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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The rise of broadcast and then digital media has had important political implications across the developing world. First considering independent media outlets, we review evidence showing that the media’s editorial content, revelation of information about candidates, and capacity to provide a platform for politicians can significantly shape electoral outcomes and mobilization. Unlike established democracies, the media is often used to buttress and oppose autocratic regimes. With respect to government control of the media, we review evidence of media bias, as well as its determinants and effectiveness at reducing opposition. With respect to media’s liberation potential, we examine how broadcast and internet-based technologies are—not without difficulties—providing new opportunities for facilitating dissent and change. We highlight methodological innovations, the challenges of isolating theoretical mechanisms, and avenues for future research throughout.

Keywords: developing countries, independent media, political participation, persuasion, state-controlled media.

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