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Study finds broadcast coverage of the UK election has aligned 'most closely' with Boris Johnson's agenda

Business Insider US
Boris Johnson
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  • Broadcasters have helped Boris Johnson frame the UK election on his own terms, according to an academic study.
  • Researchers at Loughborough University found evidence that suggests Johnson's message that he will "get Brexit done," has been helped by broadcasters choosing to focus on the issue.
  • By contrast, the opposition Labour Party's focus the National Health Service has received less than half the coverage in the first four weeks of the campaign.
  • The authors found that "in proportional terms, TV coverage has therefore tended to align most closely with the Conservatives' Brexit agenda."
  • The study also found that UK print media is overwhelmingly biased against the Labour party.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider's home page.

The BBC and other UK broadcasters have helped Boris Johnson frame the general election on his own terms, according to an academic study of media coverage of the campaign.

The prime minister's campaign has sought to focus the upcoming general election on the issue of "getting Brexit done" under his leadership.

Now a new study by Loughborough University suggests that broadcasters have helped him in this aim.

The researchers found that "TV coverage has focused far more on Brexit than on any other issue," with 20% of broadcast coverage of the election focused on this theme.

This contrasts with just 8% of broadcast coverage focusing on the opposition Labour party's central issue of the future of the National Health Service.

The authors found that "in proportional terms, TV coverage has therefore tended to align most closely with the Conservatives' Brexit agenda."

Loughborough University

The study also found that the print media was overwhelmingly biased against the Labour party.

Examination of print media coverage in the first four weeks of the campaign found that Boris Johnson's Conservative Party received broadly positive coverage, whereas Jeremy Corbyn's campaign was portrayed in an overwhelmingly negative light.

Loughbrough University

Under UK broadcasting regulations, television and radio channels must give equal coverage to each party during a general election campaign.

However, a complaint by Labour last month about Sky News channel running its election coverage with the branding "The Brexit Election was rejected by the broadcasting regulators.

In their ruling Ofcom said that Brexit was an "important background contextual factor" in the election.

A Survation poll for ITV on Monday found that Johnson's party had opened up a 14-point lead over Labour. The Conservatives are on 45% ahead of Labour on 31% and the Liberal Democrats on 11%.

If repeated at the general election on Thursday, this would result in a large parliamentary majority for the Conservatives.

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