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Representations of Protest on News Portals: The cases of Taksim, Tahrir, Occupy Wall Street & Indignants in,, and Stamatis poulakidakos , University of athens Anastasia Veneti , university of leicester

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Representations of Protest on News Portals: The cases of Taksim, Tahrir, Occupy Wall Street & Indignants in,, and

Stamatis poulakidakos, University of athens

Anastasia Veneti, university of leicester

Achilles Karadimitriou, university of athens

Bianca mitu, university of bucharest

examples of negative media coverage through negative framing
Examples of negative media coverage through negative framing
  • Press and television coverage of a mass demonstration against the Vietnam War in London (27th of October 1968).
  • U.S. mainstream newspapers’ coverage of social protests in the United States between 1967 and 2007.
  • National television coverage of Orange Revolution in Ukraine(2005).
  • Eight US newspapers coverage of the protests against the US invasion in Iraq (2003).
  • U.S. Media coverage of women’s movement in the United States from 1966 to 1986.
  • Media coverage of the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle (1999) and the World Bank/IMF protests in Washington, DC, (2000)

Research Objective

Main Research Question:What kind of representations are mostly raised by the 4 mainstream websites with regard to the protests?

Research Hypotheses

We expected

  • 1. the negative representations of the protests expressed mainly through the focus on violence caused by the protesters.
  • 2. the “use” of official sources.
  • 3. the framing of the protests as illegal.
  • 4. that media - within the financial crisis context - would focus on the economic consequences of the protests, mainly in a negative way.
  • 5. that mainstream media would emphasize - mostly in a negative way- the marginalization of the protesters.
  • 6. that media would devaluate the aims and purposes of the protests.
  • 7. the downsizing of the protests.
  • 8. a rather negative tonality in the representation of the movements in the overall coverage.

Methodology - Sample

  • Quantitative content analysis, conducted with the use of a coding protocol.
  • News portals considered to be among the most popular ones in their countries in terms of number of visits.
  • Greece-Italy: Southern European countries facing considerable financial and social problems.
  • Romania: ex-communist country striving to find its way to development within a difficult financial environment.
  • UK: “Control” country from Northern Europe.
  • N=527 (, 135,, 119)

Coding the Sample

  • The selection was made through research adapted to the peculiarities of the search engines.
  • In each search engine we used as keywords “Taksim square”, “Tahrir square”, “Indignants” and “Occupy Wall Street”, choosing the most relevant articles to each protest.
  • Our selection of the articles was based on qualitative rather than quantitative criteria, due to the restrictions of the relevant search engines.
  • The coding unit was the article.
  • This method can be more efficient in capturing the content and themes of the overall coverage.
  • Articles were coded for the presence for or against the protesters, or absence of several frames (conflict, violence, downgrading, economic consequences, illegal character, human interest, devaluation of causes and aims, marginalization).

No reference or neutral “reference” to violence or rationalized violence, with some exceptions. * Partial rejection of the 1st research hypothesis Text Image-Video

Violent Acts Framing?

Rather limited use of official sources, with the exception of * Partial rejection of 2nd research hypothesis.

Use of official sources?


Almost total lack of “illegal” framing. * Rejection of the 3rd research hypothesis. Text Image-Video

“ illegal ” framing of protests character?


Very limited reference to economic consequences. * Rejection of the 4th research hypothesis.Text Image- Video

Economic Consequences framing?


Lack of marginalization frame in the majority of cases. Mostly positive marginalization in few cases. * Rejection of the 5th research hypothesis.

Marginalization framing?


Lack of devaluation of the causes and aims of the protests. In Guardian & Repubblica small tendency of positive framing. * Rejection of the 6th research hypothesis.

Devaluation of the causes and aims?


Either no representations of downsizing at all, or references to the size of the protests in a positive way. * Rejection of the 7th research hypothesis.

Devaluation of the size of protests?