Civil Unrest, Coverage of

Since 2010, there has been a global rise in protest activity. From the Arab Spring to the #MeToo movement to Black Lives Matter protests, bouts of civil unrest are occurring more frequently and with more widespread participation. Born from grievances, inequalities, and social discord, protest and contentious politics are viewed as outside institutionalized forms of politics, despite their First Amendment protection in the United States. While participation in civil unrest—whether through on-the-ground demonstrations or online activism via social media—is on the rise worldwide, most of what people know about protest activity stems from the way events are represented in the media.

This entry first discusses factors that influence news coverage of civil unrest, the importance and impact of that coverage, and some common narratives and devices ...

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