Based on framing and the social responsibility theoretical frameworks, this comparative study analyzes the dominance of frames in the media coverage of the COVID-19 global pandemic across three countries that have adopted different preventative measures: Sweden (herd immunity) the United Kingdom (full lockdown) and Egypt (partial lockdown ‘curfew’). While several studies have investigated the media’s role during COVID-19, few have analyzed the frames used by the media. The analyses that were made here, for the most part, is on individual countries. The current study bridges a gap by using a comparative approach to interpret the frames discovered in news articles and the tone of these stories across six media outlets in three different countries: Sweden (Dagens Nyheter and Aftonbladet) the United Kingdom (the Guardian and the Daily Mail) and Egypt (Youm 7 and Al-Ahram). Furthermore, this paper enriches scholarly studies on media framing and public health crises in Egypt that suffer from limited research. Using a quantitative content analysis over a time frame of five months and 10 days (from January 31 to July 9, 2020), a total of 585 news stories from six media outlets were analyzed. The findings of the story discovered that the morality, human Interest and fear frames were the dominant frames presented in the media across the three countries, while the Blame frame was the least common. A closer examination revealed significant differences among the three countries in six out of the seven frames analyzed. These frames excluded the morality frame and included: the attribution of responsibility frame; the human interest frame; the economic consequences frame; the conflict frame; the fear frame and the othering frame. Moreover, the study found statistical differences in tone of news stories across the three countries.


School of Global Affairs and Public Policy


Journalism & Mass Communication Department

Degree Name

MA in Journalism & Mass Communication

Graduation Date

Summer 6-19-2021

Submission Date


First Advisor

Shahira Fahmy

Committee Member 1

Ahmed Taher

Committee Member 2

Brian J. Bowe


179 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item