Media and political participation: fostering inclusive governance


This research report examines the relationship between BBC Media Action’s governance programmes and political participation

Publication date: October 2016

Authors: Andrea Scavo and Chris Snow


Increased political participation is seen as central to building accountability between citizens and leaders. Through debate and other factual programmes BBC Media Action uses media and communication to foster participation by providing information, stimulating discussion and enabling people to interact directly with decision-makers.

Using quantitative data from seven countries (Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Myanmar, Tanzania and Sierra Leone), the report explores the links between watching and listening to governance programmes and political participation, as well as the key drivers of participation: political knowledge, discussion and efficacy.

The findings are clear and consistent: BBC Media Action’s audiences participate more than people who do not listen or watch its programmes, even when taking other influencing factors – such as age, income and interest in politics – into account. There is also a strong, positive association between exposure to BBC Media Action programmes and political knowledge and discussion.

Finally, the findings also suggest that exposure to governance programmes can have a “compensating effect” on the political participation of groups who have historically been less engaged in politics – those who are young, less educated and less interested in politics.

To read our research briefing on how media affects political participation, click here