- The Fourth Estate as superpower? an empirical study of perceptions of media power in Belgium and the Netherlands
- Journalism Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 9 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
The power of the media has long been at the centre of communication studies, mostly focusing on the effects they have on the public. Power over politics is far less studied, however many politicians complain about such media power after a lost election or when observing political cynicism among the public. In this paper, the results of a survey on politicians and journalists in Belgium and the Netherlands are presented, showing the perceptions of power they have about each other. The general picture is that in both countries, members of parliament have a negative image of political journalists, especially those who work on television: they have too much power, can make or break politicians and (too) often set the political agenda. Sometimes journalists share this view, but they accompany it with a rather negative view of politicians: they do anything to get attention from the media. Although often referred to as "the Low countries", Belgium and the Netherlands do not reveal the same picture, with Belgian politicians generally more negative about journalists' power than their Dutch colleagues.
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