Nr. 1-2/2019 -5
The article examines the media construction of public controversies in the Romanian online press, starting from the issue of the presence of religious education in public schools (the Religious educationclass). We situate this research within a literature that studies the interplay between media, religion and the public sphere and we privilege the mediatization paradigm (Hjarvard, 2013;Lundby, 2014) in investigating this triad in relation to the “new visibility” of religion (Hjelm, 2015). Underpinned by a methodological design including an exploratory thematic content analysis and elements from critical discourse analysis, the study highlights the dynamics of this controversy in two Romanian mainstream newspapers, between 2013 and 2017. The analysis identifies several recurrent thematic categories referring to religion and demonstrates how some of these themes have been recontextualized and employed as argumentation strategies within the controversy. The findings are interpreted from the perspective of the media role in the construction of public space and the “new visibility” of religion in the Romanian media discourse.
Keywords: controversy, media discourse, the “new visibility” of religion, public space.