Political Transparency and its Effects on the Media: A Study of the Eurocrisis
AbstractThe perceived importance of both transparency and openness has never been greater and more lucid in modern society than they are at the present day. Demanded by the public, and both catalysed and facilitated by the Internet, governments and other institutions have increased their direct communication to their subordinates in a substantial manner. As the exercise and importance of communication increases, accordingly will the effect it has on power and influence. French philosopher Foucault argues that the holder of information has the power to shape and create discourse and thereby influence behaviour and response (1978). Public relations (PR), specifically political public relations (PPR), has the prime function to inform the general public about important issues regarding the own conduct. This form of, what Heald defined as downward transparency, facilitates that “the ruled can observe the conduct behaviour, and/or results’ of their ‘rulers’” (2006, p. 27). The main objective is to research whether PPR, in the form of press releases and statements, is able to influence the debates in the media on a certain topic. In other words, it is assessed whether and to what extent the media directly adopts the information it is given by a political actor. In order to answer this research focus, a case study format is adopted in the form of the PPR of the European Council (EC) during the European Sovereign debt crisis.
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