Media Systems and Quality of Democracy in Italy and Uk. A Comparative Study.
My research project will look for an answer to the fundamental question: which of the main media systems makes the best contribution to the quality of democracy? I aim to specify and describe the links between media systems and democratic systems in a comparative perspective. This will enable an understanding of whether and how the structure of media systems, the level of professionalization of media operators and the journalistic routines in the selected countries impact on the dimensions of the quality of democracy. I will control three kinds of hypotheses in my research: 1/ A media system, which is characterized by a high degree of professionalization, will promote ‘watchdog’ journalism, founded both on the consideration of the objective newsmaking criteria and neutral reporting of events, and oriented toward a pragmatic attitude. By contrast, a media system with low-professionalization will allow an attitude of collusion – more amenable to the needs of the political arena than newsmaking criteria – and a paradigm of journalism founded on political support. 2/ A high level frequency of direct intervention in a media system by the state lowers the possibility the system will be characterized by a high degree of external pluralism, real market competitiveness and a high degree of autonomy of its practitioners. 3/ The lower the degree of political partisanship within a media system, the more likely a really autonomous journalism exists and the greater will be citizens’ trust in media and the quality of the information they provide. My dependent variable coincides with two of the dimensions of the quality of democracy described in political science literature, in particular by Diamond and Morlino (2005): electoral accountability and responsiveness. The purpose of this project is to clarify the impact of political communication on these dimensions. Thus, my explanatory variables are: the level of professionalization of media system operators in Italy, Germany and Great Britain, the level of commercialization of the respective media markets, the kind of link between the political class and the media system (collusion and parallelism versus autonomy and conflict), the relevance of the role of the state as far as the structures and logics within the media systems are concerned.