Media power during humanitarian interventions: Is Eastern Europe any different from the West?
The role of the media in foreign policymaking has been the subject of significant academic enquiry, particularly in response to the so-called 'CNN effect', but this work has mostly focused on prominent Western nations (particularly the United States). This article enlarges the debate by adding a comparative and post-communist perspective. Taking the Kosovo conflict as a case study, it analyses the role of the media in foreign policy in Bulgaria and Britain. Through the application of Robinson's policy-media interaction model, the article argues that the Bulgarian press did not have any substantial impact on the government's position on the Kosovo conflict because it framed its reports in a neutral way. The British press/foreign policy relationship discloses a clear case of media support for governmental policy. The findings raise questions about the validity of certain claims about the media-policy relationship in former socialist countries. The article identifies limitations to models based on Western media systems and suggests that their construction is often based on certain cultural assumptions and hence very much context bound.
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