of the press, as these newspaper companies were no longer financially dependent. Through the proliferation of commercialization also came independent journalism, which “marked the rise of the editor as a full-fledged player in the political game, instead of a politicians’ tool” (204). Through the commercialization of newspapers, the editors were able to relay their political views and also cater to particular political parties.

Political parallelism discusses the development and discourse regarding political neutrality. Commercial press in the US and Britain paved the way towards “fact-centered discourse” (207) and therefore led to the development of accurate factual reporting while maintaining a more neutral stance.

Throughout the newspaper industry’s growth, the issue of professionalization has risen. Professionalization is the associated with the notion of objectivity. In order to teach professionalism, schools have opened journalism programs. Also, newspaper companies have heightened the requirements an individual must have in order to be selected to write for their paper. Professionalism means different things in different places. In America, professionalism means to be objective, while some British still feel that professionalism can be maintained while relaying a certain political opinion.

Even though the liberal countries pride themselves on having minimal state intervention in its media, the role of the state cannot be disregarded. Despite some differences in each country, the state is responsible to the regulation of media. Also related to this issue is broadcast governance, through which several outlets of media feel pressured by politicians to adhere to their wishes.

The development of these liberal countries can be described through various elements such as Moderate Pluralism, Majoritarianism and Rational-legal authority.

Example of political bias in Fox News: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDR47EKTrCQ

The Enlarged Audio-Visual Europe: The Many Faces of Europeanization- Hedwig de Smaele

During 1945-1989, “Europe” essentially referred to “western Europe” but after the fall of the Berlin Wall, central and eastern post-communist countries joined the EU. These countries subsequently underwent a process termed “Europeanization”, which refers to the influence of EU membership on

the “domestic policies and practices of old and new Member States”. This article analyzes how these policies influenced the audio-visual field in the enlarged Europe (1).

Europeanization occurred in central and Eastern Europe, just as it had in Western Europe. However, Eastern Europe was different, as these territories had recently and rapidly transitioned from communist to post-communist states rendering them “more readily receptive to regulatory paradigms than the EU’s Member states” (15). The EU capitalized on the fact that the Eastern European countries were readily willing to comply with EU policies, allowing them a “license to involve itself in domestic policy-making to a degree unprecedented in the current member states.” This could be an advantage for Eastern Europe concerning their advancement politically, economically, and socially. Yet, it could also be regarded as detrimental to Eastern Europe’s progression.

Concerning media, the EU established policies via audio-visual legislation, funding, and implementing conditions for participation granted “on the basis of progression in the legislative alignment process” by the European Commission (16).

Besides new political and economic systems, Eastern European countries developed new medias systems and laws influenced by their alliance with the West. However, these laws were continuously amended based on the need to “adapt the different national legislation” established by the EU.

“The concepts of European market, European identity, and European culture are difficult ideas for countries that only recently regained national markets, national identities, and national culture” (17). These countries are still developing their respective identities that other EU members have had hundreds of years to refine rendering it difficult to establish themselves under the pressures of Europeanization.

Alongside Europeanization, cultural diffusion through media played a significant role in the development of the post-communist countries (16). Despite the EU’s attempt to encourage “European Identity”, media tends to remain a nationally produced and distributed entity (17).

Culturally, historically, and politically, Western and Eastern Europe have numerous differences. However, they are developing “commonalities” as Eastern Europe exchange its former monopoly in broadcasting to “dual systems comprising both state and private television…while at the same time governments maintain an important regulatory and supportive (financing) role)” (19).

Example of dubbed American cartoon in Romanian: http://www.youtube.com/watchv=wBRl6iX3j6I&feature=related

The North/Central European or Democratic Corporatist Model- Hallin and Mancini

The term “Democratic Corporatist” means that the media is controlled by large interest groups which strive to represent information equally. The Countries which make up the “Democratic Corporatist” category are: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Belgium is not fully considered to be Democratic Corporatist. These countries are grouped together not only geographically, but they are also known for their high levels of newspaper circulation and freedoms of the press. These common histories lead to certain characteristics, termed as “coexistences” (144), which are a High degree of political parallelism, a high level of journalistic professionalization or a commitment to a common public interest, and the role of the state in media. The Democratic Corporatist are separated from the Liberals through these “coexistences”.

This region developed literacy on a wide scale early on due to the Protestant Reformation(151). Protestants were encouraged to read and understand the Bible, thus promoting critical thinking and reading, two interests which support a strong print media system. With the high literacy of the population and the Protestant ideal of free knowledge, the media in North and Central European Countries developed with a strong sense of Freedom of the Press. These Freedoms allows for journalists to write on controversial issues, participation of citizens in political life and the free flow of information (147). Local Patriotism is based off a high level of civic involvement of the people; due to their pride and involvement, these people wanted local newspapers and media outlets. The Democratic Corporatist medias are self governed by a Press Council.

The medias of Central and Northern Europe were often pillarized. Pillars were separated based on religious denominations and each Pillar had their own media outlets. This is also known as segmented pluralism (151). Later, larger media conglomerates were created and some new public interest newspapers were formed, tabloids. The tabloids of the Democratic Corporatists were not as sensational as those of Britain, they are aimed at a more educated reader. When the circulation of newspapers hit 100% of the population in Denmark newspapers began to diversify to gain readers from other newspapers. This new diversified paper is called an “Omnibus” (159). With the growth of the omnibus, the North and Central European Governments subsided

smaller or more unique papers, hoping to keep the political parallelism alive.

Norwegian tabloid has "substantial cultural coverage, they actually have a higher educational level than newspapers readers in general" (Hallin and Mancini 159). http://www.dagbladet.no/

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