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Type: Journal article
Title: The View from Down Under: The Australian News Media's Understanding and Framing of the European Union
Author: Stats, K.
Citation: Australian Studies, 2010; 2:1-31
Publisher: British Australian Studies Association
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 2042-5120
Statement of
Katrina Stats
Abstract: Despite the EU’s own preoccupation with its identity and legitimacy, and the fact that the effects of European integration are increasingly being felt outside its borders, external perceptions of this important global actor have been largely ignored. Recognising the media’s crucial role in communicating distant events, and thus in the formation of public and official perceptions, this article constructs a comprehensive case study of the way in which the EU is represented in the media discourses of one of its external partners – Australia. In doing so, it reveals the priorities not only of the Australian media but also those of the Australian government with respect to its relationship with the ever widening and deepening EU. The EU coverage of five Australian daily newspapers and two daily news broadcasts was monitored for a six month period and analysed in order to determine the way in which the EU is ‘framed’ for local audiences. This analysis demonstrated that the EU was virtually absent from broadcast news and comparatively invisible in the press. Its Member States and their leaders figured much more prominently than the EU’s own institutions or leaders, and when the EU did feature, it was most often only a secondary or minor focus of the news. A series of interviews with Australian newsmakers helped to explain these and other findings. The interviews revealed that newsmakers’ understandings of the EU as well as their resources for covering EU affairs were limited and out-dated. The lack of a strong Australian media presence in Europe exacerbates the difficulties of reporting this complex global actor. Nevertheless, ongoing integration in Europe is a political reality that Australia can no longer afford to ignore. It is clear that the EU has outgrown the frames through which it is viewed from Australia. This paper recommends a reframing of the EU that more accurately reflects, and helps to further develop, the EU-Australia relationship.
Keywords: Australia; European Union; framing; media analysis; news; perceptions
Rights: (c) British Australian Studies Association. This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.
RMID: 0020105063
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Appears in Collections:Politics publications

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