Council press offices as sources of political information: Between journalism for accountability and propaganda

Vanessa Rodríguez-Breijo*, Núria Simelio, Pedro Molina-Rodríguez-navas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This study uses a qualitative approach to examine what political and technical leaders of municipalities understand transparency and public information to mean, and what role they believe the different subjects involved (government, opposition, and the public) should have. The websites of 605 Spanish councils with more than 100,000 inhabitants were analysed and three focus groups were held with political and technical leaders from a selection of sample councils. The results show that the technical and political leaders of the councils do not have a clear awareness of their function of management accountability or of the need to apply journalistic criteria to the information they publish, defending with nuances the use of propaganda criteria to focus on the actions of the local government, its information, the lack of space dedicated to public debate and the opposition’s actions. In relation to accountability and citizen participation, they have a negative view of citizens, who they describe as being disengaged. However, they emphasize that internally it is essential to continue improving in terms of the culture of transparency and the public information they provide citizens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalFuture Internet
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Councils
  • Participation
  • Press offices
  • Public communication
  • The Internet
  • Transparency

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