IV Edition (2021)

Published: 03.02.2021

The Media and Democracy Karol Jakubowicz Award 2021: Winner and Nominees

Six publications by scholars from Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America are nominated for this year’s edition of the Media and Democracy Karol Jakubowicz Award. The Award was granted to Public Service Media and the Law: Theory and Practice in Europe (Routledge 2021) – a recent book by Karen Donders (Belgium).

On April 14, 2021, the Selection Committee reviewed books submitted for this year’s edition of the Media and Democracy Karol Jakubowicz Award – an award supporting significant publications in media systems, media policies, media ethics, and public service media. Scholarly contributions to the research and practice of media and democracy in 2020 and 2021 were submitted by members of the Leadership team of the International Association of Public Service Media Researchers (IAPMR), Editors, and Associate Editors of “Central European Journal of Communication” (CEJC), previous Award winners and the Selection Committee.

The Committee evaluated all of the submitted publications through three highly interwoven criteria:

1) methodological correctness,

2) contribution to media knowledge, and

3) impact on democratic society.


The Media and Democracy Karol Jakubowicz Award in 2021 was granted to:


Karen Donders (2021). Public Service Media and the Law: Theory and Practice in Europe. London and New York: Routledge.

For raising the importance of a healthy public service media (PSM) in today’s democracies, as well as a brave investigation of normative theories of media with the PSM practice in Western and Eastern Europe.

Professor Karen Donders is the Director of Public Value at Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie (VRT) – public service media in Flanders. Prior to joining VRT, she worked as a full professor at Vrije University Brussel, Belgium. Her previous publications include monographs, edited collections, and scholarly papers on the European media policy and innovation in public service media.

The following books were nominated for the Media and Democracy Karol Jakubowicz Award in 2020:


1) Péter Bajomi-Lázár (2020). A patrónusi-kliensimédiarendszer. Magyarország 2010–2018 [The Patron-Client Media System. Hungary 2010–2018]. Budapest: Napvilág.

For explaining the ongoing party colonization phenomenon in the Hungarian media and for advancing media theory with a set of practices responsible for illiberal media turns in Central and Eastern Europe.


2) Claire Bond Potter (2020). Political Junkies: From Talk Radio to Twitter, How Alternative Media Hooked Us on Politics and Broke Our Democracy. New York: Basic Books.

For transdisciplinary scholarly examination of the close ties between media, politics, and the rule of law as well as for going beyond scholarly analysis and engaging with non-academic forms of writing.


3) Zrinjka Peruško, Dina Vozab & Antonija Čuvalo (2021). Comparing Post-Socialist Media Systems. The Case of South East Europe. London and New York: Routledge. 

For a novel methodology and holistic overview of comparative media studies in the Western Balkans, as well as a reconceptualization of traditional media systems criteria via a blend of modernism and socialism.  


4) Agnieszka Stępińska, Artur Lipiński, Dorota Piontek & Agnieszka Hess (2020).  Populist Political Communication in Poland: Political Actors – Media – Citizens. Berlin: Logos Verlag.

For an exhaustive image of populist discourse based on comparative qualitative and quantitative methodologies, alongside offering useful recommendations to stakeholders engaged in political communication in Poland and beyond. 


5) Howard Tumber & Silvio Waisbord (2021). The Routledge Companion to Media Disinformation and Populism. New York: Routledge.

For an in-depth examination of misinformation and populist rhetoric on today’s democracies and for raising the importance of truth and transparency in public political discourses.

The Award Ceremony took place on September 28, 2021, during the online Closing Plenary of the RIPE@2021 Conference "Public Service Media's Contribution to Society". On behalf of the Selection Committee, Michał Głowacki awarded Professor Karen Donders the Certificate.


Photos: RIPE@2021 online Closing Plenary; Karen Donders receives the Award Certificate from Michał Głowacki.


On behalf of the Committee and all the stakeholders, we warmly congratulate the Winner and the Nominees!


Michał Głowacki and Dagmara Sidyk

Photos by: Dagmara Sidyk; VRT.






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