Can the Internet Aid Democratic Consolidation? Online News and Legitimacy in Central and Eastern Europe
Since the fall of communism in 1989, many formerly communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe have undergone a tremendous amount of social, political, and economic change. In the nearly 30 years after communism, these countries have become democratic and integrated into the European Union. Despite these changes, the consolidation of democracy is in question as citizen trust in government remains low and nationalist populism has risen. Given that other studies have shown that online media can affect attitudes toward government and that a massive technological revolution has occurred alongside democratization, it is imperative to better understand whether the Internet can aid consolidation by making citizens more supportive of democratic governance. This study uses Eurobarometer data to evaluate this question empirically and finds that online news consumption leads to more positive evaluations of government in the region.