Media and Political Parties in Democratising Regimes

This study examines the impact of European Union (EU) news coverage and of media exposure on voter turnout in the 2009 European Parliament elections in the 27 EU member states. Using multilevel modelling, it analyses media content data and voter survey data from the PIREDEU project and builds the hypotheses on the existing literature on media coverage, media exposure, voter turnout, and the second-order elections theory. The study matches data on the visibility and tone of EU news in countries’ media outlets with voters’ usage of these outlets. This allows for examination of the effects of exposure to individual outlets on voters participation in the European elections. The study finds that people exposed to media in which the EU news coverage is highly visible are more likely to vote in the European election. The tone of the news does not play an important role in this equation, as long as the EU news is salient. Additionally, the study examines the differences in these media effects between countries of Western and Central and Eastern Europe, finding that for some media outlets, the effects are stronger in the latter group of countries. Low voter turnout in the European Parliament elections may signify voters’ lack of interest in the EU and low level of their knowledge about the EU. The results further indicate the lack of EU’s external communication and a further deepening of the democratic deficit in the EU as well as the lack of interest in the EU from national political parties and candidates to the European Parliament. 

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Further details of workpackage 16.

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