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Is the Fourth Estate Becoming the First?

Author(s): Ani Dimitrova
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences, Social Sciences, Media studies, Political Theory, Political Sciences, Communication studies, Political behavior
Published by: Институт по философия и социология при БАН
Keywords: media; Fourth Estate; power;

Summary/Abstract: With the development of public relations and technology, the question arises more and more often whether the media, which provide the most dynamic opportunity for communication between state bodies and citizens, have not replaced the formally established three authorities that form the basis of any democratic society. The metaphor “Fourth Estate” most clearly shows the need for independent control, on behalf of the public, over the other three powers – the judicial, legislative and executive. Thus, it is important to note that information campaigns designed to manipulate public opinion with false or misleading social media posts have become a standard political practice.The media are called upon to be an objective corrective and an expression of the public interest, even if this may bring about political change. An emblematic example of this is the research and revelations of two Washington Post journalists (Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein), who provoked the Watergate scandal and led to US President Nixon's resignation in 1974.Today, the Fourth Estate has more power than ever to be a mediator possessing access to the authorities and the people it must serve. An example of this are the recent US presidential elections. But the Fourth Estate is also an indicator of truth in today's digital society, where news spreads in seconds and the social media raise the question as to whether it is possible to control information without affecting its truthfulness and reliability. The question is, are the media and technological giants not actually the new rulers and the foremost power ?!

  • Issue Year: XXX/2021
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 136-143
  • Page Count: 8
  • Language: Bulgarian