Recent decades have witnessed a dramatic growth of internet-based communication. This phenomenon and its still partially unexplored potential have increasingly attracted the attention of a growing number of political entrepreneurs. This paper analyses to what extent it has characterised vertical communication between politicians and voters looking at a very particular group: the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
To conduct the analysis, this study categorised an impressive number of MEPs’ individual websites in the 6th European Parliament (EP) according to their structural, graphic and informative/communicative features. Accordingly, quantitative and qualitative cross-country and cross-party variance have been explored taking into consideration a wide array of potential explanatory dimensions, including socio-demographic, country-level, ideological, and electoral factors. The paper also presents some preliminary figures concerning the most recent developments in the current EP and possible future trajectories.
Stefano Braghiroli is a PhD candidate at the Centre for the Study of Political Change, University of Siena.