BULGARIA. Critical junctures in the media transformation process.



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The case study provides analysis of some of the critical junctures in the Bulgarian media ecosystem developments, based on the research of major sources and datasets on media and journalism in the country (2000-2021). The text presents a background section regarding the social and political changes during the examined period. Critical junctures in the potential risks and opportunities of the media transformation processes in four domains (legal and ethical regulation, journalism, media usage patterns, and media related competences) are outlined. In the field of legal and ethical regulation in the case study the most significant challenges relate to: media regulation, freedom of expression and freedom of journalists, media legislation, transposition of the European regulation, media self-regulation and accountability, COVID and legislative initiatives against disinformation, and digitization. In the context of journalism the focus is put on media pluralism, media ownership and media concentration, political and corpo-rate influence on the media, and journalism profession – labour market and working conditions, realization of the graduates. The examination of risks and opportunities for media usage pat-terns is connected with lack of consistency and cyclicality of research, public trust in media, and media consumption by different age groups. With regard to media-related competencies such issues as early training to increase media and digital literacy, media literacy and fake news, media competences and media “diet”, media literacy and media pluralism are discussed. The findings may be used for comparative analysis of the critical junctures.