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The BBC's Discursive Strategy and Practices Vis-à-vis the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Media and communication science. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Media Management and Transformation Centre.
2008 (English)In: Journalism Studies, ISSN 1461-670X, E-ISSN 1469-9699, Vol. 9, no 2, 278-294 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines the BBC's strategy and discursive practices with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It triangulates critical linguistic analysis of the BBC's English and Arabic online reports, with the results of extensive interviews with BBC editors, articles by mainstream media as well as the BBC's guidelines and the editors' blogs. The aim behind the triangulation is to see whether the corporation's beliefs, norms and assumptions vis-à-vis the issue have a hand in the shaping of its discursive features. In order to understand why and how news is differently structured and patterned, Fowler urges critical linguists to contextualize their studies by examining discourse-related moments other than the text itself. The contextualization of the linguistic representations of the conflict demonstrates that BBC language reflects to a large extent the views, assumptions and norms prevalent in the corporation as well as the unequal division of power and control between the two protagonists despite the corporation's insistence on impartiality, balance and neutrality in its coverage of the conflict.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 9, no 2, 278-294 p.
Keyword [en]
BBC, contextualization, critical linguistics, linguistic representation, Palestine and Israel, power and control
National Category
Media and Communications Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-7215DOI: 10.1080/14616700701848337OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-7215DiVA: diva2:128212
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. 25 p.
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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