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Media Use: Former Eastern European States

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Abstract

In all the postcommunist Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, the contemporary media systems are defined by a heritage of decades of communist rule and the influence of market mechanisms introduced after 1990. While during the communist time all media were state-controlled, in the first decade of the 1990s the ownership structure of the both print and electronic media was radically transformed. The media's role in society was also reconceptualized according to democratic norms. Yet, the historical heritage of the communist regime still serves as a reference point in much of the political, economic, and ethical debates centered on media use and media effects in the CEE countries. Contemporary media use in all the CEE countries can be characterized by an increasing importance of electronic media. This has meant not only a rapid increase in Internet usage but also a dramatic growth in TV watching since the 1990s.

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