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Party Colonisation of the Media
in Central and Eastern Europe

Péter Bajomi-Lázár

This book compares media and political systems in East-Central as well as in Western Europe in order to identify the reasons possibly responsible for the extensive and intensive party control over the media. This phenomenon is widely experienced in many of the former communist countries since the political transformation. The author argues that differences in media freedom and in the politicization of the news media are rooted in differences in party structures between old and new democracies, and, notably, the fact that young parties in the new members of the European Union are short of resources, which makes them more likely to take control of and to exploit media resources.

The book takes a closer look at five former communist countries (Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia) to explain variations in media freedom and the politicization of the news media in and across countries. It offers general country descriptions as well as detailed case studies of the media policies and party backgrounds of two governments in each country.

Péter Bajomi-Lázár is Head of the Institute of Social Sciences at the Budapest Business School. He worked between 2009 and 2013 as a Senior Research Fellow on Media and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe, a European Research Council project based at Oxford University.

Contents: Acknowledgements
1. Political and Media Systems in Central and Eastern Europe
1 1.1. Media Freedom in Central and Eastern Europe 1.2. Conditions for Media Freedom 1.3. Theories of Media Capture 1.4. Party Colonisation of the Media 1.5. Party Colonisation and Media Freedom 1.6. Further Specifications 1.7. Normative Implications 1.8. Methodological Notes
2. Hungary
2.1. The Political and Media Landscapes 2.2. Media Policy under the Horn Government 2.3. Media Policy under the Second Orbán Government 2.4. The Horn Government vs. the Second Orbán Government
3. Bulgaria
3.1. The Political and Media Landscapes 3.2. Media Policy under the Kostov Government 3.3. Media Policy under the Simeon Government 3.4. The Kostov vs. the Simeon Governments
4. Poland
4.1. The Political and Media Landscapes 4.2. The Media Policy of the Miller–Belka Governments 4.3. The Media Policy of the Marcinkiewicz–Kaczyński Governments 4.4. The Miller–Belka vs. the Marcinkiewicz–Kaczyński Governments
5. Romania
5.1. The Political and Media Landscapes 5.2. Media Policy under the Năstase Government 5.3. Media Policy under the Tăriceanu Government 5.4. The Năstase vs. the Tăriceanu Governments
6. Slovenia
6.1. The Political and Media Landscapes 6.2. Media Policy under the Second Drnovšek Government 6.3. Media Policy under the first Janša Government 6.4. The Second Drnovšek vs. the First Janša Government
7. Summary and Conclusions: Veto Points in the System Appendices
Table 1. Freedom House press freedom indexes and ranking Table 2. List of interviewees Table 3. Composition of governments studied Table 4. Selected party systems indicators References
Index of names and places

290 pages, cloth
ISBN 978-963-386-041-0
$60.00 / €45.00 / 38.00

"This book draws on extensive field research in five countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia), and attempts to answer the two fundamental questions: Which parties, under what conditions, are more likely to colonize the media?, and which parties, under what conditions, are more likely to inhibit media freedom?
The narrative of this book and the examples presented prove that the east has long since caught up with the west—it introduced 'capitalism' that is more capitalistic than its western model, which is to say, more flexible, ruthless and wild.
The readers of this book will be able to form a clear picture of the media systems in the countries covered by the study, but they will have difficulty understanding why they are as they are. The concept of party colonization of the media, which is expected to elucidate the nature of the relation between the media and politics on the analytical level, calls for a supplementary argument. There is a word that perfectly describes the abuse of political, economic and/or media power and the hijacking of politics to satisfy private interests—that word is corruption.” - Slavic Review