Much has been written on the role of the media in British politics. However, most existing studies concentrate on assessing the influence of television and the press on voting. For the most part, they fail to address broader questions concerning the role the media plays in relation to democracy. This chapter aims to address this deficiency. Initially, I identify three conflicting views in the literature of the proper role and status of the media in democratic society before establishing how these are related to broader normative views of the form British democracy should take. Subsequently, I aim to assess which view of the media most accurately describes British practice through a brief analysis of three areas which have attracted a great deal of attention: media bias; media influence on voting; and government manipulation of information.
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