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Political Scandal Tests Trust in Politicians

À propos de cet article


Political scandals have been observed to be increasingly common everywhere. In April 2008, the Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ilkka Kanerva, was compelled to resign because of the sensation arising from the enormous number of suggestive text messages that he had sent to a young female erotic dancer. During the scandal, the media followed this episode intensively. The present article considers what kinds of qualities for political leadership the media called for during this scandal and how these qualities were justified. The paper is based partly on quantitative but mostly on qualitative content analyses of the four most read newspapers in Finland. The results show five categories, the qualities being professional competence, personal characteristics and behaviour, trustworthiness, maintenance of relations and communication skills. The results show that the requirements imposed by the media are high, but that evaluation of professional competence is still crucial. Further, the occurrence of a scandal seems to trigger discussions on trust in politicians.