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Report finds Labour is almost invisible in EU Referendum coverage

The Labour Party is being practically ignored in media coverage of the EU Referendum according to a Loughborough University report released today.

Labour voices are present in less than 4% of TV coverage and just 8% of print coverage of the Referendum, and no labour politicians are amongst the top 10 most frequently reported individuals.

The party’s media presence in this latest period of analysis (19 May to 1 June 2016) is even lower than the first phase of the study (6-18 May), with the already low number of television appearances dropping by over 40%.

The report found that topics foregrounded in Labour’s ‘distinct agenda’ such as the environment, employment and women’s rights, and social security, are either absent or marginal. In contrast, issues prominent in the Leave campaign such as immigration have seen an increase in media coverage.

Report co-author Professor James Stanyer said:

“Labour is almost invisible in the UK media coverage of the EU Referendum. This is in part due to the dominance of the Conservative ‘blue on blue’ conflict, but will also be down to Jeremy Corbyn’s reluctance to share a platform with the Tories.

“With many believing it will be the Labour voters who ultimately decide the vote on the 23rd, their party’s lack of visibility across press and television will be a major concern.”

Results in the report are derived from detailed content analysis of weekday news coverage of the EU Referendum and is compiled by experts in Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Communication and Culture (CRCC).

The report also revealed:

  • David Cameron has overtaken Boris Johnson as most frequently featured, and the Tories continue to control the media agenda (accounting for 30% of TV and 45% of press mentions).
  • Campaign conduct and process, the economy, and immigration dominate media coverage to date.
  • This period saw a modest increase of coverage afforded to women (12 to 18%) with Nicola Sturgeon and Priti Patel becoming the first women to break into the top 10 list.

Read the full report

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