What a Difference a Death Makes: Protest, Policing and the Press at the G20

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The casual observer of the controversy over policing at April 2009's G20 summit in London might have been forgiven for imagining that Britain's media serves as a bulwark against the abuse of power, fearlessly illuminating and condemning injustice. The publication of video footage and eye-witness accounts to heavy-handed protest policing has certainly raised the profile of this issue and led, concretely, to formal investigation of both individual police officers and to policing strategies more broadly. In this paper we examine the policing of protest, and in particular 'anti-systemic' protest, but also examine the role of the newspaper media in the interplay between police and protest. We argue that the media has often fomented and ignored the very 'abuses' they are now so eager to condemn. The key difference between coverage of the 2009 G20 summit and past such events, we contend, is the tragic death of an innocent bystander which has shifted the way in which the media has framed events.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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