Framing the Refugee Crisis in Online Media: A Romanian Perspective
The European Union (EU) is under severe pressure, due to the multiple crises it has to manage. Among them, the refugee crisis is remarkable, since it is shaking both the individual member states and the EU as a whole. The media coverage of the refugee crisis is important because the media still are the main source of information concerning distant issues (the refugee crisis included), and as such it facilitates people’s access to social reality. Using the perspective of agenda-setting and the conceptual background of framing theory, we aim to (1) identify the most prominent frames online media employ with reference to the refugee crisis, and (2) reveal the tone of voice online media use when portraying issues related to this crisis. To achieve these two goals, we content analyzed 1493 online news articles, published between April 15, 2015 and February 29, 2016. Main findings show that online media outlets mainly refer to the refugee crisis in terms of responsibility and conflict, in this order of prominence. At the same time, online media portals prefer using a reasonably balanced viewpoint when portraying the refugees, and a slightly negative one in terms of attitudes towards the European Union.
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