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Shining a Spotlight on Media Freedom: Media Coverage of the Global Campaign for Media Freedom

Scott, M., Bunce, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-4924-8993 & Myers, M. (2020). Shining a Spotlight on Media Freedom: Media Coverage of the Global Campaign for Media Freedom. London, UK:


In our first project report, we analyse English-language, online news coverage and Twitter commentary about media freedom. Specifically, we ask whether the Global Campaign for Media Freedom (GCMF) has succeeded in ‘shining a spotlight’ on media freedom in its first year of activities, from July 2019- July 2020.

Key Findings:

*Media freedom receives more coverage than many other international human rights issues. However, this coverage has been in decline in recent years. It is also highly episodic and largely restricted to annual days / events and individual cases in which journalists are targeted or harmed.

*In its first year, the GCMF has helped to shine a spotlight on media freedom, generating a significant amount of new, online, English-language news coverage and social media commentary. Notably, it generated more attention than most other international media freedom initiatives.

*However, this spotlight was fleeting. Media attention was primarily focussed on the inaugural Global Media Freedom Conference in London in July 2019. The GCMF’s other initiatives generated much more limited coverage.

*Media attention focused on well-known personalities associated with the campaign, especially Amal Clooney and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary (at the time) Jeremy Hunt.

*Disappointingly, George Clooney was also frequently mentioned in online news stories about the Global Campaign for Media Freedom (25%) – more mentions than even Jamal Khashoggi or the United Nations – despite not being involved in the campaign.

Publication Type: Report
Additional Information: Copyright, the authors, 2020.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JZ International relations
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
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