A Tale of Two Elections? - Differences in Media Representations between the European Parliament Election and National Election
The low turnout in the elections to the European Parliament is arguably a crucial aspect of the democratic deficit in the European Union. Although the reasons for the low turnout may be several, this thesis puts focus on the influence of the media and their potential impact on the turnout. The aim of this research is to contribute to the explanation of the low turnout in the European Parliament elections by investigating what the differences are in the media representations of the European Parliament election, which has a low turnout, and the national election, which has a much higher turnout. In order to achieve this aim, a qualitative frame analysis was conducted on 36 Swedish newspaper articles about the 2014 national election in Sweden, which was the country subjected to this study, and 36 Swedish newspaper articles about the European Parliament election in the same year. The analysis and results showed that the media generally framed the European Parliament election as a second-order election whilst the national election was portrayed as very important. The combined message conveyed in the articles about the national election stressed the importance of voting whereas such a message was less prominent in the articles about the European Parliament election. This research consequently contributes to the explanation of the low turnout in the European Parliament elections by bridging the gap between the media representation of the European Parliament election and the democratic deficit manifested in the low turnout.
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