Universit├Ąt Z├╝rich

IKMZ - Department of Communication and Media Research

Media Change & Innovation Division

Andreasstrasse 15
CH-8050 Zurich
Phone +41 (0)44 635 20 92
Fax +41 (0)44 634 49 34

EU Information and Participation Polity: Effects of Media Innovations – Impact on Democracy

The European Union (EU) is often considered to be suffering from major deficits regarding democratic control and accountability. The debate on the ‘EU’s democratic deficit’ focuses on representation and institutional checks and balances, but it has also a strong communicative dimension which is increasingly acknowledged in research and political debates about the future of Europe. Especially the existing gap between the EU institutions and the European citizenry, the lack of a European public sphere for cross-national public political debates, and shortcomings of the information and communication policy of the EU are issues which gain increasing attention in recent research.


However, so far only little efforts have been made to assess the impact of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the perceived gap between the European Union and the citizens of Europe. Although research frequently mentions the democratic potentials of the Internet we know hardly anything about the democratic impact of media innovations and media change for governance in the EU. Research in this projects aims at contributing to close this research gap. From a theoretical perspective the project explores explanatory linkages between approaches for the analysis of institutional change, technological and organizational innovation and democratic accountability. Empirical analyses focus on institutionalization of information and participation interfaces provided by the EU, their evolution in context of media change and political change, and the potential impacts on structural conditions for the formation of a European public sphere and the democratic quality of the EU.