Media Bias in Europe

Nov. 29, 2018 Weekly Graphs

It is not only Donald Trump who continuously claims that the media holds him to a different standard in comparison to other candidates. Politicians and parties all across Europe complain about a media bias with respect to equal coverage. This is particularly true of opposition parties. Are they right? The V-Dem indicator “Media bias” measures whether the print and broadcast media cover all newsworthy parties and candidates more or less impartially and in proportion to their newsworthiness. Where this is the case the country receives the highest value (4), while lower values suggest an increasing imbalance. The score of this indicator, which is coded by multiple country experts, sheds some light on whether competing political parties face a more or less even playing field.

Using our new tool – the Variable Radar Chart– this week’s graph compares media bias in Italy, Germany, Sweden and France over time. Higher values are associated with less media bias. Between 1997 and 2017 there is a slight decrease in the scores for Sweden, Germany and Italy, indicating an increase in media bias in favor of the governing party or candidates. Interestingly, France follows the opposite trend over the last 20, with its score improving. Further research that addresses the linkage between media, political culture and elections might help to explain these interesting differences.

To learn more about our indicators or to explore your own research question, use our online analysis tools at

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