transfer 18(1) » Medieninhalte

Justification of media discourse on environmental issues

Comparative “Public Justification Analysis” on emission trading in Germany and the United Kingdom

The present content analysis aims to answer the question, to what extent the mode of justification differs between the media coverage on emission trade in the UK and in Germany starting from the launch of the Kyoto Protocol until 2005. It adds to quantitative and qualitative research by Ylä-Anttila (2012) based on public justification theory (PJT). 309 articles of the British Guardian and the German Süddeutsche Zeitung from 1998 until 2005 have been comparatively analyzed according to the seven worlds of justice by Thévenot & Moody & Lafaye (2000).
Unlike previous research on PJT, the study discloses a hierarchy of worlds of justice. Green as well as domestic worth have mainly been attributed as strategic means to refer to more dominant worlds of justice. Emission trade has almost entirely been discussed on the basis of the market and the civic world. Results reject deliberative concepts of the media public, especially considering actor variety in media coverage.
Controversies in the German media go along with a highly versatile use of justifications and a rather denouncing mode of moral argumentation compared to British reporting. British media coverage has revealed justifications based on compromises and a versatile usage of justifications in order to achieve a reconciliation of moral worlds. Further research should focus on most different cases like industrial and developing countries to reveal more insights on patterns of justification and to possibly contribute to develop PJT.