University of Twente Student Theses


The good, the bad and the indifferent : the portrayal of the European Union in Greek media

Iliopoulou, E. (2020) The good, the bad and the indifferent : the portrayal of the European Union in Greek media.

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Abstract:The media coverage of EU news has been previously studied for its content (e.g., De Vreese et al., 2006; Schuck, et. al, 2006) and its possible effect on the public opinion formation and individuals’ perceptions towards the EU (e.g., Lecheler et al., 2010; De Vreese & Boomgaarden, 2003). The present study will explore the presentation of the EU in the media coverage of 2019 European Parliamentary elections by focusing on two elements of the media coverage; the content by means of frames and the tone referring to the explicit evaluations in the news articles. The study concentrates on the case of Greece as a country affected from the close relations with the EU while the EU was on the forefront of many crises the last decade but, to the best of my knowledge, there is no information or knowledge of how the EU is being portrayed. In doing so, 755 news articles were retrieved and analyzed from three national newspapers of a distinct political orientation (left-leaning, right-leaning, independent). Further, and given the event of EP elections, the study focuses on the last four weeks running to the EP elections. Then, both the content and the tone will be compared across time and between newspapers. The results showed that the presentation of the European Union in the Greek media coverage was mildly positive. This result was based on explicit evaluations that referred to the EU as a political institution, including its policies or related attributes that point out the EU as a whole. By finding a mildly positive slant in the EU presentation, the results seem to be in line with the overall mildly positive attitude towards the EU that Eurobarometer reveals (European Commission & European Parliament, 2019). Next, the content of the media was measured by means of two deductive and one inductive frames. The deductive approach included the benefit and disadvantageous frame that was previously studied for their potential to influence the public support toward the European Union. The inductive frame referred to the indifference of citizens towards the political institution and EU politics. In line with the overall positive tone, the results revealed media coverage predominantly emphasized the benefits the European Union brings to one’s country, followed by its disadvantages and the indifference of citizens. These patterns concerning the use of frames and tone of media coverage were also visible across most of the last four-week period heading to the EP elections. Chronological timelines depict the day-to-day differences in the content and tone showing that key events did not shift the use of frames but rather intensified the existing frame competition. The differences across the political orientation of the newspapers were marginal, although the left-leaning outlet was more likely to cover the EU in the negative compared to the right-leaning and independent outlets.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies, 88 social and public administration, 89 political science
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
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