Dual screening, public service broadcasting, and political participation in eight Western democracies
journal contributionposted on 22.05.2018, 15:38 authored by Cristian VaccariCristian Vaccari, Augusto Valeriani
We investigate the relationship between political dual screening—that is, watching political contents on television while reading and commenting on them on social media—and political participation across eight Western democracies: Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. Based on custom built online surveys conducted between 2015 and 2016 on samples representative of the adult population with internet access in each country, we test hypotheses on both intra-country and cross-country direct and differential effects of political dual screening on various forms of offline and online political participation. We find a positive correlation between the frequency with which citizens dual screen political content and their overall levels of participation. Such correlation is stronger among respondents with lower levels of interest in politics, suggesting that dual screening has the potential to bridge participatory gaps between citizens who are more and less politically involved. The relationship between dual screening and participation is also significantly stronger in countries whose media systems feature the strongest Public Service Broadcasters. Our findings suggest that dual screening makes a positive contribution to democratic citizenship and political equality, and that it can also help public service media fulfill some of their key functions.