CORDIS - EU research results

The fourth estate? media, frames and political behaviour towards the EU in comparative perspective

Project description

How European media sets the agenda

The public’s perception of European affairs is largely determined by media coverage. Many Europeans rely on signals from the media to form opinions on issues. The EU-funded MEDPOL project will analyse how issue visibility and media framing influences electoral behaviour in different countries (France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain) and social groups, ever since the signing of the Treaty of the European Union in Maastricht in 1992. The project will also analyse how these frames emerge and evolve over time. The findings will be of particular interest to journalists and policymakers.


How do the media report EU affairs, and to what extent may such coverage shape public attitudes and behaviour towards integration? MEDPOL aim is twofold: to investigate how media coverage of the EU has evolved since the signature of the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992 until today, and to assess the impact of news content and frames on political attitudes and behaviour towards the EU in different member states. Drawing on various disciplines - Political Science, Communication Studies and Political Economy - the project follows a mixed methods approach grounded on agenda-setting and framing theories. It consists of a qualitative and quantitative analysis of media content in four states: Italy, Portugal, Spain and France. Manual and automated coding of press content and Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques will be used to analyse large amounts of textual data while maintaining rigorous methodological standards. MEDPOL brings together content analysis, electoral data and open-access social and economic indicators in order to analyse how issue visibility and media framing may influence electoral behaviour in different countries and social groups.
Findings will further our understanding of how certain terms or sentences have been used to frame EU affairs and to express different ideas about the EU. MEDPOL analyses how these frames emerge and evolve over time, and through which mechanisms they may compete with each other and contribute to political polarisation. Finally, MEDPOL contributes to the diffusion of content analysis techniques, mixed methods and interdisciplinary approaches devoted to understand the role of the media as a political actor. Outputs include two peer-reviewed publications, a monograph, an open-access code that allows the method to be adapted to other cases, an academic workshop, a series of evidence-based comments aimed at a non-specialised audience (journalists, policy-makers, watchdog organisations), and public engagement activities.


Net EU contribution
€ 196 707,84
75341 Paris

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 196 707,84