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Media and Politics in New DemocraciesEurope in a Comparative Perspective$
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Jan Zielonka

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747536.001.0001

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The Rise of Oligarchs as Media Owners

The Rise of Oligarchs as Media Owners

(p.85) 6 The Rise of Oligarchs as Media Owners
Media and Politics in New Democracies

Václav Štětka

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the contemporary developments in media ownership in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and outlines their implications for the quality of journalism and democracy. Following a brief overview of the recent wave of departures of many foreign investors from the region, the chapter turns to the rise of a new type of media proprietors: local business tycoons or oligarchs, most of whom are directly involved in politics. The ‘oligarchic model’ of media ownership is then explored, which has, in many CEE countries, significantly marginalized the Western-type commercial model aimed at generating profit. In contrast to that, media investment by financial elites is merely a strategy for gaining political and business influence. The chapter argues that the diminishing of structural autonomy of news media not only compromises their ability to fulfil their ascribed democratic roles, but also contributes to increasing separation of CEE media systems from their Western counterparts.

Keywords:   media ownership, oligarchs, instrumentalisation, editorial autonomy, Central and Eastern Europe

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