Free to Hate

How Media Liberalization Enabled Right-Wing Populism in Post-1989 Bulgaria
Author: Martin Marinos
Linking neoliberalism with the Right’s global rise
Cloth – $125
Paper – $28
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 11/21/2023
Cloth: 11/21/2023
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About the Book

Bulgaria’s media-driven pivot to right-wing populism parallels political developments taking place around the world. Martin Marinos applies a critical political economy approach to place Bulgarian right-wing populism within the structural transformation of the country’s media institutions. As Marinos shows, media concentration under Western giants like Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung and News Corporation has led to a neoliberal turn of commercialization and tabloidization across media. The Right has used the anticommunism and racism bred by this environment to not only undermine traditional media but position their own outlets to boost new political entities like the nationalist party Ataka. Marinos’s ethnographic observations and interviews with local journalists, politicians, and media experts add on-the-ground detail to his account. He also examines several related issues, including the performative appeal of populist media and the money behind it.

A timely and innovative analysis, Free to Hate reveals where structural changes in media intersect with right-wing populism.

About the Author

Martin Marinos is an assistant professor in the Department of Film Production and Media Studies at Penn State University.



“A thorough and well-researched history of postsocialist media transformation in Bulgaria that has a great deal of relevance for understanding the relationship between right-wing populism and commercialization in Europe and worldwide.”--Aniko Imre, author of TV Socialism

“An original interpretation of the role of the media in the rise of populism, drawing on the political economy tradition of media and communication research. High-quality interviews and on-site fieldwork add originality and significance to the book.”--Sabina Mihelj, coauthor of Media Systems to Media Cultures: Understanding Socialist Television