Government communication and Internet responses: profile of Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in selected digital media users’ comments during the COVID-19 pandemic

Vineta Kleinberga (Coresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Perceptions play a pivotal role in assessment of
efficiency of government communication. Informed by the
strategic narrative conceptual framework this study looks at
perception of government communication in Internet
comments during three essential dates in conquering the
COVID-19 pandemic in Latvia: introduction of emergency
situations on March 12 and November 6, 2020, and
introduction of a curfew on December 29, 2020. The study
uncovers how often and how the main spokesperson in
government communication – the Prime Minister of Latvia
Krišjānis Kariņš – is framed in comments of three online
news media in Latvia (Apollo, Delfi, Tvnet) in Latvian and
Russian. Using a digital tool for online comments analysis -
the Index of Internet Aggressiveness (IIA), a data set is
created of 244 comments, containing a key word “Kariņš” in
various cases in Latvian and Russian. Qualitative content
analysis is applied to extract and to compare the frequency
of appearance and the framing of Kariņš over the course of
the pandemic in Latvia. The findings reveal that Kariņš
appears in comments significantly more after news in
Latvian than in Russian, and has been commented five times
more in Delfi than in Tvnet and Apollo together. The
comments in Latvian are more aggressive than in Russian,
and their emotional tone increases towards the end of 2020.
In majority of comments the framing is negative involving
attributes of irresponsibility, superficiality, indecisiveness
and danger; yet positively framed rigidity and decisiveness of
Kariņš can be observed too.
IIA is an online comment analysis tool, incorporating a
machine learning program, which analyses users’ comments
on news on online news sites according to pre-selected
keywords to grasp the commenters’ verbal aggressiveness. In
March 2021 the IIA data set consists of ~25.08 million
comments; ~ 616.62 million word usage in written
commenting and ~ 1357.40 thousand news.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-83
JournalVide. Tehnologija. Resursi - Environment, Technology, Resources
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021
Event13th International Scientific and Practical Conference "Environment. Technology. Resources" - Rezekne, Latvia
Duration: 17 Jun 202118 Jun 2021
Conference number: 13

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • audience perception
  • internet comments
  • Kariņš
  • Latvia

Field of Science

  • 5.6 Political science
  • 5.8 Media and Communication

Publication Type

  • 1.3. Anonymously reviewed scientific article published in a journal with an international editorial board and is available in another indexed database

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