Towards Utopia — Or Another Anschluss? East Germany's Transition to a New Media System



Kilborn R (1993) Towards Utopia — Or Another Anschluss? East Germany's Transition to a New Media System. European Journal of Communication, 8 (4), pp. 451-470.

This article reflects on the processes of media transition in East Germany after the collapse of communist control and considers what forces have been chiefly instrumental in bringing about the changes which have occurred. Since the decisive turning point (Wende) in November 1989, the whole media system in the East has been transformed, but this article focuses particularly on the press and on television. A brief survey is provided of the media set-up in the old German Democratic Republic (GDR) and some indication is provided of the ways in which the East German situation differed from that of other communist states. The period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the signing of the Unification Treaty is one that can be seen to be of special importance for media developments in the East. It was during this time that it seemed that the `indigenous' media might be capable of certain self-generated reforms. Since the formal union of the two Germanies, however, it has become increasingly clear that the restructuring of broadcasting in particular has been carried out almost exclusively on West German terms. This, together with the alarming degree of concentration in the East German newspaper market, is a source of continuing concern for many commentators in both East and West.

European Journal of Communication: Volume 8, Issue 4

Publication date31/12/1993

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Professor Richard Kilborn

Professor Richard Kilborn

Honorary Professor, Communications, Media and Culture