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Tampere University studies how Finnish, Russian, and Chinese television news portray the war in Ukraine

Published on 11.4.2022
Tampere University
sodassa raunioitunut kerrostalon keskiosa Kiovassa
Photo: Pexels / Ales Uscinau
What is the content of Finnish, Russian and Chinese mainstream news programmes about the war in Ukraine and its relationship with Russia, the European Union and NATO? This is the topic of a new study to be carried out by Tampere University in April and May. A similar news analysis is also to be launched in Brazil, India, and South Africa.

The empirical data will be collected with content analysis using a common classification framework, in addition to which a qualitative description of the narrative conveyed by the news will be made for each country. The rapidly launched study will provide an empirical basis for further research.

The researchers will survey television news in the main channels of Russia and China and in the main channel of YLE in Finland. Television news casts will be selected on the day the war started on 24 February 2022 and on 1–2 days in the following weeks, until mid-April. The preliminary results will be published in May.

Similar studies will also be launched in Brazil, India, and South Africa, building on the network of researchers created by the BRICS project which was funded by the Academy of Finland.

The resources for the study are provided by each participant and Tampere University is only responsible for coordinating the project. In addition, efforts will be made to set up similar studies with their own resources in the USA, UK, Germany, and other selected EU countries.

The principal investigator is Svetlana Pasti, Associate Professor at Tampere University, who was also the principal investigator of the Academy of Finland-funded BRICS project in 2012–2016. She will conduct a content analysis of the Vremya news in the main television channel of Russia and coordinate the participation of the other BRICS countries and selected European countries in the study.

Chinese Tao Zhang, who has recently started doctoral studies at Tampere University’s media studies, will also work in the project. He will conduct a content analysis of the main news in China’s CCTV channel.

The Finnish part of the study will be conducted by media studies student Milla Blomqvist on the main news broadcasts of YLE.

The study is led by Professor Emeritus Kaarle Nordenstreng and funded by the C V Åkerlund Media Foundation.