Business Influence on Media News Processing : a Comparison of Journalists' Perceptions in the Czech Republic and South Africa
How do journalists in two formally authoritarian countries, the Czech Republic and South Africa, perceive the potential of media owners and other business people to influence their work? Multinomial ordinal regression analysis was applied to data collected in the Czech Republic and South Africa for the present 50 country-wide Worlds of Journalism (WoJ) Project. A total of 291 journalists in the Czech Republic and 371 journalists in South Africa were interviewed according to the WoJ protocol. Three aspects of media freedom, as perceived by the respondents, a r e dis- cussed, namely the freedom journalists have to select news stories; to emphasize certain news aspects; and to participate in editorial discussion and decision making (news coordination). The results suggest that media owners as well as business people curb, but also support, journalists' freedom in dealing with the news. In the Czech Republic, a country in the global North and a former member of the Soviet bloc, the results show the influence of media owners and business owners supports the freedom of journalists in selecting their own stories. More influence of business people is associated with more freedom of journalists in aspects emphasized in the stories and in the frequency the journalists participate in newsroom coordination. In South Africa, a former white minority-ruled country in the global South, the results suggest that the influence of media owners seems to lessen journalists' freedom to select news and to emphasize certain news aspects, and coordination. Moreover, the perceived level of influence of business people in South Africa did not statistically significantly relate to all three aspects of journalists' freedom. (original abstract)
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