Sustainability-related media coverage and socioeconomic development: a regional and North–South perspective

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Ralf Barkemeyer ; Frank Figge ; Diane Holt (2013)
  • Journal: Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, volume 31, issue 4 August, pages 716-740

With this paper we discuss the differences between sustainability-related media agendas across different countries and regions. Utilising a sample of 115 leading national newspapers covering forty-one countries, we show that typically no homogeneous global trends exist with regard to sustainability-related media agendas. Instead, significant differences exist regarding the national-level prioritisations of sustainability-related issues in the countries under review. To some extent, these observed differences can be attributed to different levels of socioeconomic development as measured by Human Development Index scores and gross domestic product per capita. Here, generic differences can be identified between newspapers from the Global North and South, with a range of issues such as climate change emerging as typically Northern issues, whereas issues such as corruption and poverty show significantly higher levels of coverage across newspapers from the Global South. We conclude with a discussion of the results in the context of global environmental governance. Keywords: sustainable development, media agendas, text mining, broadsheet newspapers, environmental sustainability, socioeconomic sustainability, Human Development Index
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