Impartial mediator or critical watchdog? The role of political journalism in EU constitution-making

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Series Details Vol.7, No.3, September 2009, p342-363
Publication Date September 2009
ISSN 1472-4790
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Abstract: This study investigates the role of political journalism in European Union (EU) constitution-making. It is asked whether and to what extent quality newspaper journalists act as an impartial mediator or as an active promoter of normative debates on European integration across national media spheres. The ratification period of the EU Constitutional Treaty (CT) (November 2004–June 2005) is analysed as a critical juncture of European integration in which enhanced media debates and politicization are expected to take place within and across member states. Empirical data are drawn from a comparative content analysis of newspaper commentaries in six countries (France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark and Norway). The findings point to the rather limited readiness of political journalists to campaign actively for or against the CT and to initiate an exchange of arguments and opinions between the Member States. Journalistic statements can nevertheless be grouped along similar frames of interpretation, representing shared long-term expectations with regard to the legitimation of the European political order.

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