The Media Image of the Social Protests in Bulgaria

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:24
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Lilia RAYCHEVA, The St. Kliment Ohridski Sofia University, Bulgaria
Nelly VELINOVA, The St. Kliment Ohridski Sofia University, Bulgaria
Mariyan TOMOV, The St. Kliment Ohridski Sofia University, Bulgaria
The contemporary technologically determined information and communication environment is not only facilitating users’ participation in the process of generation and dissemination of content, but is also creating new opportunities for democratic citizenship. A variety of texts on new communication characteristics (Carpentier, Castells, Deuze, Fidler, Friedman, Jakubowicz, Jensen, Lash, Patriarche, Todorov, etc.) offer multiplex approaches to this phenomenon, elucidating the interrelations between the audiences, the traditional and the social media.

The proposed paper will discuss some major political and social implications of the new roles of the audiences viewed through the prism of the media activism in Bulgaria. It is based on comparison of two case-studies, focused on recent social events in the country that had significant political effects. The first one, triggered by the high electricity bills, is connected with disapproval of the living standards. It resulted in resignation of the acting government in less than two months – in February 2013. The second one has moral purpose – for sustaining the democratic standards. On June 14, 2013 about 10,000 people summoned spontaneously via the social networks to protest against the Parliament for the non-transparent appointment of a controversial media mogul as a head of the State Agency of National Security. Although the Parliament withdrew the appointment immediately, hundreds of activists were every day out in the streets protesting against other controversial measures of the new government, which resigned within a year after its appointment.  Both events enjoyed extensive mainstream media coverage.  

The aim of the undertaken research is to focus on the images of the protests (both in media and in social networks) as well as to reflect on the issues and demands behind these images. In addition, some of the most significant images of the protests disseminated through both social networks and traditional media will be also analyzed.