The research project ‘Political Communication in New Democracies’ explores the changing relationship between the government and the media in transitional democracies of the so-called third wave. Since under autocratic rule the media have been ruthlessly exploited to serve the interests of the power holders the development of a democratic political communication culture is one of the biggest challenges in contemporary new democracies. Based on the assumption that in democratic political communication cultures the relationship between government and the media involves both cooperation and conflict the research aims to find out how the power balance between politicians and journalists is re-negotiated after regime changes.
The project takes a comparative approach by including eight new democracies. Four pathways to democracy with their unique cultural and political traditions are represented by two countries each:
· Southern Africa: Namibia, South Africa
· East Asia: Taiwan, South Korea
· Eastern Europe: Bulgaria, Poland
· Latin America: Brazil, Chile
The fieldwork of the project involves semi-structured interviews with journalists, politicians and press officers. The interview schedule includes questions about the values, norms and mutual expectations regarding the interaction between government and the media.
The project is supported by a research grant from the British Academy (Ref LRG-45511) and runs from 1 June 2007 till 31 May 2009.