DOI: https://doi.org/10.18523/kmhj219658.2020-7.73-100

Post-Communist Institution-Building and Media Control

Natalya Ryabinska

Abstract


This study uses an interdisciplinary perspective to shed light on Ukraine’s continuous problems with media independence, which to date have not allowed Ukraine to become a country with a truly free media: since Ukraine’s independence in 1991 its media have consistently remained only “partly free.” The approach proposed in the paper combines theoretical tools of post-communist media studies with advancements in political science research in regime change and state-building to explore the continuities and changes in the institutional environment for the media in post-communist new democracies. The approach is applied to analyze two cases of post-communist media change, both problematic to explain within the framework of media studies alone: the case of incomplete media transformation in a hybrid regime (Ukraine) and the incident of backsliding in independent media in an advanced new democracy (Hungary). The paper is structured as follows: I first present the shortcomings in the way institutions, or more specifically the institutional environment for media freedom, were previously approached in post-communist media studies. I then propose a more advanced approach based on theories and concepts originating from comparative-politics studies of regime change and state and institution-building. I apply this approach to analyze the institutional environment for the media in Ukraine. Next, I explore the case of a radical reconstruction of media-related institutions in Hungary after Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party came to power in 2010.

Keywords


Post-communist; media; enabling environment; institution-building; Ukraine

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References


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