Czech Journalists’ Refreshed Sense of Ethics in the Midst of Media Ownership Turmoil

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Czech Journalists’ Refreshed Sense of Ethics in the Midst of Media Ownership Turmoil


  • Roman Hájek Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
  • Sandra Štefaniková Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
  • Filip Láb Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
  • Alice N. Tejkalová Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic


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Abstract:  In recent years, the Czech Republic has seen the largest changes in media ownership since the early 1990s. Most striking was the purchase of one of the largest publishing houses Mafra by the tycoon Andrej Babiš in June 2013, followed by the takeover of the Czech branch of Ringier by other Czech businessmen later that year. The first case in particular instigated immense discussion about the economic and ethical crisis facing Czech journalism since Babiš is also a powerful political figure (currently the Minister of Finance). In response, a significant number of leading, well-known journalists left media owned by big business and launched projects of quality or “slow” journalism which had until that point been merely discussed theoretically. This paper—based on the results of the Czech part of the Worlds of Journalism Study project—addresses the shift in the ways journalists perceive their roles and ethical responsibilities before and after the 2013 ownership changes. We also present the manner in which these changes are reflected in emerging media projects. It seems that those journalists not affected by the ownership change tend to view journalism ethics and the ability of journalism to exert power more seriously than before.

Keywords:  Czech Republic; ethics of journalism; journalism; journalistic roles; ownership change; pressures on journalism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v3i4.348


© Roman Hájek, Sandra Štefaniková, Filip Láb and Alice N. Tejkalová. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.