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Public service media in polarized society: the case of Czech Television

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Rok publikování 2021
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Fakulta sociálních studií

Popis In recent years, media routines have been changing within the highly fragmented media?sphere. The most recent research shows that in polarized societies the people are more sceptical about media performance and trust in mainstream media is lower. In more polarized societies people tend to perceive the media as less objective, more biased and less independent in terms of political or other interventions. These processes can be even?deepened?by the proliferation of populist communication and by?growing?public sentiment?against?elite?groups (mainstream media, journalists). Under?recent?conditions, the?role and position of public service media (PSM) can be more important than ever due to its integrative and curative functions. In our paper we address the specific role of Czech public service television in polarized society and in high-choice information environment including?growing supply of alternatives and?a variety of?fringe?news websites that frequently engage in spreading online disinformation. In the research we combine two datasets. Firstly, we built on semi-structured interviews (N=28; collected in 2018) which address the trust and attitudes of citizens to the Czech Television. Secondly, we analysed the data from the representative quota-based survey?(N=3,251) collected?by?Masaryk University and Focus research agency in December 2019 – February 2020. We analysed the differences among three types of audiences: the audience of Czech Television, the avoiders of the Czech Television and the indifferent audience. Although the data on Czech audiences shows that the Czech Television is still perceived as the most trusted Czech news medium, we argue that the perception of the Czech Television also divides the society along certain values and attitudes - for some, Czech public service television is the most trustworthy medium and it protects exemplary sets of values; for others, it is a biased liberal medium that cannot be accepted as the source of trustworthy information. Thus, on the case of one of the most successful (regarding both size of the audiences and trust in medium) public service medium worldwide, we show that Czech public service television mirrors the deeper conflict in society and liberal-conservative divide. This conflict about crucial worldviews and attitudes is strongly associated to trust and attitudes to the Czech Television and it clearly draws ideological line among different audiences. We argue that the research on the role and the audiences of PSM is particularly salient as the affective?polarization?in society, polarization of audiences, antagonization of?political?conflict and rejection of plurality on the one hand, and PSM?with?its?normative role and the emphasis?on?diversity and?citizenship on the second hand,?stand?in?contrast.
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