conflict & communication online, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2002
ISSN 1618-0747




Chanan Naveh (Tel-Aviv)
The Role of the Media in Foreign Policy Decision-Making: A Theoretical Framework

This paper maintains that the media is involved in all stages of foreign policy formulation processes and that political leaders take the media into consideration in its national and international aspects. Moreover, the paper argues that this double-edged media environment is considered mainly in the publication, or media management stage.
The involvement of the media in this decision-making process is complex. When an external, international event occurs, political leaders learn about it from the media. This information is processed through various image components and than the policy or decision-formulating process is set in motion. Media advisors and PR professionals participate in the process, officials consult with them and consider their advice. Finally, they take the media into account when they define their policy and match to it the appropriate media tools.

Past studies of foreign policy decision-making neglected to deal with this complex role of the media. They described the media (if at all) as one of the channels of informing leaders of international events, as input for the decision-making process. Actual reality demonstrates that this perspective minimizes the place of the media and therefore it should be dealt theoretically as well as in applied research case studies using a more complex approach emphasizing the crucial role of the media in foreign policy. The paper develops and presents a framework for the analysis of foreign policy decision-making which tries to compensate for some of the flaws of existing models in the field, incorporating the complex processes of media input into decision-making, as well as reflecting the role of the press and TV in the formulation stage of policy-making.


  full text in English  
On the author: Chanan Naveh is a lecturer in the International Relations Department at the Hebrew University and the Political Science Department at Tel Aviv University. He is a senior editor at the Voice of Israel (Israeli Public Radio).

Address: eMail: