Protests in progress: Capturing the evolution of events in time

January 25, 2016

Not only governments in power for years can become the object of public dissent. Newly appointed ones can too. Moldova became the most recent example of this when the president of the former Soviet republic named Pavel Filip the new prime minister of the country last week. The protests, however, have gone beyond that, with people now demanding snap elections and changes to the constitution.
Moldavians’ discontent with established political power is not news in itself. The spring of 2015 marked the beginning of a period of political turmoil in the country, after Moldavians learned about the theft of 1 billion dollars from three banks. Demonstrations between then and now have taken on different forms, from peaceful rallies to sit-in camps (still in place after five months); from storming of the parliament last Wednesday to peaceful protests again over the weekend.
Such evolutions is one of the things we are trying to capture in the first two stages of the Screening Protest project. The work involves answer questions such as: when did the anti-government protests in Syria or Yemen, for example, became armed conflicts, according to the media we analyse? When did protesters become rebels or opposition fighters in the media reports? What are the differences and similarities between the ways in which different television channels captured the development of certain events over the years?
With counter-demonstrations in support of the new prime minister expected to take place this week, the situation in Moldova highlights another issue we have encountered in the coding process: how to code when two different demonstrations are reported in the same news item? While routines have been established to signpost such cases for reliability checks at the overview mapping stage of our work, these items will be analysed more closely – and their complexity embraced – as we move forward into the framing and narrative stages of Study 1, ‘Mediated Protest of Today’.

Luiza Chiroiu

Cite This:
Screening Protest — "Protests in progress: Capturing the evolution of events in time," in The Screening Protest Project, January 25, 2016