Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Economics, Journalism, Media and socio-cultural communication

Publication Details

Paper for the Society for the

advancement of socio-economics

(SASE) Annual Conference, 2020,

July 18-20, University of Amsterdam,

Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The focus of this paper is to understand how the crisis of tax avoidance strategies is discursively treated, by looking at the representation of corporation tax in two mediated public discourses in the UK and Ireland. Specifically, it examines the coverage of two prominent, agenda-setting morning radio programmes: BBC’s Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme and RTE’s ‘Morning Ireland’. It does so by performing a Critical Discourse Analysis of the coverage of tax controversies of two high-profile global corporations, Google and Apple Inc, in order to demonstrate the embeddedness of ideology within mediated public discourses of the subject. Both of the tax controversies took place in 2016: the first, following the announcement of Google’s Diverted Profits Tax deal with the then UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne in January of that year; the second involved the European Commission’s ruling, in August 2016, on Apple’s ongoing tax arrangements with Ireland. The paper is part of a wider study examining the media coverage of corporation tax.

The paper begins with a review of literature on the discourses surrounding corporation taxes, globally and then focusing specifically on the UK and Ireland. Then follows a review of tax policies in Ireland and the UK, considering how the two states with very different economic backgrounds came, respectively, to a low corporate tax regime, especially in the finance sector. The particular methodologies drawn upon are then described before an analysis section. The final section of the paper then discusses and contextualises the analysis and draws some general conclusions and implications of this research.