Mediatization Effects on Political News, Political Actors, Political Decisions, and Political Audiences

  • Frank Esser
  • Jörg Matthes
Part of the Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century series book series (CDC)


We define mediatization as the growing intrusion of media logic as an institutional rule into fields where other rules of defining appropriate behavior prevailed (see Chapter 7). Mediatization can lead to an enhancement, adaptation, obstruction, or even substitution of political functions by the logic of the media system. At its extreme it can lead to a state of ‘mediatized politics’ where politics ‘has lost its autonomy, has become dependent in its central functions on mass media, and is continuously shaped by interactions with mass media’ (Mazzoleni and Schulz 1999: 250). The professional, commercial, and technological production rules of the media -its operating logic — are important requirements which political actors must take into account if they are to receive publicity, public support, and legitimacy. Media logic provides an incentive structure that contextualizes, and often shapes, political processes — particularly those that are dependent on publicity and public support. From this it follows that — contrary to a priori assumptions of a fully transformed ‘media democracy’ — the concept of mediatization does not assume a complete ‘colonialization’ of politics by the media. Rather we expect that some institutions, stages, and activities in the political process will be mediatized more than others, depending on how media-compatible they are (Marcinkowski 2005).


Political Actor Mediatization Effect Asylum Seeker News Medium Political Communication 
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Copyright information

© Hanspeter Kriesi, Sandra Lavenex, Frank Esser, Jörg Matthes, Marc Bühlmann and Daniel Bochsler 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Esser
  • Jörg Matthes

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