POPULISM IN BULGARIA BETWEEN POLITICIZATION OF MEDIA AND MEDIATIZATION OF POLITICS
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Populism as a political position and rhetorical style is nowadays an object of comprehensive research and multi-faceted social discussions. The strong critical attitude of populists towards the status quo, towards what they regard as the chimera of democracy, is generally intertwined with the function of the media as a corrective factor with regard to government authorities. The development of mankind in the present is characterized by transformation trends in technological, economic, and social spheres. These trends impact the political environment as well. The challenges of the economic crisis, as well as the migration processes are strengthening the position of euro-skeptics and revitalize the development of populism. The present text is focused on the developments of political populism in Bulgaria. The political environment in the country is characterized by almost permanent merge of political entities, which gradually escalates the use of populist approaches, styles and rhetoric. Research attention to this political phenomenon is determined by the success of some newly formed populist parties during the new century, gradually winning considerable numbers of seats in the parliament. The use of populist phraseology is evident among all political parties in the country, whether left- or right-oriented. Bulgarian political actors of a populist trend – including political leaders and parties – have mixed, oftentimes changing, characteristics. this populist phraseology is transmitted to audiences mainly through the media. It has to be noted that the dynamics of the pre-election campaigns during the period of democratization since 1989 has been developing alongside demonopolization, liberalization and transformation of the media system. Deregulation of the radio and TV broadcasting sector dragged on, giving way to the development of two mutually bound processes – politicization of the media and mediatization of politics. The paper is structured in three methodologically interconnected parts, presenting: an overview of the process of politicization of the media and mediatization of politics in Bulgaria; an analysis of the political populist trends in the country; a discussion on the connections between populism and the media.
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