Coverage of COVID-19 Lockdown Protests in The Sun and The Guardian: A Comparative Analysis.

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The present study aims to discover how the COVID-19 anti-lockdown demonstrations were framed in both The Sun and The Guardian. How frames are used to report a story is important to understand since frames provide different narratives to the same story and, therefore, the readers of the respective frames receive a partial or incomplete version of the story. Because the COVID-19 virus and the lockdown protests are relatively new and rare occurrences, studying how these events have been framed in different media channels becomes increasingly important to understand due to the potential social implications it can have. 20 English news feature articles were extracted, 10 from The Sun and 10 from The Guardian. For this study, qualitative discourse analysis was conducted over two phases. Phase one consisted of a textual analysis that used inductive framing analysis to identify the most prominent frame(s) in the news features. Phase two consisted of contextual analysis. The results showed that the main core frames found in The Sun were ‘Irresponsible behavior of protesters that want freedom’, ‘Conspiracy theories led to protesting’, ‘Many protesters were arrested’, and ‘Violent actions’. The main core frames found in The Guardian were ‘Conspiracy theories led to protesting’, ‘Many protesters were arrested’, ‘Sympathy for the protesters’, ‘Violent actions’, and ‘Abuse of power’. However, the papers differed in ‘solution responsibility’ as well as quotation use. The proposed differences between The Sun and The Guardian could be due to the ideological and quality differences of the newspapers, hence attributing responsibility to different agents and reporting information differently. (Keywords: COVID-19, News framing, qualitative discourse analysis, inductive framing analysis, comparative analysis)
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