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The discursive and social power of news discourse: The case of Aljazeera in comparison and parallel with the BBC and CNN
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Media and communication science.
2008 (English)In: Studies in Language and Capitalism, ISSN 1757-5974, Vol. 1, no 3/4, p. 111-159Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study pursues a textual analysis of the online news output produced mainly by Aljazeera in comparison and parallel with the online news output of both the BBC and CNN. But it steers away from mainstream CDA literature by focusing on aspects other than texts. The analysis triangulates CDA with ethnographic research which includes observation, stories, field visits, interviews and important secondary data such as media reports and samples from style guidelines. The ethnographic angle is found to be crucial in unraveling both the social and discursive worlds of Aljazeera, the BBC and CNN as it has helped in the drawing of conclusions that extend and occasionally contradict commonly held views on how the three networks create and disseminate hard news and the ideas and concepts mainstream CDA literature employs to explain and understand these processes. The research first lays down the theoretical and methodological framework through a concise overview of the literature and the thinkers CDA scholars have relied on in shaping the discipline. Then the study discusses CDA’s limitations before detailing the scope of issues and questions it wants to answer. Thereafter, it deals with the issues of method and data before moving to a detailed critical analysis of Aljazeera, comparing and paralleling the findings with previous research and in the context of its major two international rivals, namely the BBC and CNN.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 1, no 3/4, p. 111-159
National Category
Media and Communications Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-7212OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-7212DiVA, id: diva2:128208
Available from: 2008-12-15 Created: 2008-12-15 Last updated: 2012-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Strategies of power in multilingual global broadcasters: How the BBC, CNN and Aljazeera shape their Middle East news discourse
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strategies of power in multilingual global broadcasters: How the BBC, CNN and Aljazeera shape their Middle East news discourse
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

 

This study deals with the Middle East reporting of three gigantic media companies which together are largely responsible for refining and shaping our views of events in the world. The informational and communicative arm of these giants – Aljazeera, the BBC and CNN – is unprecedented in the history of human communication. The BBC, for example, broadcasts in 33 languages and has an army of nearly 10,000 journalists. In only one decade Aljazeera has turned into the kind of media whose power policy and decision makers can hardly ignore. The recent addition of an English language satellite channel has turned the network into a global media player. CNN, the world’s first 24-hour news satellite channel, has services in 12 languages and several English editions covering the four corners of the world.

But the study is not about Aljazeera, the BBC or CNN as new phenomena in world media and communication. Its purpose, approach, data and analysis focus mainly on their Middle East reporting and specifically how they represent the voices involved in the conflict in Iraq and the ongoing struggle between the Palestinians and Israelis. The investigation is mainly concerned with the language of hard news discourse and how the broadcasters intentionally or otherwise produce and reproduce certain linguistic items and patterns to interpret both the discursive and social worlds of the events they carry.

The study comprises five papers all published in international journals dealing with issues of critical discourse analysis. Together, the papers highlight the significant role power holders have in shaping the discourse of their institutions. They provide a new theoretical framework to arrive at the discursive patterns and social assumptions to uncover how the strings of power help refine and shape these patterns and assumptions relying on a variety of sources and empirical data besides textual material. The ultimate aim is to increase awareness and consciousness among both reporters and audiences of how discursive choices are made and the social relationships of power behind them are enacted.

The picture painted in the five papers is not a happy one for readers who have long taken the ‘neutrality’ and ‘objectivity’ of the BBC, CNN and Aljazeera for granted. A vital role of a critical analyst is to help readers first to become conscious of how the more powerful in the society work to control our lives through their discourse and that we cannot be emancipated unless we can recognize how and why they do that. It will be rather shocking for many readers to realize that the language we read and listen to is mostly what the broadcasters intentionally have selected to shape the world of both conflicts their own way and not the way the observers (journalists) want it to be or we as audiences expect it to be.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University Press, 2008. p. 25
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar från Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation, ISSN 1652-7933 ; 3
National Category
Media and Communications Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-7217 (URN)978-91-628-7632-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-01-23, Högskolan för Lärande och Kommunikation, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-12-16 Created: 2008-12-15 Last updated: 2012-12-07Bibliographically approved

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Barkho, Leon

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