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Dangerous liaisons: Democratization, press freedom and government influence

Naser Miftari, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation research explores through content analysis how reporting on government corruption is influenced by government advertising, as an external pressure on media editorial independence. It is a case study based on the content analysis of two newspapers, Koha Ditore and Zëri, at two stages of the post-conflict period in Kosovo (i.e. 2005 and 2010). A range of theoretical frameworks inform the analysis of this dissertation work. Apart from the literature on media and democratization, the research explores the usefulness of liberal pluralist and Marxist-related media theories, including the critical political economy of the media. The latter is considered as the most appropriate approach in explaining the functioning and relationship between media and government in new democracies such as Kosovo. A number of important findings come across in this investigation. The research observes that reporting on corruption in both newspapers increases considerably in 2010 compared to 2005. As reporting on corruption increases, the government advertising declines. The analysis indicates a preferential treatment of one newspaper (versus the other) at certain times by specific ministries in regards to the distribution of official advertising. It also observes an uneven level of assertiveness in their reporting of corruption in 2005. Yet, in 2010 the assertiveness in reporting corruption increases and levels off in both media. The findings of this research are important in that they help expose the often hidden relationship of power between government and media. Also, the findings are useful in providing a better understanding on the extent of influence of external factors in the editorial independence of media in developing democracies and the reasons behind it. The research concludes that government influence on the media in developing democracies can be excessive, even past the first stage of democratization, if media, because of the specific contextual conditions, are unable to secure a diversified base of advertising revenues and consequently diminish the potential of government advertising to exert undue influence on their editorial content.

Subject Area

Journalism|Political science|Mass communications

Recommended Citation

Miftari, Naser, "Dangerous liaisons: Democratization, press freedom and government influence" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3618785.