The Basque Country is a region straddling the Spanish-French border. While the northern area belongs to France, the vast majority of Basque people live south of the border, in Spain. The Basques are considered a national minority and the political movement aiming to establish a nation of their own stretches all the way back into the 19th century.
Under the Spanish military dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939-1975), Basque nationalists (along with other national and linguistic minorities, as well as political dissidents) were the targets of repression. In the Basque region armed organisation ETA was born. ETA operated for some five decades and would become what many consider a terrorist organisation, using violent tactics to reach their goal of an independent Basque state. On the other hand, right-wing paramilitaries and state-sponsored death squads would target Basque nationalist militants. The result was a total death toll of over 1,000.
ETA announced the end of its activity in 2011.
From this point onwards, the news frame employed by media outlets was dependent on the place of publishing: Basque media began interviewing leaders of the former illegal political wing of ETA; while newspapers based in Madrid made attempts at helping put a stop to the legalisation of proscribed organisations on the Basque nationalist left.
In 2018, ETA would disband completely.
Research conducted on the state of the media landscape and its relation to the Basque conflict following ETA’s 2018 dissolution is minimal.
My study seeks to determine the following:
1. How do news outlets frame the post-conflict situation in the years following ETA’s 2018 dissolution?
2. To what extent do Basque regional news outlets differ from Madrid-based news outlets in their portrayal of the situation?
3. Does media discourse in Madrid-based and Basque news outlets contribute to a deep, complex and well-rounded understanding of the Basque conflict in its framing of the current situation?
I will conduct an online search for opinion pieces and editorials published from 2018 to 2023 using relevant keywords. In order to allow for a representative sample of the press this study will take the most influential newspapers from across the political spectrum and across the pro-Spanish/Basque nationalist divide.
I aim to conduct a quantitative study of the articles by carrying out a content analysis, and, a qualitative study, through the use of critical discourse analysis.