The role of ICT in political communication

social_networking_sites.jpgcase study of European Parliament elections 2009, 2009-2011

Researcher(s) (CIMS)

Lucia Vesnic-Alujevic

Supervisors (CIMS)

Sofie Van Bauwel

Funded by

European Commission- Basileus program


The elections for the European Parliament, the only multinational assembly in the world, were held between 4-7 June 2009, for the first time in 27 states and for 375 million voters, which makes them the biggest transnational elections in history. Although their significance is undeniable from the institutional view, it is dubious from the view of citizens, because of their generally low participation on them. The importance of the proposed topic derives from the political importance of political communication and marketing for the actions of political entities and the creation of their campaign strategy in general on one side and from the social importance of ICT and in particular internet for modern citizenship on the other side.

The goal of the thesis is to determine the role of internet in the electoral campaign for the European Parliament elections in 2009: the use of internet in marketing purposes; the communication between citizens and political actors; the interdependency of internet and other mass media; the advertising modes through internet. The theoretical framework is based on the connection of nodal points: democracy, citizenship, public sphere, ICT and political communication.

The case study will be used to explore characteristics of the online campaign for the European parliament in 2009, taking into consideration several parties both on the European level and on national level in several countries, as well as the European Parliament’s campaign itself, including official websites, youtube videos, Facebook profiles, blogs. The method of qualitative and quantitative content analysis will be applied for the analysis and critical valorization of texts and audio-visual material published online, concerning political marketing and analysis of electoral documents and marketing products of electoral competitors in Europe and it will be incorporated in Critical Discourse Analysis. For a broader perspective, the comparative method will be used, in order to compare campaigns of different political actors and parties and different countries inside the European Union.