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Public Perception at the Crossroads: COVID-19 and the Media Depiction of EU Countries in South Korea

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    • Title
      Public Perception at the Crossroads: COVID-19 and the Media Depiction of EU Countries in South Korea
    • Material Type
      Report
    • Publisher
      [Berlin]:KDI-FU Korea-Europe Programme; Institute of Korean Studies, Free University of Berlin
    • Date
      2020-11
    • Journal Title; Vol./Issue
      KDI-FU Korea-Europe Programme; Korea Focus; Working Paper:
    • Subject Country
      South Korea(Asia and Pacific)
      Europe(Europe)
    • Language
      English
    • File Type
      Documents
    • Original Format
      pdf
    • Subject
      Social Development
      Social Development < Health
    • Holding
      Institute of Korean Studies, Free University of Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin)
    • License

    Abstract

    The primary goal of this paper is to examine how European countries have been perceived by the South Korean media with respect to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Based on key media outlets in South Korea, the paper examines both the saliency and sentiment of news media coverage on 27 EU countries and the United Kingdom in the first three months of 2020. The result shows that these European countries have been exposed to the Korean media substantially more than in normal times, and that was largely driven by issues related to COVID-19. In addition to the increased saliency, the sentiment analysis demonstrates that the newspaper coverage has largely portrayed key European countries from a negative viewpoint. Although European countries have so far been seen from a positive light by the South Korean public, the negative media depiction of European countries in relation to a highly salient and cross-nationally comparable crisis like COVID-19 pandemic could damage their public perception in the eyes of South Koreans.

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