Bulgaria Case Study: The Challenges of the 2013 Social Protests in Bulgaria

Monday, July 14, 2014: 8:00 PM
Room: Booth 63
Oral Presentation
Lilia RAYCHEVA , Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication, St. Kliment Okhridsky Sofia University, Sofia, Bulgaria
Mariyan TOMOV , Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication, The St. Kliment Okhridsky Sofia University, Sofia, 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 text 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. Although it resulted in resignation of the acting government in February 2013, the cost of electricity has not changed. The second one has moral purpose – for sustaining the democratic standards. On June 14, 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, since then (nearly three months) hundreds of activists are every day out in the streets protesting against other controversial measures of the new government.  Both events enjoyed extensive mainstream media coverage.       

The aim of the proposed research is to answer the question in what ways the ongoing audience transformations challenge the contemporary media mix in Bulgaria.