Russian media coverage of the EU in times of pandemic: does ownership matter?
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The thesis examines how Russian media frames the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether its coverage differs depending on the type of the ownership. To understand how ownership structures influence media portrayal of a foreign actor, online content of three Russian newspapers — Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Kommersant and Novaya Gazeta — is analyzed. Selected outlets represent different types of ownership: state-owned, privately-owned by a person affiliated with the government, and employee-owned. Qualitative content analysis and T. van Dijk’ approach of critical discourse analysis were applied to investigate: 1) How has Russian media portrayed the EU throughout the coronavirus pandemic? 2) How does media framing differ based on a media outlet’s ownership structure? Two types of analysis were based on the assumption that the more media is affiliated with government structures, the more its discourse reflects these structures. The findings show the influence of ownership only in the case of the state-owned media outlet that reflects Russia’s official discourses towards the EU.
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