Media and National Accountability in the European Union
An explorative study on the impediments EU - journalists encounter when fulfilling their accountability role towards national governments
Keywords:accountability, watchdog journalism, European Union
In Western democracies, mass media are the main means through which citizens receive information regarding the European Union. Although national ministers play an important role at the EU level, citizens are not always aware of the national ministers’ activities within the Council. Since citizens mainly experience politics through the media, which act as mediators between the politicians and the public, this paper conceptualizes the media as an accountability forum. The research aims to explore the impediments EU-journalists face in fulfilling their watchdog role towards national governments. By conducting 26 in-depth semi-structured interviews in two EU member states Germany and Italy, this research explores the impediments journalists face at the structural and individual level. The findings revealed that although there is an increasing homogenization of the informational impediments, journalists seem to experience differences due to preferential treatments. Finally, organizational impediments such as political and economic pressure, and the way journalists conceptualize their role, also affect how and what they decide to report.
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