Professionalization of Post-Communist Journalists Cover Image

Profesionalizácia postkomunistických novinárov
Professionalization of Post-Communist Journalists

Author(s): Andrej Školkay
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Sociologický ústav - Slovenská akadémia vied
Keywords: Professionalization; journalist; democratic transition process

Summary/Abstract: Professionalization of Post-Communist Journalists. This article defines professionalism and analyzes the degree of professionalization of the media elites in post-communist Czecho-Slovakia before and after the break-up of the Federal Republic. It argues that unprofessional behavior on the part of Czech, Slovak and foreign journalists contributed to the break-up of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. This paper also argues that many former communist journalists who were dismissed from the Communist Party after the failure of the 1968 Prague Spring hindered the democratic transition process. However, the aim of this article is to dispel the direct and overwhelming responsibility attributed by the leading politicians of the day to the journalists for bringing about the transition from Czechoslovakia to independent Slovakia. More specifically, it argues that there was no conspiracy among journalists but rather a lack of real professionalism, especially on the part of the Slovak journalists. Among the politicians, there was a lack of understanding of the work of the media in a democracy. There were too many additional contradictory factors involved which influenced the performance of journalists. These are mentioned at the end of this paper. The two most important ones are: lack of experience with populist politics and the concept of objectivity. The concept of objectivity lead in fact to pseudo objectivity. It gave room for populist dicourse and successful agenda-setting by some politicians. There was a need to tackle contradictory issues: to offer moderate but conditional support for the new government, to be impartial and play the role of a watch dog, to apply a new style of interpretive news reporting. However, this dilemma was difficult to reconcile for both Czech and Slovak journalists.

  • Issue Year: 1998
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 311-336
  • Page Count: 26
  • Language: English