Making Sense of Public Media in Times of Geo-Political Crisis: Latvian Public Media and their Ethno-Linguistic Majority and Minority Audiences

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Drawing on a recent nationwide survey, this chapter explores the ways media audiences in the Baltic country of Latvia make sense of the country’s public media institutions—and by extension, media and journalism more generally—amidst tensions between Russia and the West that have been accompanied by “information disorder” (Wardle, C., & Derakhshan, H., Information disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policy making. Council of Europe, 2017). The chapter examines the footprint that the current information environment—characterized by abundance, complexity, and manipulation—has left on the attitudes towards and perceptions of the Latvian public radio and television organizations, former Communist-era state broadcasters who today operate as state-owned and state-funded but editorially autonomous public service media institutions. The chapter concludes that while audiences of the ethno-linguistic majority and the large Russian-speaking minority are different in their news media preferences and geo-political sentiments, they are not that different in the ways they make sense of media institutions in times of geo-political crisis. Members of both ethno-linguistic groups approach media and journalism with a great deal of skepticism and even cynicism. In response, audiences of both ethno-linguistic communities have utilized the strategy of self-responsibilization in order to make sense of complex geo-political issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformation Wars in the Baltic States
Subtitle of host publicationRussia’s Long Shadow
EditorsJanis Chakars, Indra Ekmanis
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-99987-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-99986-5
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePalgrave Macmillan Series in International Political Communication
ISSN (Print)2945-6118
ISSN (Electronic)2945-6126


  • public media
  • Russian-speaking minority
  • audience studies
  • media skepticism
  • trust in media
  • media use
  • geo-politics

Field of Science*

  • 5.8 Media and Communication

Publication Type*

  • 3.1. Articles or chapters in proceedings/scientific books indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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