According to the media monitoring data by Latvian Institute, in 2012, 74,2% of all articles by foreign online media mentioning Latvia have been positive.
In total, there have been 4599 publications about Latvia by internet versions of foreign media; 3413 of them depicted Latvia in a positive light. Compared to 2011, the total number of publications has decreased by 25%. However, the proportion of positive ones has increased. In 2011, the proportion of positive articles was 70,1%.
The topics most mentioned by foreign online media in 2012 were economic matters and internal policy matters with the total ratio of 27% and 23% respectively. Society and foreign policy matters were reflected in 14% each of all articles; meanwhile Latvian sports were mentioned in 12% of publications. Other topics – culture, tourism, environment, and relations with Russia – formed a total of 10% of all foreign media articles about Latvia.
Most foreign online media articles, 1076 in total, were published by Estonian and Lithuanian media. It is followed by Russian media with 705 publications – 46% of them were positive. A little less, 677 articles, was published by American media with an 87% positive ratio.
Latvia was praised the most in tourist publications with 99% of them being positive; it was followed by culture (96%), economy (85%), foreign policy matters (85%) and sports (81%). The most negative articles, 73% in total, were connected with Latvia’s relations with Russia. However, such articles comprised only 3% of the total number of online publications.
“The results of the monitoring are not very surprising. The attention to Latvia logically has concerned its rapid economic development in 2012. Though there have been critical publications as well. The economic growth this year is expected to be slower, so it would be wise to divert the accumulated foreign media attention to, for example, Latvian culture. The upcoming Song and Dance Festival will be a good opportunity to represent Latvia with more confidence. It is necessary because, even if we hope for a never-ending economic growth, Latvia will not be able to be recognised for its leap forever, besides the leap itself has mixed internal perceptions,” the Director of the Latvian Institute Karina Pētersone explains.
Latvia garnered the most attention in February when a referendum to grant State language status to Russian language was held. A total of 857 articles were made by foreign media about Latvia in February 2012, furthermore it was the only month of the year when society matters were more popular than economic ones. Foreign media have not been tendentious on the referendum question, evident by a 70% positive article ratio.
It is impossible to measure the frequency of Latvia appearing in all media and all languages of the world; that is why the Latvian Institute concentrated its search mechanisms on the most popular foreign media channels in world’s major languages. Monitoring included sources in English, German, Swedish, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Russian, Ukrainian and other languages of the world.