The research group “Media, Politics & Democracy (MePD)” is concerned with the relationships between media, politics, and the public sphere in a democratic system which is heavily dependent on the media for legitimizing power through control and criticism, providing a forum for the competition of ideas and interests, and promoting political participation and responsible action of citizens.

In pursuing this goal, research projects aim at examining

  • how the media system is structured, under what conditions media organizations and journalism operate, and whether and how they serve the public interest,
  • how traditional and social media shape election campaigns and civic participation, as both of which are central to democratic life,
  • and how these media act with regard to the major challenges facing today’s society, such as enabling social inclusion, fostering media competence, and spreading knowledge.

These three key questions related to the changing nature and dynamics of the political communication 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 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 comparison,
  • innovative theoretical and methodological approaches.