Paying tribute to Dr. Karol Jakubowicz (1941-2013)

The Center for Media and Communication Studies at Central European University pays tribute to Dr. Karol Jakubowicz, a beloved scholar on media issues in Europe and a tireless advocate for the freedom of the media, who died on 28 April.

As journalist, political scientist and renowned media expert, Dr. Jakubowicz closely witnessed the transformation of the postcommunist media landscape, and himself contributed substantively to its development. He advised international organizations, national governments and leading civil society groups on how best to secure the freedom and independence of the media, and in particular public service media. He fulfilled leading positions at Polish Television and the National Broadcasting Council of Poland, served as Chairman of several expert committees for the Council of Europe and UNESCO, and was a member of the Independent Media Commission in Kosovo. As a scholar, he shared his detailed and analytic knowledge at the University of Warsaw, the University of Dortmund and the Amsterdam School of Communication.

The CMCS was privileged to have worked with Dr. Jakubowicz on a number of occasions. He played a crucial role in the collaborative research network "East of West: Setting a New Central and Eastern European Media Research Agenda", which was funded as a European COST initiative by the European Science Foundation and brought together some 60 outstanding scholars from across Europe. He led its working group on Democratic Theory and Democratic Performance of the Media, and each of the three books which resulted from the initiative relied on, or benefited from, his expertise. Dr. Jakubowicz co-edited "Media, Nationalism and European Identities" as well as "Comparative Media Systems: European and Global Perspectives," and contributed a chapter to "Media Freedom and Pluralism - Media Policy Challenges in the Enlarged Europe". He also co-edited our 2008 publication "Finding the Right Place on the Map: Central and Eastern European Media Change in a Global Perspective," and presented at the annual CMCS summer school. A forthcoming publication on the independence of the media and its regulatory agencies will include a preface he wrote.

As an advisor to the Center and to a number of our projects, his deep understanding of the complexities of media policy needs in Europe, and in particular the postcommunist region, was invaluable. His unwavering dedication to safeguarding media pluralism, regulatory independence and public service media was an inspiration.

We share the thoughts expressed by the European Broadcasting Union, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the ECREA CEE Network and all the other peers and colleagues expressing their regrets and their respect for a major loss. He will be sorely missed.