Media Representations of Youth Violence in Bulgaria


  • Stanislava Stoyanova


This paper presents a study of media representations of youth violence. The way by which media presents the young generation is a reflection of and influence on the development of identity by youth and society’s attitude towards youth. No previous studies have been conducted on this topic in Bulgaria, but the ones carried out in some other countries (including the USA and Australia) revealed an ambiguous image of young people with an important emphasis on violence as a part of youth life. 159 news items concerning young people from September 2010 issues of the Bulgarian newspapers “Telegraph” and “Sega” were coded. 21.4% of the news items dedicated to young people dealt with violence. Young people as committing an act of violence or as victims of violence were described with some neutral labels indicating their social group membership (gender, ethnic, territorial, etc.) or with some negative labels describing them as criminals. Young people violence in these two Bulgarian newspapers was associated with sexual issues, medical issues and family issues in more than 30% of the cases, as well as with educational issue in more than 20% of the news items. The image of young people reflected by the Bulgarian media was not only a negative one. 4/5 of the news items in the newspapers described young people as successful students, sportsmen, politically engaged, doing cultural activities, prepared for business, etc. Adults were advised by the media on how to understand teenagers and how to help young people – having a positive outlook on youth, expressing their love and concern for young people, communicating with them, giving them support (including financial, medical, and educational) by means of the state and different institutions.