The research group “Media, Politics & Democracy” is concerned with the relationships between media, politics, and the public communication spaces in a democratic system which is heavily dependent on the media for legitimizing power through transparency, control and criticism, providing a forum for the competition of ideas and interests, and supporting political participation and responsible action of citizens.
Focusing these relationships, research projects aim at examining
- the legal and regulatory conditions under which media service providers and journalism operate – and how they should be designed to support the democratic order,
- the democratic qualities of the available media supply, the media’s performance in the public interest and the different roles that media and journalism play – and should play in the face of societal and media change,
- the various ways and configurations people use the media as well as the impact media may have on their willingness for political participation and civic engagement – and how trust in democracy could be strengthened.
These three key questions related to the changing nature and dynamics of the political information environment can be considered as fundamental topics of political communication research, and have guided the work of the research group since its beginnings (and, to some extent, the work of the former Commission the research group is based on). The projects focusing on these questions build on three requirements of research design, with each project fulfilling at least one, but usually several, of these requirements:
- a long-term comparative perspective,
- integration of the research into a cross-country, particularly a European comparison,
- innovative theoretical and methodological approaches.