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: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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    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
    Title of host publicationVide. Tehnoloģija. Resursi : 13. starptautiskās zinātniski praktiskās konferences materiāli
    Subtitle of host publicationEnvironment. Technology. Resources : proceedings of the 13th International Scientific and Practical Conference
    Place of PublicationRēzekne
    PublisherRēzeknes Tehnoloģiju akadēmija
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021
    Event13th International Scientific and Practical Conference "Environment. Technology. Resources" - Online, Rezekne, Latvia
    Duration: 17 Jun 202118 Jun 2021
    Conference number: 13

    Publication series

    NameVide. Tehnologija. Resursi - Environment, Technology, Resources
    ISSN (Print)1691-5402


    Conference13th International Scientific and Practical Conference "Environment. Technology. Resources"
    OtherXIII Starptautiskā zinātniski praktiskā konference "Vide. Tehnoloģija. Resursi"
    Internet address


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

    Field of Science*

    • 5.6 Political science
    • 5.8 Media and Communication

    Publication Type*

    • 3.1. Articles or chapters in proceedings/scientific books indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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