Beyond East and West. Two decades of media transformation after the fall of communism location:Budapest date:25-27 June 2009
The article gives an overview of labels that have been put forth to name the Russian media system in line with the broader social system. The main research question, however, is whether and how the Russian media system fits within the typology of media systems proposed by Hallin and Mancini in Comparing Media Systems. The four major dimensions considered by Hallin and Mancini—the development of media markets, political parallelism, the development of journalistic professionalism, and the degree and nature of state intervention in the media system—are studied within the Russian pre-communist, communist, and post-communist context. Russia turns out to have much in common with the Southern European countries described under the Polarized Pluralist Model: a low development of mass press (though not consistently throughout Russian history), low professionalization of journalists (in the sense of journalistic autonomy and professional solidarity), high political parallelism (the instrumental use of media), and high state intervention—indeed, very high in Russia. The Russian government acts as an owner, funder, regulator, and censor of the media. This fourth dimension raises the question about the limits of the model: Where does the Polarized Pluralist Model end, and where does a new model start—within the Russian context a Polarized Corporatist Model, for example, or simply an Authoritarian or Etatist Model?