This study assesses the degree and direction of media bias towards political parties in Central-Eastern and Western European democracies. Previous research has argued that despite policy efforts to detach the media from the political domain, journalism in former Eastern Bloc countries is still characterized by a more partisan style than in Western Europe. Our analysis employs data from the European Parliament Election Study 2009 (EES) and the European Media Systems Survey 2010 (EMSS), covering 187 parties and more than 120 media outlets in fifteen Western and ten Central and Eastern media systems across the European Union. To analyze partisan media bias, we look at (1) how well audience patterns correlate with partisan preferences of media users and (2) the extent to which media outlets favour specific parties according to experts. Contrary to our hypotheses, the results show that levels of media bias in Central and Eastern Europe are similar to those in Western Europe. We also find that left-right party ideology predicts media bias in the latter, but not in the former. Our findings question the general assumption that partisan media bias is higher in "the East" and challenge the widespread belief that a long tradition of media commercialization, as found in "the West," leads to less political media bias.
|Number of pages||23|
|Journal||East European Politics and Societies|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Aug 2016|
Research priority areas of TU Dresden
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Central and Eastern Europe, Comparative research, Partisan media bias, Political communication, Survey