SHAFAQNA – Britain’s leading daily newspapers are urging their readers to vote to quit the European Union in the June 23 EU referendum, academics have found.
Loughborough University researchers have taken a forensic look at 1,127 news stories published by ten top daily papers since the start of May, and found the “Leave” campaign commands 82 percent of the national daily newspaper readership.
The analysis suggests that The Daily Express and Daily Mail are the “least balanced” in covering the issue, while The Guardian, The Timesand The Financial Times have provided a more “balanced or neutral discussion.”
The findings come as media tycoon Rupert Murdoch’s The Sunnewspaper – Britain’s best-selling daily newspaper – called on its readers on Monday to vote to quit the 28-member EU.
Many analysts thought the position was largely predictable based on perceptions that the paper is anti-EU.
“The Sun urges everyone to vote Leave. We must set ourselves free from dictatorial Brussels,” said the tabloid.
However, The Sun’s coverage of the EU referendum campaign has been among the most “balanced” of all national newspapers, according to academics. The Sun sells close to two million copies a day and has long been critical of the EU.
Polls in the UK show increasing support for Britain to exit the EU, or Brexit. Britain’s “Leave” campaign opened up a 7-point lead over “Remain,” an opinion poll showed late Monday.
The “Leave” camp held 46 percent support compared with 39 percent support for “Remain,” according to the YouGov poll. Undecided voters were 11 percent, while 4 percent said they will not vote.
Other polls published on Monday also put “Leave” ahead.
The UK will hold a referendum on June 23 on whether the country should remain a member of the 28-member bloc.
Membership of the EU has been a controversial issue in the UK since the country joined the then European Economic Community in 1973.
Those in favor of a withdrawal from the EU argue that outside the bloc, London would be better positioned to conduct its own trade negotiations, better able to control immigration, and get rid of excessive EU regulations and bureaucracy.
Those in favor of remaining in the bloc argue that leaving it would risk the UK’s prosperity, diminish its influence over world affairs, and result in trade barriers between the UK and the EU.