Whose War, Whose Fault? Visual Framing of the Ukraine Conflict in Western European Newspapers

Markus Ojala, Mervi Pantti, Jarkko Kangas


Images play a key role in modern mediatized conflicts, promoting particular ways of understanding those conflicts, what they are about, and who drives them. This article examines the visual coverage of the Ukraine conflict in The Guardian, Die Welt, Dagens Nyheter, and Helsingin Sanomat in terms of three dominant frames: the Ukraine conflict as national power struggle, as Russian intervention, and as geopolitical conflict. Focusing on four key events in the conflict between February 2014 and February 2015, and combining quantitative and qualitative methods, the framing analysis highlights the need to examine news images’ textual content and layout and broader cultural and political contexts. We argue that the interplay between visual and textual devices is central to the production of hegemonic meanings, particularly when shaping public perceptions of key actors and their roles in international conflicts.


Ukraine conflict, visual framing, newspapers, news images, conflict reporting

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