An important element of the MEDDEM Lab are the research projects that OTH Regensburg students conduct as part of their bachelor’s theses. The research topics include diverse areas of investigation such as mis- and disinformation (“fake news”), the interactions between media and society, as well as interdisciplinary topics such as media interaction with gender, politics or extremism.
See below for recent BA theses researched and written by our students.
The current disinformation strategy of the European Union is characterized by terminological ambiguity, a disunited legal framework, and a lack of coordination among institutions and member states. In its current state, it cannot protect the European Union and its citizens effectively from the increasing threat posed by hostile actors spreading disinformation campaigns. Consequently, in 2019, the European Parliament increased the pressure on the European Commission to improve the EU disinformation strategy. To do so, it established a special committee concerned with disinformation. In its final report, this committee called for the establishment of an institution to coordinate the strategy against disinformation and improve the European Union’s defense. In the past, responses to the threat of disinformation have often been developed according to the need of the situation and lacked the strategic thought behind it. As a result, they were often ineffective, and their success was limited. To fulfill the expectations and challenges that await the institution responsible for coordinating the strategy against disinformation across the European Union, a strategic approach will be necessary. This strategic approach is provided in this thesis by developing a Balanced Scorecard framework for the European Union Disinformation Taskforce. The developed Balanced Scorecard shows that the taskforce needs to focus on securing and growing financial resources, investing in research and analysis, enhancing societies’ resilience to disinformation, ensuring stakeholder engagement, and coordinating disinformation strategies across the European Union. In doing so, the taskforce can contribute to a more effective disinformation strategy, effectively protecting the European Union from disinformation interfering with political processes and societies. Prioritizing its strategy and focusing on the European Union Disinformation Taskforces identified core values of integrity, independence, accountability, global resilience, and collaboration, will enable the taskforce to lead global efforts in countering disinformation, foster collaboration across the European Union and beyond, and build a resilient society that upholds integrity and democratic discourse.
In today’s digital world, where numerous websites are available, standing out is essential. To gain a competitive advantage, the development of aesthetic, usable and content precise websites is needed. Therefore, websites may need a redesign, but the first step in this process is certainly to analyze the current one. This thesis focuses on one specific website of the laboratory of the University of Applied Sciences Regensburg. Six usability tests utilizing the Thinking Aloud method and a subsequent guided interview were conducted to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current website. In the study certain pages were praised for their visualization. However, prevailing weaknesses such as inconsistent design, lack of visual elements, and inadequate selection and presentation of pictures were also observed. Furthermore, problems were noted in navigation intuitiveness, missing page connections, and an absence of overall structure. The website is also affected by outdated information, along with a general lack of content. Recommendations were provided to address these issues and enhance usability, such as incorporating visual cues, using a consistent design guideline, and integrating categorization systems for a better structure. Adapting these recommendations could contribute to a higher usability of the website. Future research should include quantitative methods such as surveys for a more objective perspective instead of solely relying on qualitative approaches. Overall, this study offers insights for the development of a new, user-centered laboratory website.
This thesis examines how two Lebanon-based media outlets frame the Mahsa Amini Protests that erupted in September 2022 in Iran. Using MAXQDA software, a combined framing analysis methodology is employed to enhance the understanding of the protest paradigm in transnational contexts. Expanding upon existing frames in protest research by adding inductively developed frames, this paper argues that the high ideological proximity between the investigated media outlets and the Iranian government determines their coverage of the protests. Data for the analysis were obtained from 27 online articles published between September 2022 and January 2023 by Al-Manar and Al Mayadeen, two prominent media outlets in the Arab World that are largely influenced by Hezbollah, which is the Iranian government’s strongest non-state ally across borders. Besides applying academically established frames from research on protest framing, additionally created frames uncover the ideological dimension of the delegitimization strategy used by Al-Manar and Al Mayadeen. The results show that the coverage of Al-Manar and Al Mayadeen is primarily focused on delegitimizing the Mahsa Amini Protests by framing them as riots incited by Iran’s alleged enemy as part of a wider conspiracy against the Islamic Republic of Iran. As such, this paper argues that the ideological alignment between media outlets and a government significantly influences the framing of protests beyond national borders and calls for further investigation of the protest paradigm in transnational contexts.
Indonesia’s government recently ratified a new set of criminal codes (KUHP) to replace the colonial version still in effect. However, instead of rejoicing, a wave of rejection and criticism emerged gradually from the public and international media, primarily directed at the prohibition of premarital sex and cohabitation. This study aimed to analyze how ABC Australia and Detik News framed “the ban on sex and cohabitation” to discover whether different countries employed different framing of the policy, which is pivotal in shaping people’s opinions and the future implementation of the policy. A theory-driven content analysis guided by Entman’s (1993) four framing elements was conducted and applied to six articles from ABC and six articles from Detik with the assistance of MAXQDA. The results discovered that both media approach the issue differently. While ABC mainly employed a negative frame focused on the negative perceived legal impacts, Detik opted for a neutral framing that primarily involves government explanations on the complaint offense (delik aduan) as a part of the policy. Interestingly, both media has predominantly referred to tourists more than the domestic public, despite the latter group bearing the most repercussions. This indicated ABC’s preference for securing Australian tourists and Detik’s tendency to maintain Indonesia’s image and tourism industry from disruption. The discrepancies between ABC’s and Detik’s frames can be derived from the discussion of different media ideologies, media systems, used sources, and the prevailing norms in their respective countries. In conclusion, the frames identified in this study are expected to provide contextual information aiding the understanding of the ongoing debate surrounding Indonesian adultery and cohabitation articles across different countries while considering the perspective from both sides of the media.
The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, causing enormous environmental damage at every step of the production and use of apparel. Companies and consumers share mutual responsibility for these impacts. As sustainability issues become more of a focus, Corporate Social Responsibility reporting provides an opportunity for companies to evaluate their performance and inform stakeholders about their practices. Based on three CSR reports from the outdoor fashion companies Patagonia, Columbia, and Amer Sports, a qualitative content analysis identifies the key issues addressed. A comparison with environmental sustainability indicators reveals the overlap between these and the identified thematic content. The main topics covered in the reports are manufacturing, environmental impacts, environmental management, raising awareness, and collaboration. The companies show a focus on the subtopics assessment, corporate policy, and materials. The correspondence between the contents of the reports and the indicators to be compared is less than ten percent. It can be concluded that companies have extensively elaborated environmental sustainability in their CSR reports and address some key issues such as energy, pollution, and recycling. However, there still is a lack of a transparent and holistic approach to environmental sustainability reporting. The companies present themselves from their best side rather than communicating verifiable facts. This allows the companies to position themselves strategically as readers tend to be manipulated toward a positive perception of their business practices. Therefore, uniform standards for reporting should be created in the future so that the comparability and verifiability of CSR reporting can be increased.
This research paper investigates the role of social media in the landscape of social justice movements for queer people of color (POC). In order to explore the importance of mobilization efforts for multiple marginalized identities by means of online platforms, a theoretical framework employing Michel Foucault’s (1980) power theory, the spiral of silence theory, and the social movement society (SMS) theory was created to define the overlying themes of normalization, visibility, awareness, and perception regarding the subject. Six previous studies related to the subject were examined by employing the four themes identified to discuss the effectiveness of social media activism for the advancement of movements for racial and ethnic, as well as sexual and gender minorities. The methodology’s applicability is discussed, along with implications for the future progress of social justice movements for queer POC.
On January 6, 2021, a large crowd of people, previously attending Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally, breached and entered the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC, in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the election results of the 2020 presidential election. Since then, the attack and its implications on American democracy, society and political discourse have repeatedly been discussed. Within this context, a detailed analysis on Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson’s political commentary and logical reasoning in relation to the attack on January 6, 2021, shall be provided in this thesis. Fourteen opinion pieces by Carlson were selected from the Fox News website in between January 18, 2021, and June 10, 2022, and examined for logical fallacies and recurring given themes. The subsequent analysis was based upon the principles of a qualitative data analysis and assisted by the software MAXQDA. The analysis accounted for 77 text passages coded with at least one type of logical fallacy, and 78 text passages coded with at least one given theme. It further indicated that the fallacies of relevance were most prevalent throughout the text material. There was no significant relationship identified between a specific type of logical fallacy and a certain given theme. Tucker Carlson’s political commentary is thus characterized by the frequent occurrence of logical fallacies which were found to function as a rhetorical and argumentative tool. Additionally, many political issues discussed on his show were based upon generalized examples, the inclusion of irrelevant information and the diminishment of political figures and the traditional media. With his show’s far-reaching authority and calculated style of commentary, Carlson greatly influences political discourse in the United States.
Social entrepreneurs in autonomous, agile founding teams encounter strategic group deci-sion-making problems that include conflicting, complex criteria such as revenue streams, social impact, and organizational structures. Applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process (Saaty, 1981), a Multi-Criteria Decision Method, to the media literacy project “Adventures with SAM” depicts an early entrepreneurial strategic decision-making process and supports it with pair-wise comparing and prioritizing criteria that should allow for data-based decisions. The re-sults demonstrate high priorities for team well-being and individual flexibility, indicating the influence of cognitive biases, personal experiences, and intuition on the decision-making process. Whereas generational characteristics, educational background, and gender sociali-zation affect the individual’s approach and intuition, the homogeneous distribution of these factors led to the group’s initial formation and in turn resulted in a high group consensus pri-oritizing the criteria. In conclusion, social enterprises are increasingly more reliant on agile and flexible team structures and also high intrinsic motivation, which can be stimulated by making group decisions balanced between data and intuition.
Countering influence and influence operations are becoming more important for democracies as fast traveling information becomes progressively accessible to a considerable portion of the population. There are multiple ways to counter influence, and organizations and operations involved are emerging rapidly. However, the problem the field still suffers from is a lack of an overview of both the available number of counter-influence operations and their corresponding functions. Such awareness would benefit collaboration across disciplines and scientific progress. This thesis introduces a new catalog dedicated exclusively to the landscape of counter-influence operations in Germany. It expands upon current internationally aligned databases and catalogs that list organizations and projects that counter influence. The new catalog lays the groundwork for a survey of the niche field of German counter-influence operations which could complement international research on the topic. Insight is provided regarding the defining characteristics of the German landscape in countering influence. Said landscape was found to be defined by an abundance of civil societies which could create volatility not unusual in the field. Furthermore, the German government turned out to be comparatively more engaged in countering influence than what was expected in an international comparison. Though some connection and collaboration points for organizations do exist in Germany, a stable network has yet to be introduced, a conclusion confirming international research concerning counter-influence operations.
Gendered disinformation — malign information activities targeting female politicians based on their gender — aims to undermine women on the political stage. The intersection of disinformation and gender has found increasing attention in Germany when Annalena Baerbock, the Green party’s chancellor candidate for the 2021 federal election, was shown to be disproportionately targeted by disinformation campaigns. As detailed research on this nexus is however still scarce, this paper aims to contribute to the understudied field by connecting the aspect of gendered disinformation with the concept of framing. Examining the relation under the scope of state-aligned influence operations that attempt to influence public opinion, the research focuses on the Russian foreign news outlet RT DE and identifies to what extent its coverage on Baerbock is framed with a gendered component. Combining a qualitative content and frame analysis of 19 opinion pieces published by RT DE from April 2021 until September 2021, it identifies three prominent frames. Baerbock is presented as dangerous, insincere, and incompetent, a notion that is underlined through emotional framing. The frames draw largely on typical gendered disinformation narratives and support RT DE’s message of Baerbock as an ominous election choice. Suggesting a personal interest for the reader not to vote for her, RT DE in that way covertly advances Russia’s strategic goal of preventing a Green chancellor Baerbock. The findings emphasise the necessity for more research and policy action on the topic in order to protect democratic processes and counteract attempts by illiberal actors who seek to drive women out of the political arena.
If foreign politics can be both based on values and pursue economic and political interests poses a controversially discussed question. This dilemma culminated in the case of German foreign politics towards China during the pro-democratic movement in Hong Kong in 2019 and 2020. Over one million protesters formed the largest movement for enhanced democratic rights and freedoms in the city which serves as a crucial point of contact for German Chinese trade relations. This thesis analyzes the communication strategy of German foreign politics in reaction to the pro-democratic movement and the Chinese government’s legal pursuits, e. g. the so-called Security Law. Special focus lies on the argumentative role of human rights versus economic interests and Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy. The data set consists of 10 speeches and segments of 36 press conferences by former Chancellor Merkel, Foreign Minister Maas, and governmental spokespersons. The findings suggest that human rights facilitate a master frame to express and partly reconcile both values and economic and political interests. Hong Kong’s autonomous status was addressed only when reassuring the German position to be in line with European statements. Further research on a concept of “negative space” frames detected during this analysis and on cultural frame adaptation could allow valuable new insights into strategic communication of foreign politics.
On the 26th of September 2021, the SPD won the German Bundestag elections with 25.7% of the votes after only receiving 15% in the polls the year before. This evolution indicates the effect electoral campaigns can have on changing the image of a political party and creating an unexpected election result. This bachelor’s thesis examines the effect of electoral campaign communication and agenda setting within the electoral campaign of the SPD in 2021. The application of electoral campaign methods is being compared between a national party platform and a local constituency. The research is conducted on the base of relevant theoretical background, published electoral campaign strategies of the SPD and an expert interview with Carmen Wegge, who is a representative of the SPD in the Bundestag. By analyzing the SPD’s nation-wide electoral campaign based on theoretical concepts, it became clear that the party significantly used image strategy and storytelling to construct its campaign. An explicit focus was laid thereby on its chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz and his capabilities as well as redefining what political topics the overall party stands for. In the application of those strategies on a local level, it was possible to detect that Carmen Wegge used similar strategic approaches. Storytelling and image strategy played a significant role in her campaign as well, however the implementation differed. Image strategy by the SPD was mainly used to highlight Olaf Scholz’s abilities to be chancellor, whereas Carmen’s image strategy focused on increasing her familiarity within the electoral district. The analytical conclusions are only based on the application of one electoral district candidate. Further research could therefore compare several applications by different candidates from the same political party to support or contradict those findings.
Das Ziel dieser Bachelorarbeit ist es herauszufinden, ob und wie die Partei Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) das Thema der geschlechtergerechten Sprache während der Bundestagswahl 2021 für ihre politischen Zwecke durch strategisches Framing instrumentalisiert hat. Diese These soll im Verlauf der Arbeit genauer untersucht und so bestätigt oder widerlegt werden. Dazu wurde eine qualitative Inhaltsanalyse durchgeführt, indem die Beiträge der AfD auf sieben Social Media-Kanälen gesammelt wurden, die zwischen März und September 2021 von dieser geteilt wurden. So konnten Frames, die zur Instrumentalisierung des Themas dienten, identifiziert und später so
genauer analysiert werden. Das Ergebnis ist, dass der Frame des Verlusts der deutschen Sprache ein Bedrohungsszenario und so darauf folgende vermeintliche Missstände im persönlichen Leben suggerieren soll. Diese Missstände sind häufig untermauert durch Werte-Frames. Dieses subjektive Gefühl der Missstände ist Teil der Deprivationstheorie, welche dann maßgeblich für die rechte Gesinnung eines Menschen verantwortlich ist. Diese überzeugt so die Wähler*innen von der AfD als zu wählende Partei bei der Bundestagswahl 2021. Damit wurde die Instrumentalisierung der geschlechtergerechten Sprache durch die AfD während der Bundestagswahl 2021 festgestellt.
The phenomenon of social networks is here to stay. It has created a need for proximity between the politician and the audience. This enables the possibility of agreements and discussions, strengthening the development of democracy on the internet and, therefore, in society. In the February 2019 elections, the Salvadoran population decided to put an end to the bipartisanship that ruled the country for 30 years. It was then that Nayib Bukele assumed the presidency of the Republic of El Salvador. This made him the youngest president in the democratic history of the entire American continent. Since his years as Mayor, his communication on Twitter caught the attention of international opinion sources. The president is characterized by his frequent use of this social network to tweet direct orders to his government team through Twitter. Bukele is one of the most popular and far-reaching figures on Twitter nationwide. Reaching in a direct way to the Salvadoran population, without any kind of filter or censorship from the mass media. A few months into his term, he was faced with the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, this investigation is based on his use of Neuromarketing techniques implemented in President Bukele’s communication behavior via Twitter, during the 30 first days of home quarantine in El Salvador. His way of governing during this time gave much to talk about, leading to compliments and criticisms. Based on this, through a qualitative analysis, this research was conducted. After a successful implementation of a Codebook, his Twitter publications were analyzed. The results of this analysis and the application are discussed. During the discussion of the qualitative analysis, results and possible limitations are identified and explained. Finally, a brief description of the political background, current political and social situation of the country helps to understand the relevance of the data obtained from the analysis. The data obtained from the analysis, highlighting the scarce access to both information technology and social networks among the Salvadoran population.
Mass media uses framing to achieve preferred policy outcomes by highlighting and purposefully leaving out pieces of information. An important topic in American media in 2021 was the possible repeal of the Hyde Amendment. After more than 40 years of the Hyde Amendment blocking federal funds from being used for the financing of abortions, President Biden left the amendment out of his budget proposal for the financial year. Based on a qualitative content analysis of 16 opinion articles, a frame analysis revealed extensive Pro-Hyde Amendment framing by the pro-life discourse. The focus hereby was the use of protectionist framing, the use of the frame alignment process of frame extension and the use of collective action frames. The authors framed the Hyde Amendment as protecting unborn babies, women, a Black minority and through the use of frame extension also the taxpayer. Moreover, using collective action frames, the authors suggest a problem definition and solution to the reader by saying the possible repeal of the Hyde Amendment would cause helpless babies to die, and Democrats as the drivers behind the repeal must be stopped. Considering this, the media can have a substantial impact on an individual’s voting behavior and policy preference. With framing being present in politics as well as the media, it is crucial to keep this in mind and access different kinds of information channels to be able to form own opinions about political processes.
While the rise of online platforms and the digital transformation of the media sector have brought many benefits for individuals and societies, they also pose enormous risks. The openness of liberal democracies inevitably offers actors such as Russia and China ample opportunities to interfere in democratic societies by employing disinformation campaigns and influence operations to achieve their own geopolitical goals. This has been observed in numerous cases in recent years, most notably in the context of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The danger has by no means been averted and the European Union remains a preferred target. It is therefore highly relevant to analyze the EU’s reaction to the information war that has unfolded following the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. The securitization theory offers a suitable analytical framework for this purpose, since the EU’s threat perception, the attributed urgency, and proposed and implemented measures are of particular interest. In order to establish to what extent the EU has undertaken a securitizing move, a software-based qualitative text analysis of fourteen publications by the Commission and the European External Action Service was conducted, examining the EU’s approach towards the challenge posed by disinformation and foreign influence operations. The results show that soon after the annexation of Crimea first momentum was gained and measures implemented to protect social cohesion and democracy. However, the true dimension of the threat, the urgency to respond, and the most relevant actors have only been addressed since 2018 and especially under the new von der Leyen-Commission. It also seems plausible that the EU’s gradual securitization, which did not translate into real emergency measures before 2022, was already successfully carried out by other actors before 2018, thereby shaping the threat perception of European societies.
The current Covid-19 Pandemic has led many people to doubt its existence and criticise the measures introduced to contain it. Many of them are now mobilising on social media to speak out against governmental measures and decisions to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. These people refer to themselves as contrarians or Covid-19 deniers, but the most common phrase on social media is Covid-19 sceptics. The free instant messaging service Telegram is particularly popular for communicating these sentiments due to its limited monitoring by the operators. It has been observed that groups and channels are now forming on the application that instrumentalise children in particular and protest against Germany’s Covid-19 policy. Thus, this research project aims to identify the commonly used framing strategies of the child protection movement in Germany. Further, suspected ideological proximity to the German “Querdenken” movement is to be evaluated, and it is attempted to classify the child protection movement’s political mindset and forms of content. The analysis is based on monitoring four Telegram groups and channels with pedagogical/educational references and interfaces to right-wing extremism. With the help of Kuckartz’ approach to qualitative content analysis methods, the data collected on Telegram is coded, analysed and structured. The method of Frame analysis was further conducted using Benford’s and Snow’s Frame alignments to identity the collective Action Frames of the movement. The research highlights the unique framing of the child protection movement, revealing a worldview of Elites who want to execute an “evil plan” to harm children. It presents society as helpless victims and calls attention to the remarkable power of innocence surrounding discussions concerning child protection. This paper asserts that the child protection movement can be seen as a subgroup of the “Querdenken” movement due to its evident ideological proximity. This work also reveals the intense distrust of the protesters towards the original media and politicians, which is also expressed by being highly critical of the Covid-19 containment measures and by the frequent use of conspiracy theories, populist content and hate speech. Although a precise political classification of the group is rather complex, it became clear that these factors reinforce a division of society and further drive online radicalisation.
Framing is a communicative tool used by all media outlets to simplify and categorize information. International broadcasters with financial and editorial ties to their host governments have a vested interest in public opinion abroad and instrumentalize framing. Russia faced international criticism following the poisoning of Alexey Navalny in August of 2020. RT DE, the German-language outlet of RT International, reported extensively on the poisoning. This paper identifies the frames present in the coverage of the poisoning of Alexey by RT DE. It aims to understand how these frames are built and employed to attract and persuade a German-speaking audience of its account of events in the Navalny case. A qualitative content analysis was conducted with 19 opinion pieces found on RT DE’s website from September 2020 to May 2021. Frames were identified by analyzing the thematic clusters determined through the content analysis. Results suggest the existence of two interrelated frames. A moral frame paints Russia as the victim of Western Russophobia in general and an analytical frame criticizes the Western account of events and uses the Navalny case as a specific example of Russophobia by Western governments, media, and institutions. These frames signal Russia’s innocence and delegitimize Western entities and their account of events using various tools and strategies that relate to the formal, linguistic, and topical attributes of the articles.
Participatory propaganda on social media, which aims to entice users to interact with content to reach not only them, but also their own respective social networks, is a communication technique which can turn ordinary social media users into amplifiers of (propagandistic) messages. By designing content that motivates users to “like”, comment, or share, considerable reach can be achieved to influence the perceptions of as many viewers as possible. In the vaccination debate, memes have been used as vessels for anti- and pro-vaccination communications for years. Often, but not always, these memes contain false or inaccurate information that may significantly influence viewers’ willingness to be vaccinated. Based on an online survey targeting social media users with differing attitudes toward vaccinations, this study first and foremost aims to examine the role that emotions, in dependence on pre-existing attitudes, play in leading users to “like” (incl. emoticon-likes), comment on, or share vaccination memes on social media. This was done via mean value comparisons. The survey also yielded numerous ancillary results through multiple linear regression models and one-factor repeated measures ANOVAs. Mean value comparisons revealed apparent relationships between a strong mean overall emotional reaction (containing predominantly negatively valenced emotions) and a low mean overall likelihood of engagement, between low levels of contempt and a high mean likelihood of liking, as well as between high levels of joy and disgust and increased mean likelihoods of liking depending on context and vaccination attitudes. Furthermore, high levels of disgust as well as strong overall emotional reactions (containing predominantly negatively valenced emotions) appeared to lead to higher mean likelihoods of commenting when vaccination viewpoints clashed. For sharing, apparent relations between the presence of joy and a high likelihood of sharing, as well as between high levels of disgust or a high-averaging combination of disgust, contempt, sadness and anger, and a low mean likelihood of sharing were observed. Independent t-tests revealed that vaccine opponents and advocates predominantly differed from each other in their emotional reactions and engagement likelihoods towards pro and anti-vaccination memes. Aside from the role of emotions, the survey revealed a clear statistical relation between vaccination attitudes and the mean likelihoods of liking and sharing: If a meme conformed to participants’ own pre-existing vaccination attitudes, their mean likelihood of liking or sharing increased significantly. Moreover, users perceiving social media as a news source superior to traditional outlets were more likely to “like” anti-vaccination memes. Users’ “force of habit” (e.g., frequently liking, commenting, sharing in general), too, was found to be a predictor of all three mean engagement likelihood options in the pro-vaccination meme category. Finally, female participants were more likely to “like” pro-vaccination memes than male participants, and increases in age were positively related to increases in the mean likelihood of liking across anti-vaccination memes.
Memes as vehicles of vaccine communications that can influence cognitions, as well as the dangers of algorithmic amplification through interactions with content should be taken seriously. The results from this paper can serve as base material for countermeasures or provide a foundation for future research into how and why social media users engage with vaccination memes and other content.
Negative bias against women politicians in terms of quantity and quality in media reporting has been identified as a factor in the prolongation of the underrepresentation of women in politics. In order grasp a possible bias, this research examines whether there is gender balance in the visibility in national reporting on German federal ministers. This work conducts a quan-titative content analysis of the coverage of the ministers. The data base consists of newspaper articles published in the German daily newspapers SZ, FAZ and WELT, during the first week after the appointment of the Merkel IV cabinet. The analysis compares the share of mentions the ministers receive accumulated by gender with their share in the cabinet. In case the shares are equal, there is gender balance. Thereby, the differences between the newspapers as well as the level of prestige of the ministries are considered. The mentions on the frontpages are considered in specific. Additionally, it is examined whether the analyzed articles use gender-sensitive language that represents men and women equally, both, in general, and when refer-ring to political actors. The study reveals that the share of mentions men ministers receive is significantly higher than their share in the cabinet, resulting in an underrepresentation of women ministers in the reporting. While the impact of the level of prestige of the ministry on the amount of reporting was ambiguous, there was detected a difference between the news-papers. The reporting in SZ has been found to be balanced. However, there was a clear nega-tive gender bias towards women in FAZ and WELT. Men were also overrepresented among the mentions on the front page. A majority of articles did not use gender-sensitive language and therefore did not represent women politicians. The research concludes that there is no gender balance in terms of visibility in the reporting on German federal ministers.
This bachelor thesis examines the relationship between public relations (PR) of economic interest groups and journalism, based on the example of Initiative Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft (INSM). The INSM is an interest group founded and extensively funded by the German employers’ associations of the metal and electrical industries and pursues lobbying for neoliberal economic principles through an intensive PR practice. In the first part of this thesis, the influence of INSM’s PR activities on the economic and political reporting of German leading media
is examined by a comparative quantitative content analysis of INSM’s press releases and the media coverage. Based on the results of this analysis, the reasons for the decrease in the media reception of INSM’s press releases are elaborated by two qualitative expert interviews in the
second part. One explanation for the observed development is the change in the political situation, as a result of which the core issues of the INSM are no longer of political relevance and, consequently, their messages do not attract media and public interest anymore. Another explanation is the change in the media landscape. First, INSM’s communication strategy has been widely established in the media and is now used by various actors. As a result, it does not represent a unique selling point of the INSM, which means that the organisation is no longer
attracting public and media attention. Second, print media are increasingly replaced by digital media as the primary platform for public debate, which is why activities of political and media actors as well as the society’s attention are increasingly concentrated on social media platforms.
In summary, the PR practice of the INSM only plays a minor role in the political and public debate today, but its case cannot be fully transferred to the relationship between PR and journalism in general. Due to a lack of research capacities and increasing economic pressure, journalism
still tends to adopt PR materials from interest groups, which is currently a challenge for neutral, independent journalism and its function as the basis of political opinion-formation in modern, democratic societies.
After fifty-three years and over two hundred thousand deaths, the conflict between Colombia and the country’ largest guerrilla group FARC was officially brought to an end on November 24, 2016. The most recent negotiations succeeded, where two previous attempts at peace
had failed. Norway and Cuba served as guarantors of any potential agreement reached and were the only third parties present throughout the entire negotiation process. They received praise and honours from both disputing parties and were often reported as peace facilitators
in the press. One can therefore postulate that the guarantors’ intervention was a key success factor in the resolution of the conflict and renders their denomination as simply a “guarantor” of the agreement as insufficient. An analysis of Norway’s and Cuba’s roles in the peace process suggests that they were critical in reaching the peace deal. They facilitated the process by providing procedural assistance, fostering the parties’ commitment, problem-solving, de-escalating crises and ending military confrontation. The effectiveness of their mediating activities is corroborated by their appointment as guarantors for yet another peace process; this time between the Colombian government and the country’s second-largest guerrilla group ELN. Consequently, Norway’s and Cuba’s designation as “guarantors” does not fully acknowledge the extent of their contribution. This was perhaps an intentional move by the parties to keep the process “Colombian”. Given the guarantors’ achievements, their classification should be expanded to a “mediating guarantor”, challenging the traditional understanding of a guarantor’s scope or responsibilities. The involvement of mediating guarantors could thus be a key success factor in resolving other conflicts in and outside of Colombia.