Great expectations: On experiences with media reform in post-socialist Europe (and some unexpected outcomes)
The chapter examines the problems resulting from employing the perspective of media reform in relation to the development of post-socialist media systems in Central and Eastern Europe. The perspective of media reform is normatively rooted both in normative value expectations and in narrow focus on regulatory success, ahistorical and descriptive. The chapter substitutes this approach with the media systems approach, which allows for a broader analysis of media system dimensions in their historical context, as well as in terms of their relationship to each other. Several examples of failed reforms, a consequence of the misunderstanding of the media system and the misfit with the type of regulatory model employed, are examined. The chapter finally questions whether the relationships between main media system dimensions are still valid in conditions of digital networked media and increased media commercialization. As one example of this it questions the present “health” of the normatively expected relationship between journalistic professionalism and the market-oriented media in terms of the contemporary developments in “predatory” media and citizen journalism.