The people formerly known as the Oligarchy : the co-optation of citizen journalism
Title: The people formerly known as the Oligarchy : the co-optation of citizen journalism
Author: RONE, Julia
Citation: Mona BAKER and Bolette BLAAGAARD (eds), In citizen media and public spaces, London : Routledge, 2016, Critical perspectives on citizen media, pp. 208-224
ISBN: 9781138847644; 9781138847651; 9781315726632
The concentration of media, business and political power in the hands of few oligarchs was targeted in a series of popular protests in Bulgaria throughout 2013-2014. In a situation of increasing media monopolization and unclear media ownership, the importance of independent sources of information was acknowledged by all protesters. And yet, as this article demonstrates, the citizen media that flourished during that period of popular unrest conformed to the already existing patterns of unclear ownership, low quality journalism and promotion of oligarchic interests. The citizen journalism efforts that emerged with the mission to target the oligarchy and the party model clearly served the interests of the main oligarchic circles in the country while hiding behind the rhetoric of democratization and participation. Evidence to support this argument is drawn from the accusations exchanged between Bivol (Bulgarian version of Wikileaks) and ANONYMOUS BULGARIA, and between the two circles of media around the sites NOresharski.com and NOligrach.com. Instead of addressing the shortcomings of traditional media, these citizen media initiatives are shown to have simply reproduced the same problems online and failed to meet the standards of media accountability.
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