Whose Language? What Nation? Bulgarian Journalists and Macedonia
Elite Bulgarian journalists have been interviewed on their attitudes toward Macedonian language and nation. The study showed that the majority of media decision-makers subscribe to the notion that Macedonian language is a mere dialect of Bulgarian, and Macedonian nation is an artificial creation. In that respect, journalists seem to be not unlike the majority of Bulgarians. Journalists also exhibited a strong third-person effect, assuming that their compatriots should be protected from alternative opinions on Macedonia. Media professionals were willing to allow censorship on issues related to Macedonia, in effect suppressing the argument. The study also found evidence of a spiral of silence effect, so even journalists who did not share the mainstream opinions on Macedonia were unwilling to present their views for fear of being ostracized. The study makes the case that researching opinions of leading journalists is an important tool to assess the democratic developments in former communist countries of Eastern Europe.
Keywords: Third-person Effect, Spiral of Silence, Nationalism, Censorship, Macedonian Question
Assistant Professor, Journalism Department, California State University, Long Beach