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The Swedish Parliamentary Debate on European Affairs – What Makes it to the Pages?: A quantitative content analysis of news media reporting from the Riksdag
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The long-spun Brexit process has been named a symbol of an alleged disconnection between the European Union’s high-level decision-makers and its citizens. This thesis aims to contribute to the existing literature on the role of national parliaments in brining EU affairs closer to the citizens. More specifically, it turns attention to the Riksdag, and to how informative parliamentary debates on EU affairs are communicated to Swedish citizens. Earlier studies have provided valuable insights into how political opinions on EU affairs are presented in electoral manifestoes and behind closed doors in the Riksdag’s committees. By conducting a quantitative content analysis on Swedish news medias’ coverage of the Riksdag’s debate on EU-affairs over the last ten years, this study offers a first insight into how EU debates are conveyed to the wider Swedish audience. Drawing on previous research on national parliaments, the concept of opposition and theories from the field of political communication, three hypotheses are formulated. While the first hypothesis aims to test whether Swedish news media provide citizens a diverse set of positions from the Riksdag’s debate on EU affairs, the second hypothesis seeks to illuminate which parliamentary actors that are most prominent in medias’ reporting from the Riksdag. Finally, the third hypothesis turns attention to the mode in which EU affairs are presented in news media.

None of the hypotheses are unambiguously supported by evidence. The implications are that the media to some extent filter the parliamentary debate. A filter that at occasions may exclude diverging positions on EU affairs. Further, though governments are presented as the main actor in the majority of all analysed articles, the Riksdag is close behind. The result implies that the Riksdag is indeed competing with the government in being the main agenda setter in Swedish news media. Nevertheless, it also suggests that oftentimes, the Riksdag is referred to as one unit, without news media distinguishing the diverging positions within the institution. Finally, the finding from the third hypothesis suggests that the Riksdag is somewhat restricted when it comes to shaping the discourse surrounding EU affairs. In spite of the Riksdag’s increased focus on policy-aspects of EU affairs, the mediated image of the very same debate may still be presented as a concern of polity or procedure. Ultimately, despite not providing any clear support for the hypotheses, the somewhat filtered mediated image of the Riksdag’s debate on EU affairs may carry implications for national parliaments’ ability to bring EU affairs closer to the citizens of the Union.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 54
Keywords [en]
National parliaments, the Riksdag, European affairs, EU, news media, politicisation, quantitative content analysis
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-403137OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-403137DiVA, id: diva2:1388265
Subject / course
Political Science
Educational program
Bachelor Programme in Social Sciences
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2020-01-24 Created: 2020-01-24 Last updated: 2020-01-24Bibliographically approved

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