Covering the Wildfire of Mati in Greece: Undermining the Systemic Human Impact on the Environment

Minos Athanasios Karyotakis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Mati (Greece) wildfire of 23 July 2018 received extensive news coverage. It dominated the Greek public discourse for several years to the extent that it was ascribed to being used as a tool for electoral power. In spite of its significance, no research has focused on investigating the news coverage of this event. This research paper examines the news discourse of the Mati Wildfire by studying 1,573 news articles, using ideological discourse analysis (IDA). It analyzes the dominant narratives and constructions of the nine most prominent news websites in Greece and reveals if there is a systemic undermining of human impact on the environment. The findings showed that the news outlets did not cover the wildfire as an environmental event, but rather a political issue. The disseminated constructions were of a populistic discourse that supported a polarized logic of a positive image for a particular group (i.e., the main opposition party) and a negative one for the outgroup (i.e., the then-government). As a result, the study emphasizes how crucial it is for journalists to critically explain the role and effects of human activity on the environment (Anthropocene), instead of simply focusing on political or otherwise discussion of events.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournalism Practice
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Aug 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication

User-Defined Keywords

  • Anthropocene
  • climate change
  • discourse
  • Mati
  • news websites
  • wildfire

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