Between Challenge and Limitation : Blogging the Bulgarian Elections 2011

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för mediestudier


The constant change of the political, economic, cultural and environmental landscapes of global societies predetermined the upgrowth of the media, the journalistic writings and the blogging practices as a new way of “citizen journalism”. Political blogs are a quite new media phenomenon that gained popularity in the past few years in Bulgaria. Hence, there are limited theoretical case studies.  The lagging performance of Bulgaria in the last Reporters Without Borders Report 2011 together with the explicit recommendations of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) after the Presidential and Municipal Elections 2011 in terms of media policy, ownership and news coverage bring the question of limited freedom of speech and the emergence of the blogs as an alternative platform for expression into discussion. Two methods are used in this thesis: structured interviews with two different additional questions and Critical Discourse Analysis. The empirical material was gathered from interviews with 8 of the most influential bloggers in Bulgaria (5 of whom work as journalists) and through an analysis of the texts of their blog entries (2 articles per bloggers or 18 articles in total). The aim is to underline the possible limitations in the practice of freedom of speech in Bulgaria from the bloggers’ perspective and to show only major patterns of the social environment and the current discourse in Bulgaria. Among the main findings of this study are thаt the lack of clarity in the media ownership and the failure of the media to defend the public interest are alarming for the level of democracy. Moreover, the media dependence on power and lobbying circles, as well as the blurred boundary between politics and the media results in the media self-censhorship and thus are threatening for the democratic foundation in Bulgaria and the freedom of speech which is at its basis. This study confirms the thriving of the blogosphere as an alternative media platform. This paper aims to provide insights and policy recommendations for international media experts.

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