The Changing Landscape of Local Information Space in the Czech Republic: Consequences for Local Political Communication

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Abstract

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.

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