Framing the Catalan Conflict: A Decade of el procés in the International Media

Cristina Perales-García, Carles Pont-Sorribes, David Meseguer-Mañá, Enric Xicoy-Comas

Producció científica: Article en revista indexadaArticleAvaluat per experts


Since 2010 the Catalan secessionist movement has been reported on extensively in the global media. Beginning with the 2010 demonstrations against the decision of the Spanish Constitutional Court to reject a new Catalan statute of autonomy, and covering subsequent events such as the unofficial self-determination referendum in 2017, the trial and imprisonment of Catalan political leaders, and the violent protests against the verdicts; the events in the region have all featured heavily on the front pages of the international press. This study analyzes how US and UK newspapers have covered the Catalan independence movement during the period from 2010 to 2019. To do so, this study focuses on two US newspapers (The New York Times and The Washington Post) and two from the UK newspapers (The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian) and observes how the positions of the Spanish and Catalan governments are represented through the analysis of the frames used to construct the newspapers’ coverage, as well as the overall tone and the sources used by the journalists. To detect the dominant framework, a framing analysis is undertaken from a communicative and deductive perspective, applying Semetko and Valkenburg’s classification. In-depth interviews are also conducted with the newspapers’ Spanish-based foreign correspondents which allows the analysis to include the correspondents’ views on the difficulties faced by them during their time spent while covering the conflict. The study’s primary conclusion is that the international press downplays the significant role played by social movements and civil society in the secession movement, with a strong preference shown by journalists to rely on representatives of official sources as the most valid spokespersons for the movement. Secondly, the study finds that media attention follows closely the flash-points of the conflict with more coverage appearing at the moments of greater political tension between the Spanish and Catalan governments. This suggests that civil society mobilizations attract less interest from the media that instead prefers to focus on developments in the political sphere.

Idioma originalAnglès
Nombre de pàgines20
RevistaAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Estat de la publicacióAcceptada/en premsa - 2022


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