The role of the media in election campaign - on the example of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ukraine

Diploma Thesis 2007 120 Pages

Communications - Media and Politics, Politic Communications


Table of contenst :

Table of illustrations:

1. Introduction

2. Communication – theoretical approach

3. Theoretical approach
3.1 Illustration of the terms
3.2 Mass media and their function
3.2.1 The social role of the mass media
3.2.2 The political function of the mass media
3.2.3 Economical function
3.2.4 Information function
3.3 Agenda – setting approach
3.4 Mass media and the politics
3.5 A Theory of the Media politics
3.5.1 Basic conflicts in media politics
3.5.2. Politics and Power
3.6. Mass media and elections
3.6.1. The media offering during the campaign

4. Transition
4.1. The media as subject and object of transition
4.2. Mass media transition in Europe
4.2.1. Transition in Ukraine
4.2.2. Transition in Bosnia and Herzegovina
4.3. Dictatorship vs. Democracy in political communication
4.4. To trust or not trust?
4.4.1. How to place credibility?

5. Elections and Election campaign – a review
5.1 Psephology and the history of it
5.2 The reporting models in the mass media during the elections
5.2.1 Personalisation
5.2.2 Visualisation
5.2.3 Professionalism
5.2.4 Negative campaigning

6. Country Bosnia and Herzegovina
6.1. History and recent past
6.2. Political Data
6.3. The Media in Bosnia and Herzegovina
6.4. The Regulative Norms of the Mass Media in Bosnia and Herzegovina
6.4.1. The regulative Norms for the elections coverage
6.5. Freedom of the Bosnian Media
6.6. 2006 general elections in BH - a turning point or not?

7. Ukraine – a sleeping eastern giant
7.1. Television and election campaign in Ukraine
7.1.1. The transition of the media
7.2. Ukrainian Media today
7.2.1. The Public Broadcasting Service
7.3. The freedom of the Ukrainian media today
7.4. Ukraine’s Orange Revolution
7.4.1. The behaviour of the Ukraine media during the Orange Revolution

8. Empirical approach
8.1. Ukraine vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina
8.2. The evaluation of the questionnaire and hypotheses
8.2.1. Hypotheses

9. Conclusion

Appendix: Questionnaires

List of used literature;

Internet sources:


Table of illustrations:

1. Table 1: The comparison of democracy and dictatorship in political communication29

2. Image 1: The map of Bosnia and Herzegovina

3. Diagram 1: Broadcasting in BH from 1991 to 2000: Figures

4. Diagram 2: Number of radio and TV channels in BH (1991- 2005)

5. Table 3: arrangement of the seats in the BH parliament in 2004

6. Table 4: arrangement of the seats in the BH parliament in 2007

7. Image 2: The map of Ukraine

8. Graphic 2: The viewing rate of the TV stations in Ukraine

9. Table 2: Logics of media performance in Ukraine

10. Table 3: The ranking of freedom of the media 2006 (selected countries)

11. Table 5: Mistrust in Ukrainian Media

12. Table 6: Trust in Ukrainian Media

13. Table 7: TV and Internet usage in BH and Ukraine: comparison

14. Table 8: The trust and the quality of the media in BH and Ukraine85

15. Table 9: General opinion about the mass media in examined countries.88


The following paper is a result of my studies at the faculty of Communication science at the Vienna University. I find subjects ”media” and “politics” most interesting and amusing, therefore I chose this theme in a first place.

As an author of this diploma paper I tried to stay focused, objective and real during the writing, although it was not entirely easy. I am a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina and most of the time it is not enjoyable to see what negative influence the politics has in this country.

In a world of constant tribulations and in this fast way of living it is hard to find people who will consider giving you some of their precious time and this is why, in first line, I want to thank my tutor Prof. Dr. Thomas A. Bauer for his support. As a living encyclopedia he was always able to answer all of my questions and he gave me the possibility to write this work in English, for which I’m mostly grateful.

My sincere thanks goes to Mag. Dr. Tarik Jusic from Mediacentar in Sarajevo. I thank him for his support and for providing me with so much needed literature, important information and for sparing some of his time for me. Tarik, hvala najveca!

To my dear friend Mag. Dr. Nedad Memic I give huge thanks for being there at every phone call and for answering all of my, sometimes not so rationale questions. To all of my dear and close friends I give huge thanks for their understanding and support. Zato jedno veliko hvala!

At last but not the least, I want to thank my parents Larisa and Esref Sabanovic who were always there for me and who, with their mental and financial support made all of this possible. I wouldn’t be here at this place writing this if they wouldn’t have believed in me. I thank them for teaching me to get everything I can from life. Volim vas najvise!

Thank you to all of my colleagues, that I’m acquainted with,

yours truly Ines.

1. Introduction

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”- this utopia by John Donne was written in the renaissance period and aimed to explain the place of a person as a unit in a society.

I use this utopia at the beginning of my diploma paper, because I believe that it could be placed in modern time and it can describe the modern man in relation to the mass media today. Each and every one of us uses media in some context of our lives. It doesn’t matter is that the print media, internet, or TV- we can’t live without it anymore. Everything we need to know, all information we need for surviving in the society is connected and broadcasted through the mass media.

It doesn’t have to be a first hand experience, we can learn some new information from another person but it is the big possibility that this person found out about this information from the media. This is where the verse “no man is an island” comes to expression at the most.

All the function of the media, described later in the diploma paper is subjected to us, to us as individuals in a society, or so the theory says.

The mass media and elections: there are a lot of questions we can ask and theses we can construct about this theme. Elections are the central instrument for the exercise of the sovereignty of the nation and they can be seen as the quality measurement of the society. They affirm that the political power comes from the people to the politician an as that she should not be used in negative connotations.

The main question of this diploma paper is : Why is it possible to have a revolution in a country like Ukraine, whose place in the rang of the free media is way under the place of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose citizens still live in a bad economical and political circumstances and where one sees no significant move forward? Why can’t and won’t they change anything although the satisfaction with the way of life is really low and why is pessimism so spread? The most important question here is what is the role of the media in the above mentioned issues? Why can’t they animate most of the people in BH to even elect and vote for their candidates and how come it was possible to animate people in Ukraine during the time of Orange Revolution?

In a first part of this study I will concentrate myself on theoretical approach. It is necessary to conduct this approach in order to analyse my hypotheses. The empirical approach will consist from a questionnaire which will be sent to Ukraine and BH in tendency to answer all of the questions of this diploma paper.

Both, theoretical and empirical parts of the study observe the phenomenon politics from different aspects. The trust in the politicians and the mass media themselves is one of the most important aspects through which one should contemplate this study.

I will describe the media and political situation in both of the countries and their influence on Orange Revolution and 2006 general elections in BH.

The empirical part will be linked to the questionnaire and a parallel comparison between BH and Ukraine. Although both countries are quite different they are also in a lot of aspects, for example transition, very similar. If one understands what made the Orange Revolution in Ukraine possible it will also be possible to plan future steps for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

2. Communication – theoretical approach

In the frame work of this diploma paper it is impossible to speak just about one theoretical approach. The base of this work should be seen from different corners and levels. Presuming the precognition these approaches will be described in short aspect.

If one looks at the everyday communication between the politicians and the society it is possible to see that the mass media is the provider for this communication. It is then clear to see that “Bilder in den Köpfen der Menschen erzeugt werden.”[1] In this meaning the mass communication in a political system creates the agenda –setting or so called “thematisierung”, and it builds the political opinion system. Simply said, the mass media want to be everywhere, where the important things happen.

In this aspect the agenda – setting- function of the media is reasonable. All of the big political themes are not manufactured from the side of the mass media but they develop through a society discussion, through the events in the media.

Another important theoretical aspect for this diploma paper is the Lasswell – Formula: Who says what in which channel to whom in what effect?[2] The aim of the communication is mostly defined from the side of the communicator, namely what kind of effect is generated on the recipient and what kind of influence can be forced.

If one can equalize the communicator and the politician one has to be interested in this question: how can the politicians together with their conception of the good policy for the state mobilize the voter to vote for this party?

The theory of the cognitive dissonance is important for this study. She explains the conclusions about the information behaviour.[3]

If there is some dissonance between the population and their opinion and beliefs, the population will try to be selective. That means one will search for the information which detracts this dissonance.

If one applies this theory to the election and politics one can say that the voter will decide to give his vote to the party which consists less dissonance.

3. Theoretical approach

To be able to corroborate the main questions and main theses in my diploma paper it is necessary to use the theoretical approach before the practical one. First there is a need to understand the concept and the idea of the mass media altogether and through this understanding to back up the theses of my research. One should understand what is that the media should do and what do we as individuals and as a part of a social system should expect of them.

3.1Illustration of the terms

3.2 Mass media and their function

“Massenmedien sind alle Einrichtungen der Gesellschaft, die sich zur Verbreitung von Kommunikation technischer Mittel der Vervielfältigung bedienen“[4]

This implies all the technical and non-technical resources that bring all important information on the society, that information which is essential for the function of the society and for the well being of the society it self.

They have different functions on different levels but for this study the most relevant ones are those on the level of communication studies which are best described by Burkart. Because all political information is almost so called “secondary experience”[5] the media gets this special role through a complexity reduction.

These numerous functions of communication system in a system theoretical terminology are described as a “Performance” of the media for the society. It alludes the tasks which the so called Subsystem “Media” does for the society.[6]

But it is to consider that all the tasks do not bring something useful for the social system and that is why one can speak about functional and not functional tasks.[7]

The social system is defined through a lot of Subsystems, which are connected to each other.

For this diploma paper there are two most important Subsystems and those are: the political and the social one. That is why one can extract these roles of the mass media:

1 The social role
2 Political role
3 Economical role
4 Information role

3.2.1 The social role of the mass media

Under the social role of the mass media we understand all the accomplishments of the mass media which effect or should effect the environment as a social system.

There are four social functions of the mass media, but the central social function is the socialisation of the mass media. According to Ronnerberg the socialisation goes in two ways:

1.Als Vermittlung von […] Leitbildern, Werten und Normen des Denkens und des Handelns
2. Als Vermittlung von Denkformen und Verhaltensweisen, die das Leben in komplex organisierten Gesellschaftssystemen erst ermöglichen und die zugleich auch der Erhaltung und Weiterentwicklung dieser Gesellschaft dienen.“[8]

The second social function, tightly associated with the first one, is the orientation function. It means that the mass media provide the details of our society which we need to be a social part of it. The media should give us direction in this totally miscellaneously and unclearly society.

The gratifications function is the third social function of the mass media. It underestimates the demand of the public for dispersal and distraction.[9]

The fourth and the final social function, sees Maletzke[10] in integrations function. The media impregnate this function when the person sees the society as a norm and he identifies himself with it.

For Ronnerberg is this fourth function than possible when the media broadcasts the values of the society, that means to set up the norms of the society and to wake up a mass loyalty for those values. But that doesn’t mean that these values are the right and only ones correct.

They can and they mostly do change during the course of time. It is also recommendable to be careful with the term “mass loyalty” because it has strong connotations from the time of the National Socialism.[11]

3.2.2 The political function of the mass media

The main political function of the mass media is the making of the public opinion. The media communicates the world to individuals, and it reproduces modern society's self-image.[12] This is possible through the publication of information.

Schulz speaks about a different placement performances that the media fill out.[13]

- Political information is from the side of the media collected and than selected on the base of different media themes. After the selection they are broadcasted on the audience. The medial information is the main condition for the making of the political society, because the medial coverage in most cases is the main information source of the citizen.
- The mass media decides who will be shown in the scene. That means who will be shown in the news or shows.
- The media interprets the political scene and political happenings. With that they construct the System input and system output. One can say they construct their own political reality.

When one looks at the political function of making of the public one can conclude that this function has a central element in the elections. As Burkart sees it: “Öffentlichkeit wird heute von den Medien der Massenkommunikation im wahrsten Sinn des Wortes ´gemacht`…“[14]

The mass media plays an important part of the political process. The role of the media in the political process is one that has received attention from politicians, academics, and the public itself. The media gives interested parties an unparalleled chance to talk directly with huge numbers of citizens.

The case is also that through the media the intention and the will of the society and population penetrate to their representatives. We can see that this is the two way street. This penetration needs decision – making process which is best made and constrict through the media.

In an ideal case the developing of this decision – making process in a democracy is through a permanent discussion of all the members of the society.

Richard Münch sees this design very sceptical and explains that we are mostly exposed to a flood of information which is too disorienting.

Despite doubts, which are of course suitable, the media opens for the society and its members the possibility to be a part of these political events.

Furthermore the media have the possibility of a further political function so called enunciation function. This function should provide the input of a big number arguments and interests in the media. That implies also the ones which normally don’t have this access to the mass media.

The next function is political social function. This function should present the political roles as transparent as possible. This transparency allows an active participation of a citizen in political life. There is also the political educational function which is closely connected to the previous political function. It underestimates that the media help in education of the society in case of political problems and politics itself.[15]

One important role for the democracy political system is the critics and control function. The possibility to give critic and to criticise the politicians and the power structures in a society is one of the biggest and most important characteristics of a democracy. This function can only be executed when the media is totally independent.[16]

3.2.3 Economical function

This function should present the mass communication system as a part of a capitalistic economical system. How much the economical and justice design of a media system influences on a quality of coverage should not be discussed here.

In a capitalistic society the media encourages the mobilisation of product – money correlation.

Through the use of the capital (Kapitalverwertung) they reach the process of a product circulation and so they become, according to Holzer, a new function – the circulation function.[17]

3.2.4 Information function

This function of the mass media is not to regulate through the three already mentioned functions. She is important for each and every one of them.

Information should expand the knowledge of a recipient. Information stands for a declaration, which is complete new to us and of which we didn’t know.[18]

Whether this information is new or not depends of course on the status of the recipient.

The information mediation through the mass media is a secondary experience. There is a way to get an information through the first hand and that is through a personal experience. Therewith reduction of self not knowledge is possible. If we find out about the new information through a secondary experience, we understand things without a personal experience in these contents.

This is what we all have accepted and sometimes we trust even more to the media experience than ourselves.

Because of the dependence we created on the media, there are some demands that the media have to fill out. The mass media information should be complete, objective and understandable. These are the demands we have on the mass media but in reality they are not easy to fulfil.

One of the important terms for this diploma paper that one should understand is the objectivity. It is very hard to define this term. According to Saxer under this term we can understand striving to undistorted description of reality.

“Lediglich das Beleuchten der Realität aus möglichst vielen Blickwinkeln sei daher als objektiv zu bezeichnen.“[19]

3.3 Agenda – setting approach

The central statement of the agenda – setting approach is that the media doesn’t decide what do people should think but what about they should think.[20]

This function of the mass media describes the capability of the mass media to create the reality and to give knowledge and the thinking to the public.[21]

With this statement it is possible to see that this approach has a big role in the construction of the social reality, especially with the themes like public communication.[22] That is why it is really important what issues do the media analyse.

There are a lot of experiments which tested this approach and the one which is most important for this study is an experiment in which was explored what kind of media impact have the special themes on special places in the news. These were the studies in 1980’s. Other studies in this time were also the studies about the influence of the agenda – setting on the evaluation of politicians so called “priming”. This study was important for becoming the information if the media with increased amount of special themes in a broadcast can influence the population.[23]

This study concluded this hypothesis:

“By priming certain aspects of national life while ignoring others, television

news sets the trends by which political judgments are rendered and political

choices made”[24]

The arguments for this hypothesis are, according to Brettschneider:

- For the evaluation of the political person the individual does not use all of the attainable information about the politician, because of the complexity.
- The information that will be used are rather new and therefore up-to-date and easy accessible.
- The TV news decides which information is accessible and which are not.[25]

For better understanding here the following comment; the authors try to explain that the domination of a special theme in a mass media or just in the news has a big impact on a recipient. For the evaluation of the politician one uses the theme that is prevailing in the news.

The politician tendency is to be present in the media in the time just before elections, and that as much as possible. This is the time when they make the promotion of their parties.

If we transplant this on the main theme of this study it presumes that for the voters in Bosnia and Herzegovina it is still very important what role did the politician play in the last war and for the Ukraine’s Orange Revolution it was important that the politician was not from the Russian side but rather West oriented . However this is something that will be relevant in the later chapters of this diploma paper.

3.4 Mass media and the politics

To understand this correlation we first need to understand the terms of politics and the mass media. Since the term of mass media is already described at the beginning of this chapter, in this part I will apply this chapter to the term of the politics.

According to Luhman the politics is a conglomerate of social processes through which there is a possibility of acceptation already administrant determinate decisions. The politics should be a measurement for all the society norms and she should be an act of different possibilities and decisions.

This definition implies that these already mentioned acts of possibilities are accessibly through the instrument of power. This way all the levels of society are reachable to all the members of the social union.

This underestimates that the all parts of community have something from these decisions and that they are influenced by it.[26]

In system theoretical appendix we can split three dimensions of politics:

1. Polity dimension – the Constitution is the basis of political act
2. Policy dimension - public act and political content are collective connected
3. Politics dimension – public implementation of competitive interests of actors of political process (politicians).[27]

The two most important factors in the interpretation process of the election resultants are politicians and the mass media. The politicians are the central figures and their goal is to interpret the election results in their favour. For that they need the means of public broadcasting. This is actually when the politics happen in the media. They give their means for use but they are in no way neutral, they use this for their purposes also.

According to Sarcinelli[28] the distinction between politics and her image in the media is artificial. For the most citizens is not possible to experience the political process in direct way. The public depends on the mass media to find out the information in this context. It is also questionable if we can separate the politics and the image created in the mass media. Politics consists from communication, one part of this communications is official and other is private. Kepplinger speaks about two stages in which the politics is played – the front stage and the back stage.[29] In case of political act on the front stage, we need to use the mass media to be able to follow it.

The politics exists mostly from the medial image and is known to the voters only in this way. The political reality, which was created from the media, has a high efficient. It is than questionable who decides about the political reality of the mass media? Reiser suggests that there are three different positions in the power relation between the mass media and the politics.[30]

These positions are:

1. the dependent concept
2. the concept of autonomy loss of the mass media
3. the interdependent concept

The dependent concept claims that the political process depends on the mass media. In most instances the mass media decide what themes, solutions and persons are shown to the public. Through this, in reference to this dimensions they make the political reality. The political actors have to respect the rules of the media system and through that their activity is limited. That means that they are accepted as a political actor only if the media see them in that way. This is why most of the politician accept and follow the rules of the mass media.

The second concept claims exactly the opposite from the first one. It assumes that the media reality is not made just from the media personnel but they are externally controlled. They hold their rules and media laws an as that they are calculable. The political communication has a high level of professionalism today and most of it is PR – work.

This is why, as shown in Baers study (1985) most of the news about the political happenings , more than 50percent, have their ruts in a party PR agency and just 8 percent of them are made direct from journalists.[31]

Both of the interpretations of the mass media and politic relations are not satisfactorily. It is obviously that the mass media influences the politics and that this relationship goes another way too: the politics influence the mass media. The only question here is which influence is stronger? The answer to this question is not given because it always depends on the circumstances with which the mass media and the politics are connected.

The interdependent concept assumes that the mass media and the politics work for each other and with each other. They both have big profits from this form of cooperation. The political actors want the publicity and for that they pay with information. The media and the politics are a symbiosis; in today’s society there can’t be one without another anymore.

3.5 A Theory of the Media politics

The media politics is a part of politic of communication. Under this term we understand all of the activity which is directed to the order of the mass media.[32]

This sees the media as an object and their order as a goal. The legislative decisions and executive acts of the state should assure constitutional commodities of the media.

The whole media system is defined through the media politics. According to Saxer there is a problem if one uses just a systematic media politics. That is because of the integration of the media system with other parts of the society. Such parts as a politic itself, economy and culture. This integration of the media politics prevents a consequent optimisation of the media system with political means.[33]

The object of media politics aim accumulation can be wide: from entertainment demand of audience across media financing, up to journalist education. The last but not the least – object of media politics can be society and population.

3.5.1 Basic conflicts in media politics

There are three main actors in media politics: the politician them selves, the journalists and the public or better said the citizens.

Each one of them has their main goal, such as: the politicians want to build a wide supporters group through the means of communication, the journalists aim to attract the large audience and a citizen wants to be able to hold politicians accountable on the basis of minimal political involvement or attention to the news.

Of course one can see that here is a lot of place for conflicts between the actors.

As following there are three most basic conflicts one can extract:

1. Conflict between the interests of journalists and citizens. Journalists would like to produce a more sophisticated news product than many citizens wish to consume.
2. Conflict between the interests of politicians and journalists. Politicians and journalists both have an occupational interest in controlling the content of the news.
3. Conflict between the interests of politicians and citizens. The basic interest of citizens is to hold politicians accountable on the basis of what the politicians have accomplished while in office or say they will accomplish if elected to office.[34]

This all is a part of media politics and a part of the problems which she has to solve.

In an ideal world of a politician the campaign would create information and the media should transfer this, and only this information on to the public. Although they have a lot of influence on the media, especially from the economical side there is not big possibility to create such a environment, speaking of course about democratic societies.

Through these conflicts one can also define media politics, according to Kleinseuber,[35] as a political motivated act which refers to organisation, the way of functioning, material situation of the mass media. In this aspect the media politics is not just to see as the state control but also as a dynamic process in which different actors participate on different media levels.

Through this the definitions gets two dimensions: on one side is the media politics, just like environmental politics or foreign policy just a separate field. On the other hand one asks what and how does one treat media policy. It is important to say that the both fields determinate each other.

When one sees the media policy in this aspect, not just as a political act, one has to ask these questions: Who – with what motivation and legitimacy - defines these requirements? And: Who – prevails and with which resources?[36]

The benefit of seeing media policy in this light and from this perspective is that it opens new possibilities for the new actors which can be really important for the media policy. On the other hand it is possible to enforce some changes of the actor constellation in this domain of media policy. With this new views of this term there is a possibility of more “light in the shadow” for the scientific examination.

3.5.2. Politics and Power

Power is a big part of politics. It is also a central term in social science. According to Max Weber the politics is “pursuit or ambition for power or influence on distribution of power.”[37]

The opinion of Niklas Luhmann is that the power is a consistent part of politics and that one does not exist without the other.[38]

Weber describes the power as a chance to carry its opinion, in social sense, even if the other side is not willing for that. Weber brought out that the term of power is “socially unformed”[39]

This classical definition of power, in sense of enforcement possibilities, is not just connected to physical force but rather at the potential of generalisation and symbolisation of enforcement possibility.

The political science tried to operationalize this term “power” for different researches but hasn’t made it above already mentioned definition of power.

The power identifies itself through the making or destroying the activity of different actors and so called “players”. In this sense one can apprehend the interaction between the politics and the media as the question of power and the control of it.

3.6. Mass media and elections

From the point of communications science it is important to evaluate what role plays the media in election campaign. One of the most mentioned thesis in this contest is from German CDU (Christliche Demokratische Union) party member Peter Radunski: “Wahlen können im Fernsehen gewonnen oder verloren warden”[40] In the last decade it is more often mentioned that the European election are a copy of the US elections. The television as a most popular media comes in the centre of attention and it is favourite media of the politicians. If we speak about the Americanisation of the European elections we have to first understand what is so special about the US elections.

According to Gurevitch and Blumer the European elections actors use the US “Video – politics” as the role model.[41]

In this sense the Americanisation means leading and using the elections the way that the US elections are being led and used. The central role in the elections plays the TV. Under that one understands the domination of the “images” on “issues", and as a consequence of the orientation on the media, the professionalizing of the political actors in interaction with the mass media.[42]

If one looks at the trend of the election campaign it is possible to see that the political communication gets more and more professional. On the electorate side it is visible that the identification with the party falls. One can distinguish this process through a bigger number of voters and bigger number of so called “swing voters”. It is hard to stay true to one party only because of the big number of the new parties which can now, in our media world, represent themselves easier and clearer.

Because of this the meaning of the elections got new dimension for the party members and the parties themselves. It’s not just about mobilising already standard voters; it is about keeping them and becoming new ones.

On the other hand, on the side of the political System, the politician’s side, the level of the professionalism is also getting higher and higher. Because the range of political decisions is quite low and they are mostly hard to implement, the political actors are mostly forced to let their voters down. That is why, today, in a world where every promise is easy to prove from the side of the voters, the politician refuses to give a direct promise. That is why they tend rather to symbolic than to material need satisfaction.[43]

This new symbolic politics is oriented to get the support of the population and to get the legitimation for the political actors. On of the most important preconditions is the active Media management. This management ensures the themes for the public discussions and the elections altogether. The chance to get the media attention is bigger with the adjustment of the political offers on the media and journalist format. This is why more and more parties use the favours of the professional PR teams.

This is where the symbolic politics comes to expression at the most and as a part of personalisation in reporting model of the mass media it will be later explained in this diploma paper.

3.6.1. The media offering during the campaign

Meanwhile there are is a huge number of the studies which have analysed the media offering in the election campaign. The conclusions of these studies help to get the closure on the campaign strategies and their success.

According to Radunski we can separate the campaign in three categories:

1. Media campaign
2. Party campaign
3. Mobilisation campaign[44]

The media campaign in the mass media is an everyday job. It is the placement of the political business in which the parties try to place their main themes, their perception and their politicians in the media coverage or the live appearance. One of the main points here is that the political actors are not independent from the side of the mass media and journalists. These factors have the possibility to make a big influence through the selection and adaptation of the material.

In this contest Paletz & Vinson distinguish the complete- media driven communication and partly- media driven communication. In the first case they describe the communication as the media coverage about the campaign and under the partly- media driven communication they understand the live appearances of the politicians for example the controversies, interviews or such in which the actors have much bigger influence possibility on the spectators.[45]

Another part of the campaign, according to the same source, is the different medium such as advertising, commercials, both in TV and radio, advertising in papers and last but not least the posters of the politicians. These mediums are completely independent from the side of the mass media and are truly regulated from the side of the political parties.

The party- and mobilisation campaign tries to mobiles the party supporter and members. This can be accomplished also through the media but in the first choice is always the interpersonal communication. Under this, one understands the party events, direct Mail, booths etc.[46]

These are all means which the politics and its actors use to win the elections.

4. Transition

„Transition – alteration of a physical system from one state, or condition, to another.”[47]

Although very simple, this definition of transition we can always apply on Society in transition. This process is actually described in every bigger encyclopaedia and generally speaking the exploration of political transition itself had its ups and downs.

This terminus was especially interesting at the beginning of 90´s as the south European countries came to turning point from a social state to a democratic one. This process was followed up by a transition in Latin-America and it is a still lasting process.

These new theories were mostly based on the experiences and events that occurred in Southern Europe, from post – Mussolini period in Italy. The initial formulations dealt simply with the transition from authoritarian rule, the breakdown of military regimes.

Later these researches came to notion to investigate also, as already mentioned, the conversion from social state to a democratic one.

In all these process from socialisms to constitutional legality and freedom the mass media had significant effect and an important role.

There is a lot of different definitions about transition process and the one that fits the most in this study is the one from Schubert and Tetzlaff[48] which describes transition as a process in which a system in crisis stabilises and adapts itself on new situation through different reforms.

This process is more evolutionary and not revolutionary – as are most processes in which the change of system plays the main role.

Historically seen there are three phases of transition[49]:

1. Liberalisation
2. Democratisation
3. Consolidation

Under first phase one understands the gradual opening of completely authoritarian system. It begins with disruption of legitimacy of the authorities. Through this the activities in a society start to detract which is a precondition for a social agitation. This forces the leadership to loose up its chains in a society.

The second, the democratisation phase, implies the cracking of the old system values and old institutions to make a new one – the democratic ones. These new institution must be made under the constitutional rights and a new constitution.

The phase of consolidation verifies the new created institutions and that implies whether these are capable in real politics, to manage the given tasks in conflict and in peace too. When the possibility of recurrence is minor, that means that this it the consolidated democracy, it accomplished its goal.

When one looks at the third phase it is possible to see that the transition doesn’t just mean a transform from one state to another, as related at the beginning of this chapter, but rather establishment and consolidation of democratic institutions and pattern of behaviour.

4.1. The media as subject and object of transition

To understand the conjunction of the system alteration and the media it is important to see the double character of the media in this political process.

The media itself is on one side the part of the democratisation. They have to isolate themselves from the authoritarian regime to be able to fill out their new function in the new order. As such they are the object of the transition.

On the other hand they are the “players” in this political situation and that makes them a subject of transition. The mass media controls the design of the political process and with that affects all the changes that happen.

The transition from a totalitarian society to democracy is a social experiment that affects all aspects of the society. That is why this process gives one an insight look and understanding of the functioning of the democratic institutions in different cultural and political context.[50]

It is clearly possible to see that a lot of new democracies have successfully adopted the institutions of the Western world and at the same time many others haven’t.

One of the institutions which are clearly capable of explaining this is the mass media, although they have been largely ignored by mainstream democratization studies.

It is really questionable why did this happen because of the fact that the role of the media and “their impact not only on the functioning of other democratic institution but also the viability of the democratic process as a whole"[51] was crucial in all of this.

It has also be argued that the capability of the media to promote democracy is not so broadly configured and the mass media have been blamed and they have been held responsible for many of the deficit from which the new democracies suffer.

It is inevitably to see that the mass media serve as a “main link between governments, political parties, candidates, etc., and voters”[52] and the main reason for that is that the possibility for this communication is fairly limited. But one can impossibly see the media as just a transmitter of the political messages. They also participate in the creation of them. They are the ones which decide how a message will be created and represented. Their impact on the public sphere through the communication medium is indispensably to see.

All the rules that media use for the transmitting of the new messages and information, such as dramatisation, personalisation and others which will later be mentioned in this diploma paper, were termed “media logic”.

Media logic can be understood as a strategy the media use to maintain their relationship with a mass audience on which they depend for their economical survival.”[53]

This is why the media have to find a balance between the political events and an

easy – to – consume information which is mostly wanted by a normal consumer. The political actors are powerful and for the broadcasting time, which is also necessary for them they give a lot of financial support for the broadcaster.

This is where the problem in new democracies comes forth: in the old regime most media were closely related to particular actors of that regime. Maintaining this relationship in and after the transition might provide the media with a distinct editorial identity and even economic support. The risk here is that the audience is changing and new structure and context is asked for. According to Voltmer it is a big question if the media logic can be consequent with the normative standards of a democratic public sphere.

4.2. Mass media transition in Europe

The evolution of the mass media in eastern and Western Europe went in similar way and speed on both sides. This applies especially on the TV sector. The last five decades were signed with the process of commercialisation of the TV sector. The system of one TV became a dual system with the competition between the state sector and private one. Eastern Europe was a little late with this change which started in the beginning of 1990’s after the fall of the communist regime. As a result of this delay this process went much faster as in Western Europe. This so called “europeization” of the mass media sector demonstrated it self in attempt to use the western mass media as a model and the lead.[54]

The beginning of the mass media western concept was founded on the promotion of the national culture, education and providing of the controlled political information. This happened in the middle of the 20th century and was the base for the public service. The role model of this concept was the British BBC which was, including the ITV, only broadcasting networks in Great Britain until 1990 transition. Both of these broadcasters are the subject to conditions of the public service until today. The monopoly of the public broadcasters was ended in the middle of the 80’s of the last century and the possibility of dual broadcasting was opened.[55]

The eastern block was late in these transitions. As known the communist government used the mass media in every way for their purposes an as that they were strongly controlled till the fall of the communism at the beginning of the 1990’s. The change happened when the government opened the doors for the private investment and giving the state public broadcaster more independence.

4.2.1. Transition in Ukraine

Since Ukraine is one of the subjects of this diploma paper it is important to understand how the transition of the media happened in this post – soviet country.

All broadcasting was subordinate to the State Committee of Radio and Television Broadcasting (Gosteleradio) under the Soviet Council of Ministers in Moscow. There were no separate ‘channels’ but different editorial groups that produced material for each of the four national programs. Regional (‘republican’) and local TV-centres were simply considered ‘branch offices’ of the central media structure, not allowed to make own decisions and also not afforded the amount of training or technical improvement as the flagship Moscow-based mass media.[56]

The print media was a little less under the hard supervision of the authorities but nevertheless not free. The first change came in the middle of 80’s with the Gorbachev’s “perestroika”.

But even than all these changes were not enough and the free press was still not imaginable.

Nevertheless, the Media Law significantly changed the media landscape of the Soviet Union. In conjunction with a relaxation of the ban on private enterprise, it allowed for independent media outlets (newspapers, television and radio stations) and removed the media from under the supervision of the Communist Party, at least on paper.


[1] Noelle-Neumann, Schulz, Wilke, 1994, S. 171 – 181 „ The pictures are made in peoples heads“

[2] http://www.cultsock.ndirect.co.uk/MUHome/cshtml/introductory/lasswell.html (access on 11.12.2006.)

[3] Noelle-Neumann, Schulz, Wilke, 1994, S. 171 – 181

[4] Luhmann, 2004, S. 39 „ Mass media are all society facilities which use the technical possibilities to spread the communication”

[5] Luhmann, 1997, S.1011

[6] Burkart,1995, S.138

[7] Strampfer, 1997, S.22

[8] From Burkart, 1983, P.142” 1. “As spreading of Pictures, Values and Norms of thinking and ------“ 2. “ As spreading from thinking forms and the Values of the society, which make the life in a complex society possible. They also serve the preservation and further development of the society.”

[9] From Burkart, 1983, P.142

[10] cp. Maletzke, 1949- 1984, pg.377

[11] cp. Ronnerberg, in Saxer 1985, pg. 3-18

[12] cp. Burkart, 1995, pg.144

[13] cp. Schulz, 1997, pg.47

[14] Burkart,1983, pg,144f „ The public is made from the side of the mass media”.

[15] cp. Burkart, 1998, pg,83 - 384

[16] cp. Burkart, 1998, pg,83 - 384

[17] cp. Holzer, 1974, pg. 131

[18] Attneave, 1965, pg. 13

[19] Saxer, 1974, pg.213

[20] Cp. Cohen, 1963, pg. 13

[21] Cp. Schenk, 1987, pg. 195

[22] Cp. Lojka, 1994, pg.2

[23] Cp. Iyengar/ Kinder, 1987, pg. 225.

[24] Quote: Iyengar/ Kinder, 1987, pg. 226

[25] Cp. Brettschneider, 2006pg.224

[26] Cp. Luhman quote after Meyer, 2000, pg.16 - 18

[27] Cp. Alemann 2002, S.544f, cp. Jarren 1998a, pg.699f;cp. Meyer 2000, pg.52ff

[28] Cp. Sarcinelli, 1987, pg. 76

[29] Cp. Kepplinger, 1993, pg. 58

[30] Cp. Scherer, Hagen, Rieß & Zipfel, in Holtz – Bacha, 1996, pg. 156

[31] Cp. Scherer, Hagen, Rieß & Zipfel, in Holtz – Bacha, 1996, pg. 157

[32] Cp. Strampfer, 1997, pg. 16

[33] Cp. Saxer, in Hass/Langenbucher, 2002, pg.69

[34] Cp. and quote Zaller, 1999, pg. 29 from http://www.polisci.ucla.edu/faculty/zaller/media%20politics%20book%20.pdf (access on 12.12.2006)

[35] Cp. Kleinsteuber,1995, pg.420

[36] Cp. Kleinsteuber, 1995, pg.173

[37] cp. Weber, 1958, pg. 506

[38] Luhman,2000, pg.75

[39] cp. Weber; 1964, pg. 38

[40] Radunski, 1983,in Schulz/ Schönbach: pg. 131 „ The elections can be won or lost in the TV“

[41] Cp. Gurevitsch/Blumler, 1990, pg. 311

[42] Cp. Gurevtisch/Blumler, 1990, pg. 320- 330

[43] Cp. Sarcinelli, 1986, pg. 186

[44] Cp. Radunski, 1980, pg. 44

[45] Cp. Paletz & Vinson, 1995

[46] Cp. Holtz – Bacha, 1994, pg. 14

[47] Britannica, 2002, pg. 897

[48] Schubert/Tetzlaff ,1994, pg. 7

[49] O´Donell/Schmitter, 1986,

[50] Cp. Voltmer, 2006, pg.1

[51] Quote: Voltmer, 2006, pg. 1.

[52] Quote: ibid. pg. 8

[53] Quote. ibid. pg. 9

[54] Cp. Monitoring izvjestaj, 2005, pg. 32

[55] Ibid. pg. 33

[56] Cp. Medjany, 1994, pg. 99


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Title: The role of the media in election campaign - on the example of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ukraine