Scripal Case.pdf

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Paschalidis Panagiotis
Reactions to the “Skripal case” in Greek newspapers

The “Skripal case”, that is the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian
military officer, and his daughter Julia in Salisbury (UK) on the 4th of March, has
been followed by Greek newspapers on a daily basis and with numerous articles. To
expand our understanding of how Greek newspapers reacted to the incident we chose
to look more systematically at six (6) newspapers: Dimokratia (right wing- populist),
Proto Thema (right-wing- populist), Kathimerini (centre-right) To Vima (centreleft), Efimerida ton Sintakton (left-wing), Avgi (Left-wing). The effort was made to
cover most political orientations.
In total we gathered 193 articles (Dimokratia: 5, Proto Thema 45, Kathimerini 50,
To Vima: 41, Efimerida ton Sintakton: 25, Avgi: 27). It is important to stress that this
is the totality of articles that contain references to the “Skripal case” even if the
subject of the articles is more general (i.e. relations between Russia and the West or
the EU) and in some cases irrelevant (i.e. the decision of a Greek University to award
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, with an honorary doctorate).
A coverage dominated by news stories and reporting
One of the most important findings of our study is that the coverage of the “Skripal
case” is effectuated- in the vast majority of cases- via news stories (reporting). In
effect, we found only 6 opinions dealing with the issue. This figure- which is certainly
to be confirmed by a more thorough verification of all articles- implies a massive
domination of news items that by definition present a mainly informative character,
lacking the interpretative and argumentative character of the opinions and the
commentaries. Furthermore, among these 193 articles we found for instance no
editorials; and among the 6 opinions only 3 dealt exclusively with the “Skripal case”.
By itself, such a finding could indicate a neutral disposition on behalf of Greek
newspapers, in the sense that they did not want to risk any judgment or interpretation
that would force them to take part in the more general discussion pertaining to the
relations between Russia and the West (EU, UK, US, NATO).