Lindita Camaj, of University of Houston, has studied the collaboration between Bulgarian non-governmental organizations (NGO), Access to Information Programme (AIP), and local news media in lobbying for Freedom of Information right (FOI) in Bulgaria. The article explores how the relationship between journalists and civil society actors is negotiated in cases when they both serve a common public good.
The study is based on semi-structured interviews with journalists and Access to Information Programme (AIP) officials.
The results show that the alliance between journalists and NGOs was mutually beneficial. First, it increased public awareness of the FOI rights and FOI law use by citizens and journalists. It also improved governmental transparency and enhanced quality of journalistic output. The results also dispute fears that the blurring boundaries between journalism and advocacy work can lead to losses in journalistic autonomy.
Within this case the alliance had a positive impact on the quality of journalism and strengthened media’s democratic role.
The article “Blurring the boundaries between journalism and activism: A transparency agenda-building case study from Bulgaria” was published by Journalism. It can be found here. Abstract is public.
Picture: Chidori Joint – Step 6, by Matthew Riley, licence: CC BY 2.0