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Polish Media System in a Comparative Perspective

Media in Politics, Politics in Media


Bogusława Dobek-Ostrowska

A media system does not exist in a vacuum. It develops and grows within social, political and economic systems. They interact with and influence one another, as well as stimulate each other’s development. The main subject of this work is the dynamically evolving Polish media system, which is under the influence of institutions and external stakeholders. Thanks to this, it is easier to understand that the "crossroads" is not only a problem of the Polish media system, but a global one. For this reason, a comparative perspective is employed. Three chapters help to provide an answer to research questions dedicated to political parallelism and journalistic professionalization. The analysis would be limited and unrepresentative if the book enclosed it with one country's border, omitting the broad global, European and Centro-European context.

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Media systems as a matter of research

The category of ʽmedia systemʼ is one of the most well known and most widely applied in the field of communication studies. Although the term itself was coined by Parson in 1937, it permanently became part of the terminology of social sciences only thanks to Deutsch (1966) and Easton (1965). The authors were the first to use a system analysis approach in their research on politics, which they saw as a system or complex structure, whose elements are interconnected and mutually influence each other. All political processes are carried out within this framework, positions and roles related to power are exercised there, and the authority of government is enforced. Institutional features, such as standards, values, principles, development rules, etc. appear and improve there. The political system does not exist in a vacuum. It develops and grows within a social system, and alongside it, other systems emerge, such as economic or media ones. They are all tightly interconnected, they interact and influence one another, as well as stimulate each other’s development (see Fig. 1).

The media system concept

The system approach very quickly found supporters in communication studies. Newcomb’s (1953) model (Dobek-Ostrowska, 2007:95) lay at the heart of the system approach in communicology, thus creating the foundations for other models that soon began to snowball in science. In the beginning researchers started with simple schemes which were supposed to explain the process of interpersonal communication....

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