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Professionalization of political parties’ communication in the Czech Republic?

Barbora Petrova
Masaryk University
Barbora Petrova
Masaryk University
Open Panel

Abstract

The paper grasps the field of political communication, more precisely the political parties’ public relations, in one of the “new democracies” in the CEE. The author looks for explanation and better understanding of the current changes and new trends in the way Czech Republic’s parties and politicians approach the voters and media occurring in the past two election cycles. Based on the theoretical framework of professionalization introduced by Holtz-Bacha, Lilleker, Negrine, Norris, Scammell and Stromback as well as and using the Campaign professionalization index CAMPROF developed by Roemmelle and Gibson the author seeks for the answers on the questions ‘What is the level of the professionalization of the Czech parties’ communication?’ and ‘How does a ‘professional party’ looks like?’ The papers is a set of descriptive case studies followed by a qualitative analysis of the parties’ PR work and its major influence based on the data collected throughout interviews with key informants and field observation. The author will argue that despite the increasing level of parties communication and public relations, which is slowly approaching the level of the Western countries, the parties are still far from communicating as professional, transparent and strategically-oriented organization. The major driving forces for upgraded and more professional manners in communication is not the influence of the US, but rather the domestic competition, own previous political experience of the candidate or current financial situation.