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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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2 Mass media in the logic of political actors


Three main participants take part in political communication: political actors, the mass media and the public, each of them from a different position. The political actors and mass media are the stronger links of the process, and paradoxically, the public, who, according to the idea of trademocracy, should be in a dominant position are in practice the weaker link (Dobek-Ostrowska, 2007:163–164). The more developed the civil society and the richer the public sphere, the higher the quality of democracy and, thus, the greater the importance of the public – the electorate. However, in emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, there is a serious lack of democratic and civil values, which is reflected in a low level of political culture and which affects the condition of the political system. This chapter is dedicated to the dominating strong participant of political communication – the political actors, with a focus on their interactions with the media (Hallin and Mancini, 2004, 2012; Dobek-Ostrowska, 2012; Dobek-Ostrowska, 2015c). In this context, a fundamental question arises as to whether political parallelism has developed in Poland and how the state is regulating the media market. The issues central to our analysis are the connections between politics and the media, the perception of the media by the political actors and their policies, as well as strategies toward the media (the owners and journalists), i.e., the mechanisms and the practice of shaping relations with the media from the point of view of the political actors...

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