Protests in Spain. Media Coverage comparison with Tahrir Square Egypt Revolution

Something really new is emerging in the political life in Spain. An apparently grassroots movement in the verge to create a serisous crisis in the political system in Spain.

The movement Democracia Real Ya (Real Democracy Now) launched a call by mid February for civic demonstrations in Spain by May 15, under the motto “Toma la calle. No somos mercancías de politicos y banqueros”. The call was backed by many organizations (political parties are not allowed to join) and reinforced through Twitter.

The May 15 demonstrations turned into the occupation of several public espaces, being the Puerta del Sol in madrid the main media reference. This has been labelled as the Movimiento 15-M.

Up to now this movement is a pure anti-violent civic initiative. They are not calling for voting for any single party. Many of them propose not to vote the two majority parties: PSOE (socialist party) and PP (Popular Party, center-right). They are not formally proposing abstention.

Transl: “Square SOLution”. “When will they finally understand that the important issue is the people?”

We show below the manifiesto by Democracia Real:

“We are ordinary people. We are like you: people, who get up every morning to study, work or find a job, people who have family and friends. People, who work hard every day to provide a better future for those around us.”
“Some of us consider ourselves progressive, others conservative. Some of us are believers, some not. Some of us have clearly defined ideologies, others are apolitical, but we are all concerned and angry about the political, economic, and social outlook which we see around us: corruption among politicians, businessmen, bankers, leaving us helpless, without a voice.”
“This situation has become normal, a daily suffering, without hope. But if we join forces, we can change it. It’s time to change things, time to build a better society together.” (DemocraciaRealYa).

Transl: We do not represent any political party or labor union. We are angry citizens.

May 22 is election day in Spain: Local and Regional elections. Political parties in Spain are disconcerted as it is really hard to estimate the impact of this initiative in their electorate. They also fear the implications of this movement in the incoming general elections. Newspapers in Spain find also hard to understand and identify the origin and the consequences of this movement.

How is international media covering news about protests in Spain?

We compare news about protests in comparison with media coverage given to all news about the elections in Spain.

Our results show that right now international media coverage to elections in Spain is completely dominated by the ongoing civic protests: the media reputation profile of both type of news are basically similar in all issues. News about elections in Spain are noticeable because of the protests.

In this framework, the answer to the question about how international media is perceiving the news comes from the marginal analysis of the two types of news.

International media is somehow praising the movement in terms of “Excellence”, especially concerning the vector components innovative, recognition and awareness.

Concerning the vector “Respected, Coherent”, only the component ethical is underlined.

Looking to negative vectors of media reputation, we find that the news about the protests are not linked to higher degree of association to vectors “Scandal” and “Tragedy”. This result confirms that media is not considering up to this point the protests as a focus of violence, insecurity or instability.

Comparison with Tahrir Square Egypt Revolution

Some analysts and journalists compare the civic movement in Spain wth the Arab revolution in Tunis and Egypt, epitomised by the demonstrations at Tahrir Square in the Caire.

We can provide, using the approach by MRI Universidad de Navarra to which extent international media treat both events as similar or dissimilar.

Protests in Spain and in Egypt are similarly viewed in linkage with “Excellence” perception. Protests in Spain are right now most appreciated as “Innovative, Efficiency”.

Substantial differences concerning the media coverage of the two events emerge concerning “Respected, Coherent”. Tahrir Square events are mostly viewed as a values-driven issue. We find an astonishing high degree of association with “Respected” components. This is more pronounced concerning components like compassion, dignity, fairness and happiness. By comparison, the association to these values for explaining the events in Spain are much lower.

Media perception to negative reputation vectors “Scandal” and “Tragedy” are also substantially higher for explaining the Egypt events than the Spanish protests. These results show that the underlying economic and political situation are clearly not judged in the same way by international media. The political framework and implications of the revolt are considered much more serious in Egypt.

Concerning the news about Spain, we find that only in “Tragedy” components worst and failure reach the same levels than news about Egypt. This probably refers to the perception of unsatisfaction about the perceived quality of the Spanish political system and its problems for dealing with corruption and economic issues.

Other posts

Movimiento 15-M, Democracia Real Ya: Perception by Local Newspapers El Mundo, El País, Intereconomía, Público