Postgraduate taught 

Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies PgDip/MRes

Media and Democratisation in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union CEES5060

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course evaluates, in comparative perspective, the media under conditions of regime change and transformation in the region. More broadly the course focuses on how media systems have to date evolved in these states in the context of European standards (Council of Europe / EU).


1 x 2-hour seminar per week

Excluded Courses







One essay of 3500-4500 words - 85%

Class presentation and participation - 15%



In accordance with the University's Code of Assessment reassessments are normally set for all courses which do not contribute to the honours classifications. For non honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students, and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions are listed below in this box.

Course Aims

This course evaluates the media under conditions of regime change and transformation in the region, and focuses more broadly on how media systems have to date evolved in these democratising states in the context of European standards (Council of Europe / EU).

Core issues include: media freedom, soft-censorship, pluralism, concentration, and regulation. The course's main questions are framed to examine the changing dynamic among the media, society and various stakeholders in these states under conditions of democratisation. The following issues will be discussed:

■ The role of the media as a driver of regime change.

■ The freedom and independence of the media.

■ The relationship of the media and political movements/parties supporting democratisation or reform.

■ The use by citizens of the Internet and social media for political activism and the degree to which this fills a void in the mainstream media.

■ Legal protection and regulation of the media.

■ How Council of Europe institutions and EU regulations and recommendations impact on media laws and freedoms in these states.


In comparative context, the course traces the different evolutionary trajectories of media systems in the region since 1990, evaluates which features and processes are common to which cases in the region, and engages with various explanations for commonalities and differences.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ define concepts such as media pluralism, concentration, censorship, soft-censorship and regulation and formulate comparative studies from the region regarding these;

■ make valid comparisons of CEE and FSU media systems with those from outside the region;

■ evaluate media systems from the region according to traditional and recent theoretical models;

■ describe Council of Europe and EU initiatives regarding the media and evaluate the extent to which these act as a normative framework for regulation and the protection of media freedoms in the region;

■ illustrate instances from the region (in comparative perspective) where states fail to meet European standards in protecting and regulating the media

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.