Due to the emergence of Internet-based media channels the character of local information spaces in the Czech Republic has undergone a remarkable change. Traditionally, dominant information sources: daily newspapers and municipally-owned media have become challenged by a variety of online sources run by groups of active citizens. Based on a systemic analysis of the local media sector and interviews conducted with representatives of local activist groups this paper discusses the consequences of these processes for local political communication. From the activists’ perspective, the new communication environment has significantly influenced the character of the mutual relationship between different participants in local political communication. Trust between journalists and activists: the basis for their cooperative relationship, faces decline, whereas the self-confidence of activists in negotiations with politicians has increased. Online media also allow the activists to break the existing information monopoly and engage citizens in public affairs. These changes have resulted in the professionalisation of communication skills for the activists, who are thus able to become more important participants in political communication.
This paper tries to shed some light on factors influencing the positions of the new member states of the EU on Eastern Partnership in its initial phase. It utilises an analytical approach developed by Copsey and Haughton (2009) and argues that the two most important factors affecting positioning of newcomers towards the initiative are: perceived size and geography. While the new members were especially keen to support their immediate neighbours, they were using a common policy towards these countries to increase their presence and influence in the region since the initiative helped them to deal with neighbourhood issues they were not able to solve on their own. The paper suggests an amendment to the theoretical approach and proposes an assumption explaining positioning of the member states towards the third countries that better reflect the empirical evidence than the original framework. Moreover, the research showed that Poland differed from the rest of the new EU countries, was much more active and influential and rather resembled the old members. However, due to its not very positive image (caused by its assertive approach and strong effort to play a prominent role within the EU) its influence within the EU was limited and, therefore it proposed the Eastern Partnership together with Sweden that held a much better image.
Support for democratisation and democracy has become one of the leading topics in a wide-ranging debate over the state of democracy in the contemporary world. The European Union became an important player in global politics, one with an ambitious programme for the spreading and supporting of democracy and the process of democratisation in Eastern Europe. Hence the author’s attempt at addressing the following question: what actions and strategies have and are being undertaken by the EU to facilitate the above-mentioned processes? The aim of the paper is to describe and assess the strategies and actions of the European Union in the field of supporting democratisation and democracy in selected countries of the former USSR (e.g. Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), additionally well-fitting to the concept of Eastern Partnership, in the last decade of XX and the first decade of XXI Century. The paper also aims to present which procedures and standards (that are supposed to guarantee their usefulness and effectiveness) are being used by the EU. The emphasis has been placed primarily on the processes of democratisation, their mileage, specificity and possible strategies for supporting democratic development, as well as its potential for consolidation, in the countries of the former Soviet Union. In order to conduct the research it is necessary to assess the political, social and economic conditions in the researched countries. It is to be stressed that one should be aware of the complexity and dynamics of the described processes whilst evaluating the EU’s initiatives. The papers topic was chosen due to the importance and currentness of the researched EU actions and their results.
The main aims of this article are: a presentation of the theoretical framework for the analysis of the social pacts policy (taking into consideration that social pacts are phenomena which are very difficult to clearly define) and the presentation of the practice of this policy in chosen European countries (including three cases of “using” social pacts for the shaping of public policy, taking into consideration the fact that the form and content of social pacts vary from country to country). Social pacts are very special kinds of agreements between the representatives of the state and the interest groups. They can include various issues of social and economic policies, but they can also be used for solving economic difficulties and sustaining progress, including the development of the state. Social Pacts Policy is useful for a weak state and interest groups, which as a result of it can have an influence on public policy. Although, its application is not a facile process of agreement between the state and the social partners, it can have various forms and can include different goals of social and economic policies. Similarly, the range, institutionalisation and length of social pacts are not the same in all countries. Moreover, as the article indicates it refers to the economic, cultural and social circumstances, which can also cause the disappearance of the social pacts mechanism.
The Development of public media in Latvia as a post-communist country has essentially been influenced by politicians. The political community has had consensus that certain reforms are necessary to ensure the development of public media given the changes in the communication space and its role in the facilitation of the strengthening of democracy, yet during the last fifteen years the political elite has not been able to come to a common agreement and to make decisions on systemic reforming and the development of public media. Since the communication environment has changed post digitalisation of television, the question about public media development and legitimisation has become increasingly topical.
The aim of the study is to explore how the members of the parliament of Latvia (Saeima) position public service media (PSM) in Latvia and assess the public value of PSM. The theoretical framework for the research is based on the concept of public value „strategic triangle” (Benington & Moore 2011), which consists of three main elements: public value outcomes, the authorising environment and operational capacity.
The study is based on qualitative research methods including 18 semi-structured interviews conducted with members of the Saeima in 2012 and 2013. The acquired data has been analysed by the principles of thematic analysis (Attride-Stirling 2001). Analysis of the interviews show that members of the Saeima recognise the need for public media to be independent whilst at the same time supporting a model in which public media is not supposed to have independent funding and they will continue competing with commercial media in the advertising market. High competition and resentment are characteristic features of the political elite in Latvia that apparently would also in future hamper the making of such decisions about public media that will facilitate their high-quality. Results of the research show the tendency for members of parliament to lack the necessary knowledge to formulate their opinion and to modulate relations of public media with society and their place in the overall media system in Latvia.
This article explains the relationship between subsidiarity and legitimacy of policies designed at EU level. Through means of theoretically informed analysis this paper claims that if the principle of subsidiarity is respected and implemented throughout the policy process, EU policy-making can aspire to satisfy the condition of both input and output legitimacy. The empirical part of the paper shows how, through a subsidiarity control mechanism known as the Early Warning System, national parliaments can collectively fulfill representative and deliberative functions in EU policy-making. Conclusions about the changing dynamics in parliamentary modus operandi in the field of EU affairs lead to forming a set of recommendations for further research.
Recent developments in Hungarian constitutional and judicial politics have given impetus to question not only the outcomes of democratisation and Europeanisation, but also the efficacy of the European Union’s compliance mechanisms. In 2010, Hungary, one of the forerunners in building democracy made the headlines with Fidesz’s attempts at adopting a new Constitution and implementing cardinal laws along with controversial institutional, cultural, religious, moral and socio-economic policies. This article attempts to depict the transformative power of the European Union within a sensitive policy area which touches upon States’ pouvoris régaliens: the independence of the judiciary.