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    For aldermen in Dutch municipalities, ‘integrity’ increasingly seems to be an important factor causing their downfall. A lot of aldermen have resigned in the recent years because of ‘integrity’ and invariably local and national media were actively involved in this process. This article deals with the question of the role of the media in integrity affairs involving aldermen that have to resign. To answer this question, the authors analysed ten affairs that occurred in 2014 in which an alderman had to resigned (forced or voluntarily) because of integrity issues. The analysis shows that local media, regardless of how small they may be and how limited their means, often report extensively about integrity issues. In some cases, local media even act as accountability forums that call these aldermen to account. In other cases, the coverage in local media leads to further questions and calls for political accountability in the municipal council. Sometimes the media ‘merely’ report on the debates between the municipal council and the municipal board, but by doing so magnify the impact of an affair in the local community. In this way, the media fulfil their democratic role as watchdogs of local democracy, a role in which they bark loudly, often persistently and sometimes venomously about (alleged) integrity affairs.


Peter Schokker LLM MA
P. Schokker LLM MA is onderzoeker en adviseur bij het Bureau Integriteit BING.

Dr. Thomas Schillemans
Dr. T. Schillemans is universitair hoofddocent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap (USBO).
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