Journalists’ moves in political press conferences and their implications for accountability
Political press conferences are important spaces for public accountability because they give journalists the opportunity to scrutinize politicians’ decisions. However, the structure of press conferences poses specific constraints to journalists because their role is limited to ask questions. This situation is not problematic if their goal is to ask informative or critical questions, but it becomes problematic if journalists want to advance standpoints, arguments, or criticisms. In the latter case, journalists have to perform their argumentative moves through façade questions in order to comply with the protocol of press conferences. For this reason, it is not easy to distinguish the argumentative function of journalists’ questions, and consequently, their value for accountability. This paper draws on the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation to give an argumentative account of political press conferences. Furthermore, the implications of journalists’ questions for accountability purposes are discussed.
- 2.Political press conferences: Initial situation and starting points for the discussion
- 2.1The initial situation of political press conferences
- 2.2Starting points of political press conferences
- 3.Argumentative means in political press conferences
- 4.Journalists’ questions as functional speech acts
- 5.The importance of journalists’ questions for accountability purposes