Transnationalisation of the public sphere in three of CEES states after joining the EU
In 1991, the member states of the European Community agreed in Maas tricht to form the European Union, which aimed not only at completing a common market in Europe, but also at laying the foundation of a politi cal union of the European member states. With the resulting Maastricht Treaty, the question has arisen how the political integration in the Euro pean Union will develop beyond the basic administrative aspects. Along with this, a broad discussion has waged on a European public sphere as a necessary condition for the viability of a democratic entity. In this discussion, it is agreed upon that mass media take a crucial role in the development of a European public sphere. Based on theories of democ racy, media are supposed to inform citizens adequately about political ideas, personalities and programs, to critically highlight and comment on issues and to provide a platform for building political legitimacy in soci ety. So far, studies on the European public sphere mostly measure to which extent the media fulfill this normative duty concerning the EU topics but leave out the question, how far the media are practically capa ble of doing so taking into account the whole set of editorial responsi- bilities, the conditions of production and the conventions of political journalism.
My project is supposed to address this question for the EU coverage in three of the EU’s accession states: Latvia, Poland and the Czech Republic. The core element of the research project is a set of focused interviews with the journalists which are responsible for EU coverage in the editorial offices of the main media in each country. The questions will be about working conditions, decision-making processes, available forms of presentation and the aims of the editorial staff and management concerning EU reporting.