Democracy and New Media in the European Union: Communication or Participation Deficit?

Asimina Michailidou
2008 Journal of Contemporary European Research  
At the heart of most academic and political debates regarding the future of the European Union lie three key ideas: openness and transparency; citizens' participation in the decision-making process; and democratic legitimacy. Scholars and EU policy-makers have advocated the use of new media, particularly the Internet, in the democratising process of the EU. This article focuses on the top-down aspect of the online European public dialogue and the opportunities that the EU's public communication
more » ... strategy offers to citizens for involvement in shaping the Union's political nature. Following a 'multi-method' approach for the gathering of empirical data, the Internet's role in the EU's public communication strategy is examined here from four aspects: the European Commission's public communication policies (document analysis); the Commission's implementation of its online policies (website analysis); their impact on key Internet audiences (user survey); and the views of policy-makers (semi-structured interviews with senior Commission officials).
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