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Identification of new religious movements in the practice of editorial offices and journalists of print media

Research Article

Vladimir A. Martinovich Candidate of Sociology
Minsk Theological Academy of the Belarusian Exarchate of Russian Orthodox Church, Minsk, Republic of Belarus
ORCID ID=0000-0003-2516-1153
Identification of new religious movements in the practice of editorial offices and journalists of print media.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2022. Vol. 13. No. 1. P. 67-85

Дата поступления статьи: 26.10.2021
This Article is downloaded: 222 times
Topic: Modern Belarusian Sociology

For citation:
Martinovich V. A. Identification of new religious movements in the practice of editorial offices and journalists of print media. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2022. Vol. 13. No. 1. P. 67-85
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2022.13.1.774


Social institutions react selectively to the religious diversity of the modern world. As a result, an imbalance is formed between new religious movements actually operating in the public space and the level of their identification by social actors. The new religious movements that come into the focus of attention in different countries are, by most of their characteristics, unrepresentative of the general set of non-traditional religious communities in these countries. Nevertheless, for social actors they become a reference model in the formation of ideas about the phenomenon of new religious movements in general. The higher the level of imbalance, the less social perceptions of new religions correspond to their actual characteristics in a particular region. A comprehensive study of the identification of new religions allows to explain the origin of the ideas and illusions spread in society about new religious movements, to clarify the logic of the actions of social actors in the confessional sphere, and to a certain extent to predict their results. Abnormally large imbalances for individual institutions of society require additional analysis.

For the print media of the Republic of Belarus, the gap between the groups identified and operating in the country is more than 700 organisations for the period 1988-2021. The article is devoted to the analysis of the factors that influence the editorial offices and journalists of the print media in the process of preparing materials on new religious movements in general, and their identification in particular. The main highlighted factors are: state regulation, political order and censorship, requests to the editorial office from the population, a bright informational occasion, a journalist’s contact with a new religious movement, a conflict between a religious group and the media editors, a journalist’s personality and experience, a journalist’s specialisation on the topic of new religious movements, a journalist's contact with professional sectologists. The article analyses the level of influence of each factor on the identification of new religious movements in the press, and reveals methodological problems of the analysis of this topic. It is demonstrated that, due to the specifics of the phenomenon of non-traditional religiosity and the organisation of the work of editorial offices and journalists, the print media can only selectively identify new religions.



new religious movements, identification of religious organisations, print media, non-traditional religiosity


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