Nr.3-4/2015 - 4

The 2014 presidential election campaign in Romania stood out, among other things, through an intense media debate about the organization and the unfolding of televised election debates. In the present study, we investigate the ways in which televisions have constructed the public impact of the 2014 election debates (the debate as media event) as well as the meanings attached to them in connection with the public interest (the debate as public problem). By employing, within this frame, the semiotic-discursive method and categories from discourse analysis, the research demonstrates a process of "privatization" of election debates. Both the candidates and the media approached the election debate as competitive actors in the election and the journalistic fields. Thus, the candidates used the debate a resource for legitimasing themselves and delegitimising their opponents. Journalists, in their turn, associated the staging of the election debate with the competitive status of their TV channel in the journalistic field (the credibility of the channel, the journalists' competence and experience etc.). Similarly, the election debates were appropriated by televisions as mechanisms of spectacularization of media discourse in the election campaign.

Keywords: election debate, public sphere, public problem, media discourse, journalistic field



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