Thursday, 14 November 2013

When will protests make the TV news

Only about one in ten protests make the TV news. Chances are higher when turnout is high (of demonstrations with over 5,000 participants, about three quarters make the TV news); if trade unions participate; if the demonstration is in the weekend and if the protest isn’t static (protestors walk from A to B). TV also shows more interest in protest if there’s a disruption (eggs are thrown, garbage is set on fire, people are arrested) of if this is expected to happen (the police have a water cannon ready). Theatrics may help to get a protest televised, but will not necessarily lead to extensive reporting. Further, the public station pays somewhat more attention to protests than the commercial station. All this was found in a large-scale study (pdf) by Belgian political scientist Ruud Wouters.

Rens Vliegenthart discusses the study on the Dutch political science blog Stuk Rood Vlees. He refers to the Dutch situation:

Many recent demonstrations in the Netherlands lack the above-mentioned ‘success factors’: the number of protestors is limited; the form static and the protests are seldom supported by the unions, whose hands are tied by the social agreement with the government. Especially the lack of support from the union movement is an important difference with many of the more successful demonstrations in the recent past. Therefore, it’s not likely that the current demonstrations will make much of an impression […].


Of course, things could change. On 30 November, the FNV will hold a protest in Utrecht for purchasing power and real jobs.

1 comment:

Gopi Karunakaran said...
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