Representation and Recognition: The Perceptions of Finnish and Spanish Viewers of Their Media Ecosystems and Public Service Newscasts
he media play a strategic role in representing reality in representative liberal democracies, currently considered in crisis, precisely owing to the shortcomings in institutional and media representations. These representations play a particularly important role in building citizenship, an essential aspect of democratic health, and particularly relevant when democracy is challenged. While the representation of minorities in the news has already attracted some academic attention, its broad implications for the public at large require further study. This article delves into the effect of news media representations on the recognition of citizens, the promotion of their voice, and their capacity to consent. This is explored comparatively in two information ecosystems with different structural dimensions, adapting Hallin and Mancini’s framework. An analysis of the discourse of Spanish and Finnish citizens with different profiles was performed, particularly as regards the role of the newscasts of their respective public service broadcasters (TVE and YLE). The results show that public service-oriented journalism and media representations contribute to the sustenance of the social identity formation of the citizenry.