TRAINING CENTRAL ASIAN JOURNALISTS: SOVIET LEGACIES MEET LESSONS FROM U.S. MEDIA HISTORY

Eric FREEDMAN, Richard SHAFER, Gary RICE


Eric Freedman, Assistant professor of journalism, Michigan State University School of Journalism (East Lansing, U.S.)

Richard Shafer, Professor of journalism, The University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, U.S.)

Gary Rice, Assistant professor of journalism, California State University (Fresno, U.S.)


Introduction

Western governments, international development agencies, foundations, and donor organizations regard democratic journalism as a tool to liberalize authoritarian regimes and contain religious fundamentalism and anti-Western sentiments abroad. It has become synonymous with Western-style journalism and is regarded as dedicated to extending democracy and free market economics. Since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, democratic journalism has been exported to its former republics through seminars and workshops that generally emphasize traditional U.S. news values such as impact, conflict, novelty, prominence, proximity, and timeliness. As journalism educators and trainers, we have participated in this process. These values are often touted as alternatives to values connected to Soviet-era news conventions, policies, and underlying ideology.

There is no generally accepted definition of democratic journalism, but commonly accepted elements are..


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