I. Introduction This master’s thesis represents study of female newspaper and magazine editors in Azerbaijan based on Western and Soviet definitions of journalism with explanation of local national features of this p



Yüklə 438.5 Kb.
səhifə1/9
tarix17.06.2018
ölçüsü438.5 Kb.
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9

I. Introduction
This master’s thesis represents study of female newspaper and magazine editors in Azerbaijan based on Western and Soviet definitions of journalism with explanation of local national features of this profession. The idea of conducting such research came right after completion of the 2008 research where we examined male editors-in-chief, deputy managing editors and department editors. Those journalism practitioners represented three age generations of Azerbaijani journalism: the old-school Soviet practitioners drilled to adhere party discipline; the war and crisis generation that experienced crash course in capitalism and learned to survive by all means and the youngest generation that came after economical stabilization of Azerbaijan after the year 2000.
However, the 2008 inquiry left an aftertaste of incompleteness since the research did not involve even a single female editor. The reason of course was, that women (with one exception1) editors were not represented in that research since none of them were employed in the largest nationwide newspapers that were part of the research sample. Having in mind argumentation of Linda Steiner (Steiner, 1997) on masculine bias inside of journalistic community the 2008 research levitated reasonable questions: are there no female editors in Azerbaijan and if they really exist what is their position in the typological frame derived from the research of Azerbaijani male editors. Logically, the 2012 research had to take a similar approach to the inquiry, resulting in almost identical conceptualization and question apparatus, with the gender aspect being the key modification to the scheme.
Despite the attention that the gender problematic received starting the 1990s, surprisingly there were only two attempts to explore female segment of mass media in Azerbaijan. Presented thesis is the third attempt to map female journalists working in Azerbaijani media. The first was a bilingual book “Elegant signatures” published by the Azerbaijan Journalist Women Association attempted to provide comprehensive information about 1412 female correspondents, editors and publishers that within the last century worked or currently work in Azerbaijani media. Even though the book claims to be of an encyclopedic value during our research we discovered that it omitted names of several editors that participated in our research even though some of them were in local newspapers for 41 years not to mention name of the first Azerbaijani “professional” woman journalist Safiga Afandizade.
The second endeavor was a joint survey of the International Journalist Federation and Azerbaijan Journalists Union aiming to map female journalist community and involving 200 journalist respondents. Data received after the first year of the two-year project were published in 2011 as a leaflet “Gender question in Azerbaijani media”. Much anticipated leaflet, however, limited itself to a brief description of gender legislature and general statement of well-known facts, that could be summed up in one sentence: “women’s representation in decision making bodies remains very low”. According to the publication women journalists constitute only 30-35 % of employees in countrywide distributed newspapers and 20-25 % of local newspapers while there are only 10 female editors in all the editorial-offices surveyed.
Disagreement over validity and generalizability of data collected by the two previous attempts and nonexistence of any other sources flagged a pressing need in a more serious academic effort to map landscape of female journalism in Azerbaijan. Simply put, current study of female journalism in our country is surrounded by unsystematic effort lacking consensus in methodology of conducting scientific inquiry. Among long-standing consequences of such state is enlarging knowledge gap that limits our understanding of current situation and thus prevents development of the whole media studies sector.
Our thesis, lacking necessary financial sponsorship, can be qualified as a first small effort to close that gap and present knowledge about important segment of female journalism – editors. The information provided in the course of this thesis may be of interest both to scholars and the general public since its aim is to reexamine and provide readable theoretic summary of academic thought on such concepts as journalistic profession, gatekeeping, deprofessionalization and proletarization, objectivity and instrumentalization of journalism as well as to endeavor application of all these products of Western media theory on post-Soviet reality of Azerbaijan. We cannot, due to the limited nature of this paper, account all possible and relevant fields of female journalism, however, we believe that this is a start and step by step we will be able to close the knowledge gap and advance to answering the grand question – why media in Azerbaijan are as they are?
I.1 Hybrid regime and media in Azerbaijan
The last two decades of turmoil caused by the disintegration of the USSR and territorial conflicts brought significant changes to societies of the CIS3 countries. One of them, Azerbaijan had to face the emergence of separatist sentiments in its Armenian community that resulted in demand for reunification of enclave Karabakh region with Armenian SSR and subsequent war with neighboring Armenia.
The war shaped many of the political developments in Azerbaijan by causing humiliation and a heavy financial burden due to the loss of territory (agricultural land), refugees, war wounded, in creased defense spending, etc. (Zinin/ Maleshenko 1994: 104–105; Gulaliyev 2005: 161; Kamrava 2001: 220). However, despite the initial loss and bad economic situation Azerbaijan by the end of 2000 managed to recover and make a gain of its natural resources and strategic position in the region. However, the recovery came at a cost: currently Azerbaijan stagnates in its political development unable to make progress toward either a democracy or a clear-cut authoritarianism.
The question of classifying political regime in Azerbaijan produced an enormous amount of literature where political scientists tried to tackle the issue. Out of the proposed classifications in our opinion the “hybrid regime” fits the most to describe reality of modern Azerbaijan. Finding the typology of authoritarian states provided by Juan Linz lacking transitional states, political scientist Larry Diamond expanded it adding the category of "hybrid regimes".4 Diamond’s “hybrid regimes” are authoritarian regimes that can be found in pseudo democratic states that are neither fully democratic nor fully authoritarian.
Yet, examining political regime in Azerbaijan with a closer look gives less auspicious results. Diamond’s hybrid regimes serve just a transitional stage to the process of transformation on axis authoritarian – democratic, while Azerbaijan even though broadly matching the classification shows stable resistance to farther advancement in either direction. Major factor in the stability formula plays clientelism and more importantly nepotism that corrupt almost every institution of Azerbaijani society.

Political opposition is denied access to state or private media that are capable to reach masses. Such inequality is most visible in the case of access to television or radio channels that even though are not state owned [except AzTv] belong exclusively to persons close to the government or can be easily silenced through license revocation5. In terms of printed press political regime allows greater pluralism and diversity than in case of electronic media. In 1995 Azerbaijan abolished the state controlled censorship institution and later democratized registration of new titles, resulting in more than 3500 media outlets being registered in Azerbaijan by 2012.6


However, existence of independent newspapers and magazines in Azerbaijan is doubtful since private media are in the cobweb of patronage deals, proxy arrangements or management cronyism making them quasi or semi-independent media outlets at best. More elaborate description of the process offers Karol Jakubowicz pointing that media in post-Soviet Russia lack ‘external independence’ the feature that is also evident in Azerbaijan. The external independence is the existence of a political, economic, legal and regulatory framework that allows a publisher or a broadcaster to operate without outside interference (Jakubowicz 2009).
In case of Russia the best illustration would be the case of the independent NTV television network that was taken over by the quasi-state company Gasprom after airing critical materials about Putin in 2000-2001 (Lipman and McFaul 2001). Similar case in Azerbaijan happened on 18th of February 2009 when popular Caucasian internet resource Day.Az published an anti-Putin interview with Boris Berezovsky and was closed the same day with subsequent transfer of ownership to pro-government chief of Trend news agency7.
Yet, the mere ownership information according to Jakubowicz does not tell us much about professional autonomy or its subordination because it, and here he quotes Gurevitch, is “the overall cultural mix . . . that will tend to fix the position of the media on [the subordination - autonomy] continuum.”8
Table 1. Comparison of Statutory protection for freedom of mass information in the post-Soviet countries. Source: Richter 2007

In other words, practice of professional autonomy depends on editor and journalists and the level of their conformism with political realities (Jakubowicz 2009). To extend upon the views of Jakubowicz on post-Soviet regimes Russian scholar Andrei Richter states that some post-Soviet regimes like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia reached the point when definition of freedom of speech and its practical implementation match. Azerbaijan, however, despite of having one of the most liberal media legislatures (see Table 1) falls in the second group of countries where political regimes limit freedom of speech and freedom of press reducing it to “freedom to seek, receive, produce and disseminate mass information except when by legislation on the media”( Richter 2007 : 316). Such development in combination with nonexistence of independent judiciary system damages media credibility and causes drainage of the readership base bringing the process of institutionalization of journalistic autonomy in Azerbaijan to almost complete halt. Under these circumstances editors as well as ordinary journalists have to make a selection between economic survival and journalistic ethics leaving room for professionalism impediment.



I.2 Journalism ethics

A substantial amount of theoretical work has been invested to study the phenomenon of the journalistic profession. The ambiguity that the craft presents led to a long lasting debate where historians, sociologists, ethics and communications scholars have pondered the question if journalism is a real profession with all necessary attributes or a craft with low entry requirements. In this subchapter we will present brief overview of some keystone concepts and scholarships that review the issue. For the start, we will review concept of “journalism ethics” with a focus on professionalization of journalists in the USSR.


I.2.1. Journalism – profession or craftsmanship

Contemporary journalism scholars, as well as journalistic community itself, still debate whether it is possible to accept journalism as a profession. In Jaromir Volek and Jan Jirak’s (Volek, Jirák 2006: 22) words, “the debate whether the journalistic activity may be considered as a professional activity with stable and settled rules shared by an overwhelming majority of journalists has been going on intensively at least for over the past century, when the professionalism criterion became perceived as an institutional instrument of its social prestige9


Consolidation of the journalism as a profession started in the beginning of the twentieth century, most notably in the United States, when there was an effort to organize a basically disorganized group of writers into a consolidated group (Schudson 1978; Schiller 1981; Zelizer 2004) and resulted in completion of what McNair calls social construct named journalism (McNair 1998).
Over the years sociological science, most notably Anglo-American has generated a considerable amount of thought10 to come up with more or less precise set of conditions for a craft to be classified as a profession. The list of conditions is following: certain level of skill, autonomy, service orientation, licensing procedures, testing of competence, organization, codes of conduct, training and educational programs (e.g., Moore 1970). In other words, to qualify as a profession, a craft must possess body of specialized knowledge that will allow professional gain authority via specialized education and training. Furthermore, a professional will obtain a large degree of autonomy from an outside censure and will be controlled by an internal code of ethics and be sanctioned by fellow professionals through compulsory membership in a professional organization. On a service orientation level, a profession offers society an irreplaceable service that is associated only with this specific profession like such classic professions as law or medicine (Johnson 1972; 1981).
In essence, the process of professionalization displays two distinguishable levels – structural and attitude-related. The structural level embraces education and profession entry requirements while attitude-related level as is obvious from the name is defined by one’s attitude towards profession and its mission (Valiyev 2008). Yet, many critics point out that journalism meets these traits only conditionally and constitutes rather a semi-profession (Volek 2007). Journalism has no formal entry requirements for new members and does not posses fully systematic knowledge obtained in the process of education and required for conduct of professional activity. Journalists are adaptive and are expected to show expertise in different subjects and that illustrates their flexibility to choose their field of competence as well as choose what kind of public service ideal they serve. Moreover, it is a common theme that journalistic organizations have, with few exceptions, very little impact on day to day practice and serve journalists as a forum for exchange of ideas rather than a controlling regulatory body (Valiyev 2008).
While such scholars like Randal A. Beam (1990) with his analysis of the literature on the character of journalistic work state that journalists support most of the classical criteria of professionalism in the Wilensky’s definition scholars like Hallin and Mancini (2004) argue that degree of journalists’ professionalization “depends on the definition of professional and the indicators used. But a variety of possible measures of professionalism reviewed here suggest that there are still many differences among journalists from the 21 countries and territories represented in The Global Journalist book” (Weaver 1997 in press).

Weaver’s national differentiation idea is seconded and expanded upon by Norwegian scholars Svennik Hoyer and Epp Lauk warning that:

Theories of professionalization are too individualistically oriented to be applicable to a culturally sensitive and organisationally anchored occupation like journalism. European journalism was only to some extent a copy of the American «original». We

do not think that the profession of journalism develops independent of the various social and political systems to which it belongs. However, in many countries journalism has acquired similar elements of professionalism over time, as anticipated by sociological theories, but not in the succession prescribed. The overall impression from our overview, however, is that the self-perception and the professional values among journalists change with the national and cultural contexts (Hoyer, Lauk 2003).


That being said, it is necessary for the purpose of our research to review traits of professionalism in the Soviet Union and more notably, look at definition of the journalistic profession in the Soviet Union. To lighten up our discussion, we would like to mention the joke that Wilbur Schramm presents in the seminal work Four Theories of the Press: The Authoritarian, Libertarian, Social Responsibility and Soviet Communist Concepts of What the Press Should Be and Do coauthored with Siebert and Peterson.
The US journalist says to the Soviet:

You are not free. The government tells you what to write!”

The Soviet journalist replies:

You are not free. Corporate interests and big business tell you what to write!”


Both heroes of this joke represent different professional value systems that a research must take into consideration studying the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Union media workers. Journalism in the Soviet Union according to Arno’s definition “submitted to party discipline, leaving the definition of truth in news to those in a position to know, namely, ideologists and political leaders”(Arno 2009: 174)
However, this definition can be misleading, since majority of the studies done by Western scientists before the break up of the Soviet Union were based on accessible from the outside sources like official documents produced by the communist party and the USSR Journalist Union, some data collected by the Soviet universities and shared with the international community, journalists’ articles published in newspapers and magazines. One of the few attempts to study the USSR journalism from the inside was done by Rand Corporation in 1978-1981 with its comparative study of the Soviet and the Polish media (Dzirkals 1982).
That effort did not bring desired results since as the researchers pointed out:
…it has not been possible to have an inside look at the ways in which media material is initiated, processed, approved, and controlled. We could not look inside a Soviet editorial office to see what goes on there. Knowing only the output of the media, Western analysts inferred what they could about its meanings, but with only a vague idea about how its produced. (Dzirkals et al. 1982,4)
The truth is probably somewhere in between. In the book written during Gorbachev’s perestroika11 The truth of authority: ideology and communication in the Soviet Union American scholar Thomas F. Remington (1988, 158) described professionalism of Soviet journalists bearing on four aspects: “the nature of journalism training in school, the lessons that early exposure to the journalistic practice teaches, the role of the Journalist’s Union, and finally, the social standing of journalism in Soviet society”.
Comparing Soviet journalist’s education and the practice Remington (1985:491) observes cleavage between the two:

The curriculum offers a smattering of knowledge in a wide range of subjects but leaves the students without firm claim to a single body of expertise that would define them as professionals. Even practical and technical skills they develop often have only limited application to the job they take after graduation.


Regarding influence and social standing of journalist in the Soviet society, Remington points out that beginner journalist receives modest salary of 120-140 rubles, while seasoned journalist earns 200 rubles per month and editor of central or republican newspaper receives 500 rubles. However, high salary is not the only bonus, to be an editor in the Soviet newspaper means to be “figure of political weight in the jurisdiction to which organization is attached. He enters the nomenklatura12 of the corresponding or higher party organization, and in most cases he is a member of the bureau of the party committee on his level. (Remington 1985:494). Offered perspective of social status advancement was a good incentive for journalists to adhere political course of the party. However, this dependency on the Party’s favor in getting high social status deemed the professional organization – the Journalists’ Union powerless over political instrumentalization of media since journalists were willingly turning into “an extension of party bureaucracy” (Ibid. 499-503).
I.2.2. Western vs. Soviet Objectivity

Unquestionably, the real core value of the Western professional journalism is constituted in strive for objectivity. Journalism objectivity as a value emerged in the United States in the late nineteenth century in reaction to tackle “sensationalistic excesses and the blunt commercialism of yellow journalism in the 1890”. (Hentoff 2006) The all reforming positivism also had its influence in driving journalists to accept objectivity as a professional standard since objective reporting made their vocation more respectable and socially responsible. The reforming impetus of progressivism also spurred journalists to detach themselves from crass circulation battles and fight for social enlightenment. Michael Schudson, in Discovering the News (1978), argues that professionalism was a way to strive for more objective reporting. While in Dan Schiller’s view (1979) acceptance of objectivity as journalistic value helped commercial newspapers acquire legitimacy in the eyes of society as watchdogs of the public good. This is the key to understanding Denis McQuail (1999) when he notes on objectivity: „media outlets are expected to comply with certain standards in the process of creation of media products. One of the key standards is the quality of information distributed by media (McQuail 1999).

Even though objective journalism became means for journalists to gain autonomy on pressures of business and political instrumentalization, yet the objectivity immediately came under attack of critics. While some scholars like Walter Lipman envisioned that objectivity will dwarf autonomy restrictions and make news a „precise in proportion to the precision with which the event is recorded,“ others notably Jon Katz (1997) or David Paletz and Robert Entman argued that objective journalism is an oxymoron and media’s objectivity is a method of control by business management over journalists that flattens in grayness of standardization news content and protects the status quo. In their perception media practice is corrupted with „consensus values and elite perceptions“ that cause media to swing opinion when necessary and „bend in conformity“.

Journalists work in bureaucratic organizations characterized by hierarchy, division of labor and routinization of working operations through relatively standardized rules and procedures...The purpose is efficiency in the gathering, describing and transmitting news... The result: packs and reliance on official sources.

However, some go even farther in their skepticism. Douglas Birkhead (1986) argues that journalists are not professionals in the true meaning of this word since they do not posses distinctive professional ethics that separates them from needs of their employers. In other words, as long as journalists adhere to objective reporting and maintain neutral view of events, they keep their professional integrity. However, since stances of their „objective“ reporting overlap with stances of corporate world the last ones in fact substitute journalistic and are hailed as the profession’s goals and values.

Somewhat paradoxically, but this critique coincides with the critique imposed on the Western concept by the Soviet journalism school that so brightly was illustrated in the joke at the end of the previous chapter. Feeling the gaps in the objectivity concept practitioners of objective journalism avoid to be trapped in the philosophical abyss of debates on means and values of objectivity and rather concentrate on methods of achieving it in practice. (Valiyev 2008)

Their goal is to eliminate biases that journalists bring to reporting by separation of facts from opinion. Thus, proponents of objectivity believe, that if the news reporting is based upon facts that can be verified it will lead to an objective coverage.

The byproduct that rose from the debate became trend when journalists in an effort to plug up the holes in objectivity theory were encouraged to separate in their work facts from opinion. The movement’s incentive was best expressed by Lipman (1972) who stated, “penultimately, it was hoped that the extraction of reporter biases would yield a more pure form of news reporting based singularly on facts -not absolute facts, but verified, consensual facts”. The move lead to evolution of scholar thought and blossomed into the solid conceptual framework [see table 2] on objectivity based on Jorgen Westerstahl’s (1983) research of how Swedish public broadcasting met its legal obligations of impartiality. (McQuail 1999: 196) Subsequent theory proposed that besides factuality, objectivity furthermore depends on an impartial presentation of obtained information. (Valiyev 2008)

Thus, Westerstahl’s objectivity model served for many media professionals as a way out from philosophical dead-end and translated objectivity into practical technique that served etalon for fair and factual reporting. This model of objectivity demands journalist to gather as many facts as possible before drawing any conclusions, verify the spelling of all names; understand the information to be reported; avoiding unwarranted assumptions; place the story in the most relevant context; and consistently seek statements from all relevant parties in a story (Metzler 1979). Obedience to these procedures allows masses to trust media on the basis of belief in media’s objective reporting. (McQuail, 1983:146) Judith Lichtenberg (1996: 225) in this matter notes that she believes that objectivity, assuming that it entwines with such core journalistic values as truth, fairness, neutrality, and the absence of value judgment objectivity – is the cornerstone of the professional ideology of journalists in liberal democracies.




Table 2: Criteria of Objectivity according Westerstahl Source: Valiyev 2008

Yet, if the reader remembers the joke from the previous chapter, Soviet journalism operated with values completely opposite to those of Western journalism. American sociologist Alex Inkeles in his book Public Opinion in Soviet Russia (1950) provided first accounts of the Soviet mass communication system. Later in 1968 in his second book Social change in Soviet Russia Inkeles noted:

“Bolshevik theory rejects the notion of freedom of the press as it is understood in the West. Objectivity as a goal of journalistic effort is similarly rejected. The resultant concept of what is news is remarkably different from that held by Western journalists. The private affairs of prominent persons in political and artistic life, and many other elements which are important as news in the United States, play no role in the Soviet newspaper. The main ingredients of Soviet news are those events which have come to characterize the effort of the Communist Party to cement its control of Soviet society and to press the people on against all obstacles toward rapid industrialization of the country. (Inkeles 1968: 276-277)

The reason for the Soviet journalism to turn a blind eye on Western sensationalism and celebrity dirty laundry coverage is the initial Lenin’s guidelines given in the 1917. After 1917 the press was taken from private ownership and transferred to state institutions (see table 3). The Great Soviet Encyclopedia offers following information:

The party routinely manages the development process and practice of all chains of party-Soviet press. During the years of the Soviet rule and under the direct leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet government a throughout press system was implemented in the USSR. In 1974, the press system of party-Soviet press consisted of following: printed media of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the USSR Supreme Council, the Supreme Councils of Soviet Republics; joint media outlets of Central Committee of the CP and the Councils of Ministers of Soviet Republics; regional committees of the CPSU, the Supreme Councils and the Councils of Ministers of Autonomous Republics; media outlets of regional, provincial, municipal and district party committees and local worker committees; press organs of factories and institutions.

In formulating its task, Lenin insisted that primary task of media is to propagate the Communist party’s policies and engage in the ‘raising’ and ‘education’ of the ‘masses’. (Inkeles, 1950) Brian McNair gives us more elaborate explanation to the observation made above by the pioneer of Soviet journalism studies.





Table 3: Soviet system according to Siebert’s Four Theories of Press13

Lenin being a materialist argued that since all societies are divided along economical, political and cultural class boundaries, the idea that there is a room in journalism for an absolute truth is completely false. Bourgeois journalists wrote something what was true for bourgeoisie and was not necessarily true for others. Thus to obscure their work to be objective was according to Lenin, an ideological fiction sole purpose of which was to prepare wide social acceptance of dominant bourgeois world view14. (McNair 2004:73-74) Rutger von Seth in his The language of the press in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia quotes Daniel Tarschys: “The Soviet press did not address the concerns of the broad population since if anything media were “above all a mouthpiece for propagating the regime’s official political standpoints and for expressing the managerial class’s perspectives on the practical implementation of the official policies”. (Tarschys, 1979: 183)

What happened to the values of the Soviet journalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union? According to the Russian scholar Andrei Richter independence and abolishment of state censorship in the 1990s brought the sharp decline of morality among journalists in Russia as well as other ex-Soviet republics. Many assumed that press freedom meant total lack of restraint resulting in, as points out (Zasurski 1998:68), journalism operating outside boundaries of ethical principles. The immorality of press resulted in the sharp decline of readership base that logically crashed circulation numbers and newspaper revenues all over the ex-Soviet republics. (Richter 2007: 286-287)

I.2.3 Political Instrumentalization

In light of the previous chapter where we discussed concept of objectivity in the Western and the Soviet media systems it is not surprising that modern post-Soviet media loosing Soviet ideological guidance and disposing no knowledge of the Western objectivity sank after the capitalism crash-course of the 1990s into the abyss of journalistic promiscuity. Karol Jakubowicz (1995) for example found that journalists in Poland were as driven by private publishers in the post-Communist era as they had been by party commissars while under Soviet domination. (Zelizer 2004:156)


According to Russian scholar Chramchikhin (2003:136) “the well-known and barely-concealed venality of many journalists has led people to assume that virtually any article on any subject of importance has been “spun” order, which makes any kind of serious debate nigh impossible” Even though, the scholar in this passage refers to the Russian context, yet the same is true for Azerbaijan15 where fairness is held hostage by political affiliation or financial donorship. Hallin and Mancini (2004) explain media instrumentalization using the example of Il Giorno (The Day) newspaper owned by Enrico Mattei, the head of ENI oil company. Later Mattei acknowledged that Il Giorno owned its creation to the ENI that felt a necessity to have an instrument for intervention in the public decision-making process. Thus, the newspaper became a tool designed to function beyond the diffusion of news pedaling support for the oil company. Instrumentilized media do not serve public good but are designed to advocate and express economical or political aspirations of their owners and as Hallin and Mancini point out “professionalization level in media will be low since journalists will lack autonomy except to the extent that they enjoy it due to high political positions, will lack a common culture and sense of social purpose differing from purposes of political leaders affiliated with media, no criteria that will guide practice of journalism and media will serve particular interests rather than functioning as a “public trust.” (Hallin, Mancini, 2004) Azerbaijani media suffer predominantly from political instrumentalization16.
I.2.4 Deprofessionalization and proletarization

The rapid advancement of technology more evident with evolvement of space program in the beginning of 1960s brought prospects that lead many sociology scientists to embrace view that the process of society professionalization is gaining momentum while occupations like blue collar jobs are destined to be pressed out to periphery. The idea behind was that with technology’s evolvement work will require more bureaucratically organized regulations, technical expertise and specific education to manage it while promising higher professional autonomy and social status. However, the euphoria of throughout professionalization perspective did not last long and already in 1969 Marie Haug and Marvin Sussman with their research Professional Autonomy and the Revolt of the Client (Haug, Sussman 1969) focusing on relationship between clients and professionals in the context of social unrest stood in the roots of deprofessionalization studies. According to Haug (1977), professions lose control and status through a commoditization and loss of ownership over the professional body of knowledge.


However, the question of deprofessionalization in journalism carries an inbuilt problem. The collocation gives us a logical incentive that deprofessionalization is a state when professionalism was already achieved and now is in its demise. However, in the previous subchapter we already pointed out, that journalism does not answer all traits of classical profession definition making it a semi-profession at best. To solve this problem Dave Healy (1992) proposes, elaborate in its simplicity solution, to consider process of professionalization a dynamic rather than static process where semi-professions continuously try to reach full professionalization while those well-established professions try to protect it and instead of categories like profession, semi-profession, non profession to use continuum. Professionalization then is a continuum, and deprofessionalization represents movement on that continuum. (Healy 1992:38-39)
According to Raelin (1989) and Keidai Ronshu (2006) deprofessionalization is a process when professional attributes in the course of time loose their values caused by social, economic, demographic or political trends. For example a profession may become deprofessionalized by not sufficiently coping with a decline in the importance and vitality of its services, monopoly over such practices as admission, training and licensing. A profession may also lose mastery over its own knowledge base or when its ethical standards are compromised by self-interest or narrowly vested group of interests (Toren, 1975).
Another negative trend often mentioned, especially in the post-Soviet context (Pasti 2007) in combination with deprofessionalization is proletarization of journalism. Proletarization can be defined as a process where professionals become subject to new forms of control eroding their status as professionals (Haug, 1973). It occurs mainly due to financial instability when professionals are pushed to work with non-professionals and gradually loose distinction between professional and non-professional. (Valiyev 2008)
Yet, in 1984 Eliot Freidson in his article “The Changing Nature of Professional Control” examined Haug’s deprofessionalization and proletarianization theses and argued that it is not correct since professions were able to keep their autonomy and status and in society by promotion of legal supporting and governing structures in a form of organizations. (Freidson 1984: 1-22) In Haug’s defense it is necessary to point out one important aspect: Freidson reviewed only professional organizations in fully established professions not focusing on individual “professionals” like for example journalists.
In order to examine these two issues in the context of a post-Soviet country it is necessary to review case of the Czech Republic. An elaborate research “Czech Journalist” co-authored by Jaromir Volek and Jan Jirak provide solid data suggesting that the process of deprofessionalization and proletarization of Czech journalists is directly connected to diminishment of professional standards and lowering of the bar to enter journalism caused by a massive exodus of experienced journalists after “the velvet revolution” in the first half of 1990s. (Valiyev 2008)
A new generation of professionally untutored and easily-manipulated journalists - beginners appeared and the middle generation disappeared. This trend was especially significant in local and regional media where we identified the strongest effects of proletarization (Volek 2007). Journalists working here are not only less educated but they are overtaxed and their average income is under average income of whole population. Last but not least they have no support of professional organizations and trade unions which have low socio-political status and very weak respect among journalist (ibid).

Thus, in case of this ex-Warsaw pact country it is obvious that journalists are affected by negative trends of deprofessionalization and proletarization. The disillusionment in the selected career choice is inflicted by heavy pressure of consumerism and marketing logic that causes loss of professional autonomy (Volek, 2008).


I.2.5 Gender in Azerbaijani media

In order to give temporal depth to the gender issue in the Azerbaijani journalism we need to review some historical processes that took place in modern history of Azerbaijan. The country situated at the shores of the Caspian Sea for the last two centuries went through a significant process of national identity metamorphosis that took it from an agglomeration of medieval Muslim principalities, through one century of Czarist Russia occupation, the short-lived Azerbaijan Democratic Republic formed in 1918 and 70 years of communist occupation towards the independent state. The near century rule of the Czarist Russian Empire over territories of Azerbaijan brought along with negative features of colonization 17 such positive developments as the reduction of theocratic rule and transfer of court system from Islamic theocracy into hands of secular authorities, development of road and railway infrastructures, birth of manufacturing industry and appearance of western type of education.


In this respect it is necessary to mention irreplaceable contribution to the birth of female journalism in Azerbaijan of the oil mogul and philanthropist Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev who in 1911 on January 22nd established newspaper "Isiq” [Azeri: light]. The newspaper became the cradle of female journalism as well as gave Azerbaijan its first female editor Khadija Alibeyova. Though the newspaper existed only for two years it paved the road for other females to enter the profession.
Among several records that the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic managed to instill in less than two years of its existence was the fact that it became the first Muslim state in the world to give females right to vote and propose equality in law for women and men.18 Not to mention that it was that period of time (1919-1920) when the first “professional” Azerbaijani female journalist Safiga Afandizade started to publish her articles in the official state newspaper “Azerbaijan”19.
With these premises in mind, the most valuable accomplishment achieved within the 70 years spent in the Soviet Union, became emancipation of Azerbaijani women. After bringing Azerbaijan under communist control, Soviets initiated campaign to crush dominant position of the religion in the society and emancipate women from religious oppression constituted in a form of compulsory veiling, education restrictions and pre-mature marriages. It took several decades before they could reach the goal and make females active part of the society20.
The Soviet rule aside from years of totalitarianism and the ideological clout gave Azerbaijani population mass employment, compulsory primary and secondary education, enhanced western technologies and science, pulling the country even farther apart from the rest of Muslim world, including those Azerbaijanis left in Iran.
The communist ideology of the early Soviet years, brought new ideal of a woman – builder of socialism that required Azerbaijani women to discard centuries of cultural stereotypes and combine their efforts in formulating, developing and invigorating new mythology of socialist mass culture and journalism. Pivotal role in this campaign played established in 1923 magazine “Eastern Woman” – the official organ of the Azerbaijani Women’s Council edited by bright female journalist Ayna Sultanova.
Moreover, the Soviet period offered women in Azerbaijan opportunities to engage in political and nation building processes through their presence in high political offices within the Communist Party frame. Thus, for example in the years 1920-1921 Russian female revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai was appointed the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Azerbaijan. In 1930 Zahra Kerimova became the first editor of “Azerbaijani woman” magazine, eleven years later she became the first female minister of social welfare and in 1952 she became the first female member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Azerbaijani SSR.21 Among other distinctive achievements of that period, can be mentioned the first in the entire Caucasus female pilot Leyla Mamedbekova, the first female naval captain Sovkat Selimova, the first eastern female movie director Gamar Salamzade or the first female Ph.D. in Oriental studies Aida Imanguliyeva.
The break of the Soviet Union, Independence, Karabakh war and free market reforms (1991 to 1993.) can be regarded as a triumph of the new gender mythology where gender stereotypes have replaced old Soviet ideological ones. High levels of political mobilization and resulting political instrumentalization of media in the 1990s caused that women in that time period were not attracted to newspapers as experts. Speaking of that time period, however, it is impossible to omit female journalist Salatyn Askerova that became an icon of female journalist’s bravery and posthumously was awarded the title “National Hero of Azerbaijan”. The special correspondent of “Molodezh Azerbaijana” [Russian: The Youth of Azerbaijan] newspaper Askerova frequently visited the conflict zone and provided press coverage. On January 9, 1991, Askerova was on her way from Lachin to Shusha to prepare a story for the newspaper. At the 6th kilometer of the Lachin - Shusha highway, in vicinity of Azerbaijani village of Böyük Galaderesi, the UAZ she was traveling in was ambushed by Armenian militia. The investigators counted 113 bullet holes in the vehicle. Such massive barrage resulted in four deaths: Salatyn Askerova and three Red Army officers: Lieutenant-Colonel O. Larionov, Major I. Ivanov and Sergeant I. Goyek.
The 1995-1996 brought a change in media coverage of gender issues and became the period of search for new standards. According to Azerbaijan Gender Information Center in 1996 media monitoring showed that only 1% of all Azerbaijani newspapers’ pages was dedicated to female stories.22
On the normative level the new Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic enshrined equality of the sexes and created a legal basis for the active participation of both men and women in the process of democratic state-building. According to Article 25 of the Constitution, men and women have equal rights and freedom. The State shall guarantee equality of rights and freedoms for all, regardless of race, nation, religion, language, sex, origin, property, official positions, beliefs, attitudes toward political parties, trade unions and other voluntary organizations.

Moreover, the Article 55 of the Constitution states that all citizens of Azerbaijan regardless of their gender have the right to elect and be elected to public office, and to participate in referendums. Seeing that this is not enough to ensure female participation and establishment of the gender balance in state institutions of the Azerbaijan Republic President Heydar Aliyev on March 6, 2000 issued a decree "On the implementation of state female policy." Yet, despite initially promising developments it did not result in gender equality. The low level of female advancement in senior state positions can be explained by lack of appropriate conditions and opportunities on the entry.


Women in modern capitalistic Azerbaijan, experience inequality firstly in their financial status since employers prefer men rather than women. The reason is stereotype that household routine and children will distract woman from her work not to mention pregnancy that will leave employer with an employee that will be incapacitated for several months. According to the Deputy Chairman of State Committee on Family, Women and Children Sadagat Gahramanova Azerbaijan men dominate almost all spheres of Azerbaijani society and women are not actually involved in decision making process.23 The problem lies in patriarchal stereotypes that safeguard male dominance through promotion of negative connotations that female emancipation receives in Azerbaijani society.
However, this practice is not a unique feature of Azerbaijan and male “patriarchal” domination already for many decades draws attention of feministic thought that elaborated the term “symbolic annihilation” to describe it. Marc Hooghe and Knut De Swert (2009) argue that females can be marginalized through male interdiction of female humanity, trivializing or mocking them, or by reducing them to a single ‘feminine’ characteristic (Tuchman et al. 1978). Among other numerous examples of this line of research is George Gerbner (1978) who stated that male dominated mass media are “cultivating resistance” towards installation of gender equality. Thus even though the West lived through several waves of emancipation and the gender equality is under constant control the media still use masculine bias in their worldview (e.g., Steiner 1997; Carter et al. 1998) . To conclude this part it is necessary to say that the fact that females are still underrepresented in all major societal institutions, including the area of this research - journalism, despite of attention that the problem receives suggests that male domination is only a tip of the iceberg and more complex processes that are responsible for the status quo still remain hidden. (Marc, Hooghe & Knut De Swert 2009, 4)
I.3 Editors and their functions

Initially, journalism research was only a part of a wider paradigm of sociological research that studied “discrete journalistic practices” that could be easily researched. (Barbie Zelizer 2004) However, after the World War II the situation changed and the first area to come into the focal light was the decision making process: scholars wanted to reveal how news actually become news. As a result a gate keeping theory was introduced in 1950. According to Shoemaker (1996):

Gate keeping is the process by which countless messages are reduced to the few we are offered in our daily newspapers and television news programs. Gate keeping is such an essential part of the news gathering and dissemination process because every potential news story cannot be gathered, and, from among those items gathered, they all cannot be disseminated.”

Originated upon work of social psychologist Kurt Lewin (1947) the gatekeeping theory was applied to mass communication by Manning White becoming one of the first to be applied in journalism research paradigm. In his ground breaking research, White presented his week long observations of the story selection process by a single newspaper editor Mr. Gates, that showed that editor’s decision were subjective. White’s research and its critique paved the road for the development of the gate keeping theory by several other researchers (McNelly, 1959; Gieber, 1964; Bass, 1969; Dimmick, 1974).


Anthony Gieber (1956) studied 16 telegraph editors of Wisconsin dailies and questioned White’s thesis about influence of editor’s personal decisions arguing instead that news selection depended not on personal preferences of the editor but on such factors as deadline, newspaper production requirements and a number of competing news items. (Gieber 1964, p. 175).
However, fundamental modification to the gate keeping theory represents John McNelly’s research (1959) that expanded on White’s research and introduced concept of multiple gatekeepers. McNelly argued that White’s model (see table 4) incorrectly limits communication flow to one gatekeeper yet, before news reach editor for processing they have to pass through another gatekeeper – reporter that will decide to transform an event into a news story that eventually will reach the editor. Abraham Bass (1969) critique of White’s and McNelly’s research for their simplification of the gatekeeping process brought the “double action internal news flow” that presented gatekeeping process as flow unprocessed news into consumer ready product and differentiated roles of “news gatherers” and “news processors”. (Roberts 2005 : 9) The idea behind it is simple: without a journalist editor will have no news to work with thus making journalist important pillar in the process of selection or rejection of news.
As it was mentioned in the previous subchapter, for the first time Azerbaijani woman took hold of an editor’s chair in the 1911. During the Soviet period the trend grew with more women embracing socially active roles and filling important offices. However, all editors had to be practitioners of the Soviet journalism model that was effectively reinforced by their compulsory membership in the CPSU and the Union of Journalists of Azerbaijan SSR. Moreover, as we discussed earlier in the Western vs Soviet objectivity subchapter Soviet editor-in-chief was a high-ranking party dignitary and a member of party nomenklatura thus making him the most important cog in Soviet-journalism machinery that shifted balance in the gatekeeping functions away from line editors and journalists towards editor-in-chief that implemented the party’s ordain.
Despite, of transformation that the system took after the collapse of the Soviet Union the principle remains the corner stone in editorial houses that remain under management of the “old school” professionals. Peculiar fact about post-Soviet media system is that while in the West media publishers and owners usually are beyond the newspaper hierarchy in Azerbaijan it is not uncommon for them to appoint themselves to the post of editor-in-chief leaving everything else in hands of their deputy that acts as the éminences grises, i.e. unofficial editor-in-chief of a newspaper24.
Speaking of editors and their roles in the post-Soviet media systems it is necessary to mention the inquiry “Ethical World of Czech journalists” where Eva Souhradova examined for the first time ethical values of Czech editors-in-chief and their deputies. The qualitative research involved 22 editors working in Czech newspapers, TV and radio stations and provided a typology consisting of two categories of editors: ethical idealists and ethical rationalist (Souhradova 2002). The following research has scrutinized 14 female editors of Azerbaijani newspapers and magazines with circulation above 1500 copies and also presents a typology.



Dostları ilə paylaş:
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9


Verilənlər bazası müəlliflik hüququ ilə müdafiə olunur ©muhaz.org 2017
rəhbərliyinə müraciət

    Ana səhifə