From multinationals to business tycoons: media ownership and journalistic autonomy in Central and Eastern Europe

2016-09-08T13:39:16Z (GMT) by Vaclav Stetka
This article presents a comparative analysis of the changing patterns of media ownership in ten new EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and discusses the implications of these processes for media freedom and autonomy. Briefly outlining the history of internationalization of CEE media markets, it argues that the presence of Western-based multinational companies on the CEE media markets has been recently diminishing rather than further growing. In addition, a different type of actor has been gaining prominence on the CEE media map, unspotted or largely overlooked in most previous analyses, namely, local business elites acquiring stakes in news media. Combining secondary sources and field interviews with media experts and practitioners, this study explores the various practices of business and political instrumentalization of media by their local owners, often resulting in a constrained editorial independence and increasing intertwinement of the systems of media, politics, and economy in the region.