(C)overt controls: evaluating media systems in post-authoritarian democracies

Karas, David Patrick
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University of Delaware
The past quarter century has brought about significant waves of change for the nations of Central and Eastern Europe as Communism waned as the region's dominant political ideology. Paramount to these transitions - as well as the success of the democratic governments that have come to replace their authoritarian predecessors - has been the role of press systems in informing citizens and holding government, and governmental officials, accountable to the respective publics they serve. The case of Romania is no exception, though the nation's sudden and violent revolution in 1989 and indecision and uncertainty that came in the years following it makes the nation an interesting case study for oft-dramatic post-authoritarian development. Through a series of semi-structured interviews, this thesis considers the Romanian news media as an example of press systems in Central and Eastern Europe in the context of traditional journalism theory, with the goal of addressing whether these primarily western-rooted bodies of theory account for the complexities of the press and its development in post-authoritarian democracies.