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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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1 Polish journalists and their professional culture


The starting point for analysis of the participation of media in politics, reflected in media coverage of political actors and political issues, is journalistic professionalism and its professional culture. These two concepts –ʽjournalistic professionalismʼ and ʽjournalistic cultureʼ -are crucial to an understanding of the mutual relations between two powerful elements of the process of political communication (Dobek-Ostrowska, 2004:60–62). Media content is the result of a process, invisible to the audience, of negotiations between political actors and the media. All journalistic output, be it an editorial article in a newspaper or a single news item in a television information program, reflects the power, autonomy, and the level of control over it, of each of the participants of the process. Let us therefore consider the assets of journalists and the media, as well as their weaknesses in the relations with political actors.

Hallin and Mancini (2004, 2012), in their comparative studies pay enormous attention to issues of journalistic professionalism, which they assess to be very high in the model of Democratic Corporatism (especially in Nordic countries), as well as in the Liberal Model, but which is by contrast, low in the Polarized Pluralism model observed in Southern European countries (see Fig. 1.1). Using the research tools employed by the authors of Comparing Media Systems, such as the indicators of professionalism: journalistic autonomy, professional norms, public service, media instrumentalization, and the concept of journalistic culture developed by Hanitzsch (2007), we will attempt to position journalistic professionalism in...

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