Framing Protest in Online News and Readers’ Comments: The Case of Serbian Protest “Against Dictatorship”

Jelena Kleut, Ana Milojevic


This research examines the “protest paradigm” in the digital news environment of a politically polarized media system by considering relations between news and online readers’ comments about the Serbian protest Against Dictatorship, which was held in 2017. Applying content analysis to news and comments from two news websites, our study indicates the need to account for opposing framing of the protest (violence/peacefulness, de/legitimizing and un/democratic) in a polarized environment. The results show that the distribution of opposing frames is guided by the media relations with the government. Online readers’ comments generally enhance this polarized pattern of frame distribution, with the exception of the performance frame, which remains prolific in the media, but absent from readers’ comments.


protest paradigm, user comments, online media, framing, polarized media system

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