Political Communication Culture of Political Journalists Representing the Press in Unstable Democracy of Latvia. 2021–2022

https://doi.org/10.22364/ms22.13 | pp. 109-123 | PDF

Ojārs Skudra
University of Latvia

Abstract. As a state of democratic parties and a flawed democracy, the Republic of Latvia is characterized by political communication processes that do not contribute to the process of constructing a participatory political culture. The current paper offers the analysis of publications of the political journalists of the private printed weekly magazines “Ir” and “Sestdiena” about the work of political parties, the government and the parliament in 2021 and the beginning of 2022 in order to understand the meaning of the publications and the connections between the meanings with the help of hermeneutic analysis as a qualitative research method of communication science, as well as explain the participation of political journalists in political communication by constructing or reconstructing subcultures of Latvian political culture. Journalists of both aforementioned legacy or traditional media criticize the work of the government and parties as ineffective, but do not appeal to representatives of civic citizens and political subcultures of critical citizens, calling for civil and political activity, reducing everything to the behind-the-scenes and open activities of political parties and members of parliament as they prepare for the next parliamentary elections. The editorial lines of both periodicals differ; however, their political journalists accept the model of elite democracy prevailing in RL and the traditional role of private media in it, without serious objections. Both “Ir”, representing the pro-European, pro-Atlantic orientation, and “Sestdiena”, whose editorial line mainly has centrist populist, pro-business accents, are unable to satisfy the demand of some of their readers, as evidenced by the rather steady trend of decrease in their readership. There are no publications in these periodicals that would attempt to analyse the causes of the decrease in the number of readers and subscribers, not to mention the concretization of this process in connection with the four subcultures of Latvian political culture.

Keywords: hermeneutics, communication, parties, political communication culture, system, magazines

In: Media and Society, 2022. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Mediji un sabiedrība, 2022. Rakstu krājums. Riga, University of Latvia, 2023. 173 p.