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The impact of media exposure and political party orientation on public perceptions of police in Taiwan

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Shun-Yung Kevin Wang

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of media exposure and political party orientation on public satisfaction with and trust in the police in Taiwan. Design/methodology/approach – Survey data were collected from more than 2,000 respondents in three large metropolises and two rural counties in Taiwan in 2011. Multivariate regression was used to assess the effects of media exposure and political party affiliation on public satisfaction with and trust in the police, controlling for crime experience, neighborhood conditions, background characteristics, and locality. Findings – Taiwanese who were exposed to media reports of police misconduct and believed in the authenticity of such reports were more likely to have lower levels of satisfaction with national police and trust in the police. Though it varied somewhat by whether it was satisfaction with national or local police, the Taiwanese respondents who identified themselves as supporters of the opposition party, or politically neutral, showed lower levels of satisfaction with and trust in the police than supporters for the ruling party. Respondents who shared the same political party orientation expressed higher levels of satisfaction with local police. Research limitations/implications – The measures of media influence, while classic and straightforward, were relatively simple and future research should not only quantify the links between media use and public trust, but also develop a qualitative cultural understanding of the communicative roles that the media play in shaping public perceptions of the police. In addition, while this study relied on a scientific sampling procedure, the sample cannot completely represent the general population in Taiwan. Practical implications – It is important for police departments to cultivate good relations with the news media and to adopt a balanced role between law enforcers who are capable of curbing crime and reducing fear of crime, and moral guardians who are willing to uphold community social cohesion and value structures.

Originality/value – Despite a growing number of studies on public assessments in the police in Taiwan, empirical research on the impact of media and political orientation on satisfaction with and trust in the police remains very limited. This study represents one of the first attempts to assess factors related to media and political party orientation in Taiwan.


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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.