Stärker mediemakten regeringsmakten?


  • Karl Magnus Johansson


Does media power strengthen governmental power?

This article explores the question if media power strengthens governmental power. It engages with this question through a study of the Swedish case. The case study summarizes secondary evidence and presents new primary evidence drawn from interviews and documents. It builds on presidentialization theory to develop an argument about why prime ministers, in particular, should be expected to be empowered by media, among other factors. The article advances the argument that the drive for government-wide coherent communication perpetuates trends of centralization. This follows a functionalist logic and changes the balance between premiers and other cabinet ministers in favour of the former. Moreover, prime ministers are the natural foci of media attention. The article concludes that premiers are empowered by the media, but the scope for executive empowerment more broadly is conditional on the domestic political context. These findings have important implications for research on political communication and executives.