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Media and Euroscepticism: Unchartered Territory

Patrick Bijsmans

Common understanding has it that media play an important role in democratic societies. This concerns national politics, but also EU politics. Indeed, there is a growing body of research into media coverage - or the lack thereof - of European affairs, often in the context of studies about the possible development of a European Public Sphere. These studies have focussed on several policy fields, events, and so on. Some have approached these issues from the perspective of the formal and informal rules that govern journalism; others have looked at the quality and quantity of coverage. There has also been research into one of the more challenging aspects of the role of mass media in society, namely the possible effects of EU affairs coverage on, for instance, referendums. Surprisingly, despite this growing body of literature on media coverage of EU affairs, there is little dedicated research that focuses on media and Euroscepticism. Equally, most research on Euroscepticism deals with party politics and public opinion. Taking these considerations into account, this paper will discuss conceptual and empirical issues related to the study of media and Euroscepticism. It will do so by means of two steps. First, the paper will map out existing research on media and Euroscepticism; second, it will identify possible research avenues. As such, this paper will emphasise one of the main tenets of public sphere research: that media play an important role in linking politics and public opinion.

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