The Image of the Police in the Printed Media
Police legitimacy and police confidence are indicators of whether the public agrees with how the police apply their authority and power and whether the public are willing to accept police decisions. These are important aspects of police work because how much citizens trust the police, the more they feel a moral responsibility to provide assistance and cooperation.
Part of the solution for the creation and maintenance of police legitimacy and trust is the establishment of an appropriate strategy for public relations, aimed to continuously maintain good image of the police. In such a strategy for public relations, the media are an important part because they are the means of creating and maintaining the police image as it is framed and ordered by the police. Police image directly affects both police legitimacy and trust and therefore, scholars dealing with the issues of police trust also have to deal with the media impact on building that trust.
Therefore, we have made a qualitative analysis of media reports about police and policing in Macedonia in order to see how police are portrayed in the mass media. Specifically, by analyzing the content we want to answer the following research questions: What aspects of policing are presented in the mass media? Are there more positive or negative portrayals of the police? What are the sources of information? And whether, on the basis of the information that is given to the public, can we "recognize" a police strategy for building public trust? The research interest is focused on the importance of both the language and the style of presentation, as well as on the message that is sent to the readers.
Keywords: police trust, media, media discourse, police news, Macedonia.
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