Yuliya Filippovska
Graduate Student of the Master’s Program in Journalism 2006,
School of Journalism, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine

The Role of Mass Media in the New Transformation of Ukrainian Society

"No more prizes for forecasting the rain. Only prizes for building the arks."
- Don Beck

On the onset of ХХІ century the Era of information technology, which is progressing at a high speed now, allows such phenomena as alternative media, we media, citizen journalism, etc. to appear. The new 'network society' emerges. The new world order is taking place around the world, shifting the national and geographical borders, distributing power between "producers" and "consumers", between those who ought to bring changes (state leaders) and those who are interested and want to bring changes (people, movements, society). Sooner or later it will have an impact upon the Ukrainian society and its evolution as well. Besides, there are other forces that influenced significant societal changes in Ukraine during and after the Orange Revolution (2004). And the roots of these forces are dating back centuries ago, when Ukrainians suffered a lot during the numerous fights for national identity and independence.

In the context of transformative changes on a global and local levels, in the times when new challenges and opportunities in the information space arise, the old role of mass media (as a propaganda tool, and a tool used by political and business elites to influence, manipulate and exert power upon public opinion) should be reconsidered and revised – again and again. For the world is a living organism that evolves and requires all its spheres to adjust to a new setting, where uncertainty abounds. While some doubt that the role of mass media will be in demand in a while, the mass media representatives should discover new angles of their profession, build on strengths and prove the importance of their role and necessity of their talent and professionalism in the era of 'information chaos'. In this paper there is a possible recipe on mass media development in the nearest future. There is also the analysis of the mass media development in Ukraine in 1987-2006, the overview of the global changes in society and a study on how these changes may affect the information sphere and the media sphere in specific. Besides, a new definition (while not that new, in fact) of the role of mass media is outlined in the paper: the role of a mediator, the dialogue convener, who creates a public space, involves people and nurtures conversations in the interests of society, not political or business elites. Such a role is critical for mass media in young democratic nation of Ukraine, where development depends on the political activity and participation of citizens, their engagement in significant societal issues and decision-making processes.

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Peace Institute Slovenian Communication Association Dep't of Media Studies