Investigating media’s change of attitude towards lobbyism in Sweden : A quantitative content analysis study between the years 1970-2014 and based on theories from the disciplines of politicalscience and sociology

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för statsvetenskap (ST)

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine why the media has a more negative attitude towards lobbyism in 2014 compared to earlier years since the 1970s in Sweden. This study examines first if a change of attitude has occurred between the given years and whether the attitude is more positive, negative or neutral towards lobbyism in recent years compared to earlier years and lastly if the media are comparing different contexts in which lobbying takes place. The method of this study is based on quantitative content analysis, and on Kanol’s ideas that by implementing theories from different disciplines one can develop theories on comparative lobbying in order to increase and improve our knowledge on the phenomenon of lobbyism as the contemporary research on the subject are scars and underdeveloped. The material in this study are news articles that have been collected between 1970 to 2000 and every second year from 2000 up until 2014. This study also provides a comprehensive picture of the Swedish context in which lobbying takes place by gathering information from multiple sources and earlier studies as this information has as of yet not been gathered in a single study up until now. The conclusion is that there has been a change of attitude towards lobbyism in Sweden, however, the dominant attitude is not a negative but rather a more skeptical/cynical one which has increased since 1992. The term lobbying is controversial because it’s being mentioned in various topics that could be considered negative by the reader as the decision making whether the news article is negative or positive is subjective. Because the media has increased its negative news reporting overall and that the unconscious mind of the reader is also attracted to negative news reporting, the term lobbying can be considered “negative” overall as it is constantly being mentioned in negative contexts even when the article is not about lobbying. A reasonable explanation why the media has a more negative / skeptical attitude to lobbyism is because of previous scandals related to lobbying either in Sweden or outside the country's border, but also because the media can’t hold the elected officials responsible for their actions as transparency and accountability is absent. Because of the increased reporting in Sweden on lobbying from all over the world, the subject will most likely become more relevant on the Swedish political agenda.

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