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15th ECPR General Conference, University of Innsbruck

Press Freedom or News Accuracy? Media and Corruption in 34 European Countries

Government
 
Institutions
 
Media
 
Presenter
Marina Nistotskaya
University of Gothenburg
Authors
Marina Nistotskaya
University of Gothenburg
Victor Lapuente Gines
University of Gothenburg
Tania Gosselin
Université du Québec à Montréal

Abstract
A free media has long been regarded as a key ingredient of high quality of government. Many analyses associate independent press and higher newspapers circulation with lower corruption. Yet, few studies examine which aspects of media performance make a difference for corruption. Does it matter that all main newspapers and television channels are aligned with political parties, or only some of them? Is news content accuracy important? We make use of original expert survey data to start investigating more systematically the relationship between media and corruption. A quantitative analysis of the link between media systems’ characteristics in 34 European countries sheds light on the key role of television, especially that of party/ownership bias, rather than newspapers. Content quality, measured by the accuracy of information from credible sources, registers no impact on corruption. We complement the analysis with observations pertaining to the case of Spain.
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