Sustainability‐related media coverage in 41 Countries Barkemeyer, Ralf Figge, Frank Hoepner, Andreas Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften, Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik
Sustainability‐related media coverage in 41 Countries
regional patterns or a north/south divide?
Sustainability‐related media coverage in 41 Countries : regional-level patterns or a north/south divide?
Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften, Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik
This paper analyses levels of public awareness of environmental and socioeconomic issues in sustainability in developing and developed countries as measured by relative levels of perceived media salience. The study utilizes a worldwide sample across 41 different countries in the years 2007 to 2009 to analyze how country and region of origin as well as levels of socioeconomic development impact the sustainability-related media agendas of 115 leading national broadsheet newspapers. Coverage levels of 20 key issues in sustainability such as poverty, climate change, HIV/AIDS and corruption are analysed to identify national and regional-level patterns in sustainability-related media agendas.
Previous research by the authors has shown that distinct media agendas can be identified between different countries as well as between developed and developing countries, with the latter showing a marked bias towards environmental sustainability in developed countries. However, it can also be expected that regional-level patterns emerge: for example, the strong environmental movements and environmental institutionalization in Western Europe can be assumed to have triggered comparatively high levels of media coverage on environmental issues across Western European broadsheet newspapers. A cross-sectional regression model is used to identify whether a range of factors including country affiliation, regional affiliation, Human Development Index (HDI) scores, or individual characteristics of the newspapers and their editors-in-chief, can serve to explain the sustainability-related media agendas reflected by respective coverage levels.
The findings of this study can serve to inform recent scholarly literature in the field of both global governance and international corporate social responsibility (CSR). In both domains, it has been argued that a global dissemination of initially Northern-based instruments and concepts can be observed. In particular, the results of this study can shed light on the bias towards addressing environmental sustainability – at the expense of socioeconomic sustainability – that characterizes the current generation of global governance and international CSR-related concepts and instruments.
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