Post-socialist self-censorship: Russia, Hungary and Latvia

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Series Details Volume 35, Number 1, Pages 29-45
Publication Date February 2020
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Abstract :

This article argues that today in Central and Eastern Europe self-censorship, journalistic freedom and autonomy are just as severely affected by economic constraints, oligarchic influences and new authoritarianism as they are by their Communist pasts. Either way, journalists know exactly what to report, what to omit and how to advance their careers. This is reminiscent of adekvatnost’; a distinct strategy employed by Russian journalists, who regard this skill as an expression of professionalism. It implies having a ‘feel for the game’ and the ‘right instinct’, which allows them to enjoy a certain level of freedom in their work and express their creativity. The authors’ interviews with Latvian and Hungarian journalists, editors and producers examined the extent to which adekvatnost’ might be a feature of journalism beyond Russia, in particular when a media system faces rising populism and authoritarianism, paired with oligarch-dominated ownership. As such, knowledge gained about journalistic practices in the countries under investigation might also be useful in understanding media development beyond the post-Communist space, including Western Europe.

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