This study is an investigation of cross-national comparative analysis of agenda-setting and political communication process during the 2004 Cyprus Referendum. The main aim of the study is to explore the dynamics amongst political campaigners and news media in the agenda-setting process in the referendum that was proposed by the United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan to reunify the island after 50 years of division. This research is a unique subject to study as it has not been scrutinised by academics from a mass media and political communication perspective.
There have only been a few attempts to compare the contents of election communication in different societies, particularly for referendum campaigns communication. To scrutinise the dynamics and discretionary power between the media professionals and political campaigners, I have employed the framework of the pioneering study of Semetko et al.(1991) The Formation of campaign Agendas: A Comparative Analysis of Party and Media Roles in Recent American and British Elections. In this study I have explored the dynamics between the political campaigners, politicians and the news media over the agenda-setting process and I have also investigated to what extent cultural and political factors influenced the political campaign design and the agenda-setting power of the political actors. Additionally, the influence of media systems-in particular print media on the agenda-setting process has been examined. So, this study analysis not only contributes to the comparative studies, where there is a dearth of research scope, but it also contributes particularly to the literature of agenda-setting research within the context of referendum elections, an area in which scholarly research is also neglected. Perhaps, most importantly, this study will also create a body of knowledge for likely future referendum studies in Cyprus on reunification.