Close and Distant: Political Executive–Media Relations in Four Countries

by Karl Magnus Johansson & Gunnar Nygren (eds.) (2019)

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This book explores the interplay between government and media drawing on unique evidence from, and in -depth analysis of, four national cases: Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden. Based on the chapters dedicated to each country, five additional chapters address the following cross-national themes: government communication, social media, formality/informality in journalist-source relations, mediatisation of politics, and political communication culture.

The book reveals what really goes on between the political executive and the media in everyday practices within these countries. First, it uncovers a process of mediated political-cultural change within media-political systems. Second, it illustrates the workings of prime ministerial power and communication aides at this apex of political power and the media and those who work there. Third, it examines both the struggle within governing in stitutions to control the flow of in formation and the tensions between civil servants and political aides, and takes the reader through the four media-political contexts rooted in a deep knowledge of these relationships.
The result is an illuminating and original analysis of politics, political communication, media and journalism, and offers greater understanding of the realities of government – and democracy – and media in practice as well as the role of media within contemporary politics.

Preface and acknowledgments.

Gunnar Nygren,Karl Magnus Johansson:
The interplay of media and the political executive. Introduction and framework.


Risto Niemikari, Tapio Raunio, Tom Moring:
Finland: Informal interdependence and occasional clashes

Auksė Balčytienė, Milda Malling:
Lithuania: Media-politics interaction shaped by benefits-oriented reasoning.

Bogusława Dobek-Ostrowska, Jacek Nożewski:
Poland: Independent vs servile relationships.

Karl Magnus Johansson, Milda Malling, Gunnar Nygren:
Sweden: A professionally symbiotic relationship.


Karl Magnus Johansson, Tapio Raunio:
Government communication in a comparative perspective.

Elena Johansson:
Social media in political communication. A substitute for conventional media?

Milda Malling:
Power and exchange in formal and in formal interaction between journalists and their sources.

Gunnar Nygren, Risto Niemikari:
Media logics as parts of the political toolkit. A critical discussion on theories of mediatisation of politics.

Auksė Balčytienė, Tom Moring:
Variations in political communication culture. New forms of political parallelisms and media-politics coalitions.


Karl Magnus Johansson, Gunnar Nygren
Locked in a mutual dependency. Media and the political executive in close interplay.

List of abbreviations

Karl Magnus Johansson is a Professor of Political Science and Gunnar Nygren is a Professor of Journalism, both in the School of Social Sciences at Södertörn University, Stockholm.


Close and Distant: Political Executive–Media Relations in Four Countries.
Ed. by Karl Magnus Johansson & Gunnar Nygren.
Göteborg: Nordicom, 2019, 264 p.
ISBN 9789188855060 (pb., SKR 280/EUR 28,00)
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