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Has the Dutch news media acted as a policy actor in the road pricing policy debate?

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  • Ardıç, Özgül
  • Annema, Jan Anne
  • van Wee, Bert
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    Abstract

    The media is seen as an important player in road pricing policy implementation processes. Yet, it is not clear whether the media is actually a policy actor, like politicians or interest groups, which pursues a particular policy positions. This paper empirically examines whether the Dutch news media was objective in its reporting of the Dutch road pricing policy debate (which took place between 1998 and 2010) or whether it acted as a policy actor through biased reporting. We applied Westerstahl’s Objectivity Framework to the media coverage by five leading national newspapers. Our main conclusion is that the Dutch news media was not objective and acted as a policy actor in the Dutch road pricing policy debate. Although all the newspapers violated objectivity to the same degree, they clearly adopted different policy positions. One popular newspaper was negative and the other mixed whereas all three quality newspapers were positive with the exception of one which sometimes inclined to a mixed position. All newspapers generally maintained the same position over the relatively long period of the road pricing debate.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

    Volume (Year): 57 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 47-63

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:57:y:2013:i:c:p:47-63

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    Related research

    Keywords: Road pricing; Policy debate; Media bias; Objectivity; Policy actor;

    References

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    1. Ryley, Tim & Gjersoe, Nathalia, 2006. "Newspaper response to the Edinburgh congestion charging proposals," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 66-73, January.
    2. Jens Schade & Bernhard Schlag, 2000. "Acceptability of Urban Transport Pricing," Research Reports 72, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
    3. Tore Langmyhr, 1999. "Understanding innovation: The case of road pricing," Transport Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 255-271, January.
    4. Schuitema, Geertje & Steg, Linda & Forward, Sonja, 2010. "Explaining differences in acceptability before and acceptance after the implementation of a congestion charge in Stockholm," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 99-109, February.
    5. Vigar, Geoff & Shaw, Andrew & Swann, Richard, 2011. "Selling sustainable mobility: The reporting of the Manchester Transport Innovation Fund bid in UK media," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 468-479, March.
    6. Nygrén, Nina A. & Lyytimäki, Jari & Tapio, Petri, 2012. "A small step toward environmentally sustainable transport? The media debate over the Finnish carbon dioxide-based car tax reform," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 159-167.
    7. Tawnya J. Adkins Covert & Philo C. Wasburn, 2007. "Measuring Media Bias: A Content Analysis of "Time" and "Newsweek" Coverage of Domestic Social Issues, 1975-2000," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 88(3), pages 690-706.
    8. Winslott-Hiselius, Lena & Brundell-Freij, Karin & Vagland, Asa & Byström, Camilla, 2009. "The development of public attitudes towards the Stockholm congestion trial," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 269-282, March.
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