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Propaganda in the press

In connection with election campaigns throughout the entire 20th century, there were advertisements for political candidates and parties in the Swedish daily press. For a long time, the newspapers would only promote the party with which the newspaper sympathised. Other parties were not allowed to advertise at all, whereas the “newspaper’s own party” did not have to pay much at all for its advertisements. Thus, the political advertising was an expression of the symbiosis between media institutions and political institutions that is commonly referred to as the party press.

The research project The propaganda in the press aims to investigate the party press advertisements in the Swedish daily press over time, not least because research on political advertising is missing in the Swedish media research.

The project sets out to answer two main questions. The first one concerns the extent and focus of party press advertising at present and in the past. Since we still know so little about party press advertising, we need to explore the phenomenon in depth. We need to answer questions such as: When did the press start publishing advertisements submitted by political parties? How has this changed over time? What types of advertisements have been published over the years with respect to message and design? What are the respective proportions of national-perspective and local-perspective advertisements? What effect did the preference voting reform introduced in connection with the 1998 election have on the extent and focus of the advertising? These questions are answered by means of quantitative content analysis of political advertising in a number of newspapers during the election campaigns.

The second main research question is more directly related to the relationship between the parties and the press and concerns which strategies the newspapers have used with respect to party advertisements during the election campaigns. This will be answered partly through the content analysis; this includes for example the question of when the daily press opens up to advertising by other parties. However, the analysis needs to be complemented with other data.

Funding: Anne-Marie och Gustaf Anders stiftelse för medieforskning

Period: 2009–2010

Page Manager: Mats Ekström|Last update: 7/18/2011

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