New technologies are a challenge for participants of the political communication process—political actors, the mass media and voters. Politicians, political par- ties, organizations, governments and state institutions can address society direct- ly without mass media mediation. Citizens have obtained a strong instrument that helps them to be active in politics, to express their opinions and to formulate their expectations. The new channels of political communication limit the pow- erful role of the mass media successively, but this does not mean that their role will be reduced totally in the future. The traditional mass media still maintain an important position in politics. Nowadays, new technologies not only create new ways of communication, but also make election campaigns more sophisticated and detail targeted. The Internet and social media along with the rapid development of polling and many other methods of public opinion may be used by politicians during election campaigns. This is relevant both for old, well-developed democracies (the American exceptionalism model and the Western European model of election campaign) and for young, unstable democracies in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa (the new democracies model of election cam- paign). Current developments in the social, political and technological environ- ments of national media systems create a strong need for new empirical and comparative studies that may help to illuminate similarities and differences in political communication and the usage of new technologies in different parts of the world. All these problems are reflected in the fifteen chapters presented in...
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