Threats to Mutual Trust: Czech Local Politicians and Local Journalists in the Era of Professional Politial Communication


  • Roman Hájek Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Jan Vávra Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Tereza Svobodová Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences


journalist-politician relations, trust, sources, local politics, professionalization, Czech Republic


The study discusses changes in the relationship between local journalists and local politicians in the Czech Republic as a consequence of the professionalization of political communications at national as well as local levels following the so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989. This phenomenon has been studied widely in Western democracies but is relatively new in the Czech Republic. Politicians’ improved communication skills and the employment of communication professionals in politics influence trust – a key component in the relationship – between politicians and journalists. The article is based on semi-structured interviews with 10 journalists and 11 politicians from different Czech localities, which aim to explore how these actors understand and maintain levels of mutual trust. First we describe key components of trust and explain why in the era of professionalized political communication trust is perceived as more threatened than in the 1990s and we conclude by exploring the three most important threats to trust as identified by our interviewees.