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Media and Politics in New DemocraciesEurope in a Comparative Perspective$
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Jan Zielonka

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747536.001.0001

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Informal Politics and Formal Media Structures

Informal Politics and Formal Media Structures

(p.197) 13 Informal Politics and Formal Media Structures
Media and Politics in New Democracies

Ruzha Smilova

Daniel Smilov

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses informality: the failure of formal rules to regulate existing practices. Two major types of informality are relevant for media and democracy: one caused by the weakness of institutions, and another caused by the fusion between the media and politics. The blurring of borderlines between the media and politics makes existing formal rules inadequate, as well as helping the creation and spread of new informal practices. These circumstances are felt more strongly with the advent of the internet and social networks, which make traditional forms of political representation ever more obsolete. In Bulgaria, the authors find a successive emergence of party–media fusions: political structures piggy-backing on media companies, and vice versa. Media presenters, or simply media-friendly personalities using the resources of media outlets, have become dominant political players. These are not defects or omissions of legal regulatory regimes; rather, these are the circumstances of contemporary democratic politics.

Keywords:   informality, fusion between media and politics, media–political party hybrids, Eastern European media systems, transition, corruption

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