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5.8 MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS, Journalism
Media assistance to the former communist countries of Eastern Europe from 1989 became an important part of the transformation of that part of Europe from a socialist command economy to a democratic, liberal market economy. The media was seen as an important ideological weapon of the previous regimes and so was to be transformed in order to change society. The exact amount of media aid is unknown, so much of it was hidden under such headings as aid to civil society and democracy building, but it is known to account for hundreds of millions of euro. Most was spent on specific training of working journalists, some was used to establish codes of conduct, or help legislators frame media laws. Some funding was used as loans to help establish new media enterprises. Mostly the model used was a training one, and the training was often given by working journalists, with a very specific view of their own profession and its importance to democracy. Usually the trainers had no knowledge of local languages, culture or its media. They believed they were tasked with bringing to Eastern Europe Western-style journalism, usually that associated with the English language presumption of impartiality and objectivity, usually personified as the New York Times and the BBC. One of the first projects to include the old journalism faculties in the staterun universities was a project aimed at professionalising the media in 4 Bulgaria, which was established as part of Bulgaria’s pre European Union entry programme. That project is at the centre of this thesis as an important case study, both as an example of how media development has worked and how it might develop. This thesis set out to establish whether working with the faculties that had been central to the old system of journalism education, and ignored by the new training, was a valuable and workable alternative to the training model which was being questioned by many involved in journalism and media training. The thesis offers an analysis of journalism and journalism education and training, places media development aid in its context, and analyses specifically the Bulgarian project, and its links with the university. It concludes that working with the existing faculties allows cultural mediation for Western aid and also works to help universities themselves to modernise.
Foley, M. (2010). The Press and Democracy Building: Journalism Education and Training in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe during Transition. Masters dissertation. Technological University Dublin. doi:10.21427/D7QK77