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2022 | Book

The European Parliament in the News

A Critical Analysis of the Coverage in the United Kingdom and Greece

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About this book

This book analyzes the social legitimacy deficit of the European Parliament (EP) in the United Kingdom and Greece. It does so by considering it, partially, a communication deficit, and by addressing the relevant inadequacies of its communication and media relations performance. Following this approach, the book identifies and critically analyzes the problems that the European Parliament is facing in communicating and portraying itself to news websites in the United Kingdom and Greece, and offers potential solutions to the issues presented.

The book provides an initial comparison of the scale of the problems that the EP is facing in its communication and media relations performance in Greece and in the United Kingdom, focusing on a number of prominent, carefully selected, impartial or pro-European websites. The failures of the EP to secure adequate levels of visibility on these websites automatically signify serious basic weaknesses in its communication strategy. This book identifies those weaknesses, their causes, and presents solutions on how to solve them.

Therefore, this book is a must-read for students and scholars of political science and media communication, as well as policy-makers and practitioners interested in a better understanding of the European Parliament's social legitimacy and communication deficit.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter
Chapter 1. Introduction
Abstract
Almost 70 years since its establishment, the European Union (EU) is still confronted with the deep problem of the perceived gap between the EU institutions and the EU citizens. Relevant research shows that the majority of the Europeans do not trust the EU (European Commission, 2021; Pew Research Center, 2012; 2013; Inglehart et al., 2014) and they think of it as an inefficient institution that does not listen to them and does not understand their needs (Wike et al., 2019; Pew Research Center, 2014; Manchin, 2014). In addition, a large percentage of the EU citizens express their dissatisfaction with the way by which democracy works in the EU (European Parliament, 2018) while among the most popular reasons for abstention from the 2009, 2014, and 2019 European Parliament (EP) elections was the feeling of the EU citizens that their vote has no consequences and does not change anything (European Parliament, 2012, 2014, 2018). The steadily growing support for Eurosceptic and far right parties across member states (e.g. Italy, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands) (Oltermann, 2017; Mudde, 2017a, b; Henley & Malkin, 2017), the desire of citizens in different EU member states to have their voice heard through referendums on their own EU membership and their desire to have some of the EU key powers returned back to their national governments (Stokes, 2016; Pew Research Center, 2017) are also some of the facts that indicate the gap between the EU and its citizens.
Dimitrios Souliotis
Chapter 2. The European Parliament
Abstract
This chapter provides a brief history of the European Parliament and its empowerment, its current institutional powers, and its internal organization and operation.
Dimitrios Souliotis
Chapter 3. European Parliament’s Legitimacy: Conceptualization and Empirical Assessment
Abstract
This chapter presents the concept of legitimacy, as it has been explored in political theory (normative approach) and the political and social sciences, respectively (empirical and descriptive approach). Given that legitimacy has been, till recently, mainly conceptualized in the framework of the nation-states, the chapter proceeds with the examination of the issue of legitimacy at the EU level. It explains how this concept has been approached, and it examines the debate on the EU democratic and legitimacy deficit. With a focus on social legitimacy, a selection of empirical data is made in order to assess the popular legitimacy of the EP in the UK and Greece.
Dimitrios Souliotis
Chapter 4. European Parliament and the News Media
Abstract
This chapter starts with the examination of the role of the news media, in shaping public perceptions towards the EU and its institutions, by analyzing the characteristics of the relevant media coverage. Then, it focuses on the communication deficit of the EU and its institutions, which is directly linked to their social legitimacy deficit, and it examines the factors that contribute to this deficit, the communication and media relations performance of these institutions, and the way by which journalists produce EU news stories. Specific emphasis is placed on the EP and the role of the EPLOs in delivering the EP information in the news media and the audience in the member states. Last but not least, issues relevant to online journalism (e.g. specific features of online journalism and digital news production) are also discussed.
Dimitrios Souliotis
Chapter 5. Content Analysis and Semi-Structured Interviews as Assessment Tools
Abstract
The purpose of this chapter is to set out the key dimensions of the methodological approach that is used in this study. The first section focuses on content analysis, while the second explains how semi-structured interviews are used and how they are able to fill in some of the gaps in understanding, gaps that an application of content analysis on its own would leave. The selected research methods contribute to the examination and analysis of (a) the way in which the EP is covered in the selected news websites in the UK and Greece, (b) the problems that the EP is facing in communicating itself in the selected news websites in the UK and Greece, and (c) the potential solutions for the EP in order to overcome these problems.
Dimitrios Souliotis
Chapter 6. European Parliament’s Media Coverage in the News Websites
Abstract
This chapter presents the research findings from the content analysis of the EP coverage in the selected news websites in the UK and Greece, regarding the visibility of the European Parliament’s institutional powers, the tone towards the EP (or any equivalent) and its institutional powers, the visibility and the patterns of visibility of the European Parliament’s output, the tone of the coverage of the European Parliament’s powers output, and the extent to which there is additional Internet-facilitated information provided in the coverage of the EP (hyperlinks, audiovisual material) in both countries.
Dimitrios Souliotis
Chapter 7. Assessment of the Media Relations Performance of the EPLOs
Abstract
This chapter presents the research findings from the semi-structured interviews conducted with online news journalists in the UK and Greece, regarding the assessment of the communication and media relations performance of the European Parliament Liaison Offices (EPLOs) in Greece and in the UK. The assessment focuses on the extent to which the EPLO’s communication material either in written or in oral form meets online journalist’s needs and expectations, the extent to which the EPLO’s media relations activities facilitate online journalists’ work when producing EP news stories, the extent to which the EPLO implements an adequate “source strategy” towards journalists, and the extent to which the EPLΟ media relations activities overall take into consideration the changes in the journalistic practices of the online journalists.
Dimitrios Souliotis
Chapter 8. Identification and Critical Analysis of the Problems in the Online Media Coverage and Media Relations Performance of the EP in Greece and in the UK
Abstract
This chapter presents a synthesis of the research findings of the examination of the EP online media coverage in the selected news websites in the UK and Greece and the results of the assessment of the EPLO’s media relations performance. The aim of this synthesis is to identify and critically analyse the reasons behind the problems in both the EP online media coverage and the EPLO’s media relations performance.
Dimitrios Souliotis
Chapter 9. Identification of Potential Ways of Communicating the EP more Effectively in Greece and in the UK
Abstract
This chapter presents the potential solutions for overcoming the problems of low visibility of the EP institutional powers and output. The identification of the proposed solutions has been based on: (a) the research findings of the content analysis, (b) the working routines of the online journalists along with what the online journalists have said that they actually would want from the EPLOs, and (c) the working routines of the EPLO officers in the UK and Greece.
Dimitrios Souliotis
Chapter 10. Critical Analysis of the Potential Ways of Communicating the EP More Efficiently
Abstract
This chapter aims at identifying potential practical problems that might arise in the implementation of the proposed remedial actions, and at providing an evaluation of their likelihood of being realized, given the political realities within the European Parliament and the EU. The first section of the chapter describes a picture of an EP which is a much more effective communicator with the selected news sites—and which achieves a much higher degree of visibility within them. In the second section, there is an analysis of the barriers which stand in the way of the EP for being an effective communicator. In the last section, there is a critical analysis of the various possibilities for reform, along with the examination of which of them come out at the end as still having potential for working in the “real” as opposed to the “ideal” world.
Dimitrios Souliotis
Chapter 11. Overall Conclusion
Abstract
The book aimed to address the challenges of the social legitimacy deficit of the European Parliament in the UK and Greece, by considering it, partially, as a communication deficit. In this respect, a key goal was to identify the relevant inadequacies of the EPs’ communication and media relations performance. To this end, the analysis has pointed out and critically discussed the problems that the EP is facing in communicating itself to selected news websites in the UK and Greece and suggested a set of solutions that could be applied with some potential for success.
Dimitrios Souliotis
Backmatter
Metadata
Title
The European Parliament in the News
Author
Dimitrios Souliotis
Copyright Year
2022
Electronic ISBN
978-3-030-93809-3
Print ISBN
978-3-030-93808-6
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-93809-3