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Tao Papaioannou

Abstract

Earlier research on media coverage of social protests has yielded evidence of a protest paradigm: framing patterns that articulate support for entrenched interests and values. However, recent studies are detecting less predictable media responses, indicating the need to identify the extent of application of the paradigm and the underlying determinants within the changing media politics of dissent. This study investigates whether and how the protest paradigm is incorporated in the portrayal of the 2013 Cypriot protests in international online news media. A framing analysis of protest coverage by the news websites of the New York Times (NYT), BBC News andEuronewsreveals contrasting results. NYT demonstrates the tendency to employ spectacle frames, privilege official sourcesandsituate the protests within strict economic analysis. Alternatively, BBC News – more sympathetic than Euronews – constructs stories with frames legitimating protestors’ perspective and questioning governing institutions. Finally, in consideration of the media’s orientation to the destabilising elite consensus embedded in the crisis and their representations of relevant social criticism, this articleexamines the possibility of international news media conditionally moving away from the protest paradigm towards multi-perspective approaches, permitting a more credible discourse to emerge from social conflicts.

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Keywords

news framing, the protest paradigm, media politics, online media, BBC News, Euronews, the New York Times (NYT), the 2013 Cypriot crisis

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