Discursive Strategies and Media Representation of Conflicts
Afzal, N. (2019). Discursive Strategies and Media Representation of Conflicts. International Journal of English Linguistics, 9(2). 1-14.
Posted: 29 Oct 2019
Date Written: January 29, 2019
The media’s tendency to widely represent conflicts, through legitimization or de- legitimization, makes us believe that media narratives may not be perceived as ‘neutral stances’ for the public consumption. This study investigates the policy of a mainstream newspaper, The News International (NI), in Pakistan and discursive strategies manipulated by its editorial writers to portray the Arab Spring. It, specifically, examines how the selected newspaper editorials thematically constructed the uprising; (re) formulated the public opinion by echoing the Arab Spring-centred perspectives; and mostly backed the revolting protesters against the dictatorial rules in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Syria. The data consist of purposefully selected editorials, which were published between January 2011 and December 2012. This particular timeframe has been distinguished for peak media coverage of the events. The qualitative data (editorial content) are analysed by using NVivo. Through discourse analysis approach, it is revealed that editorial writers employed several recurrent themes (e.g., protests, democracy, horror) to project a positive image of the protesters’ movement and fully utilised their prerogative in constructing a ‘pro-Arab Spring’ discourse. This study concludes that such ‘opinion discourses’ serve as an eye-opener to the role of media in representing conflicts from different angles while staying in different societies. It also provides insights into the ways newspapers (dis) empower readers by promoting certain factions of a conflict and devaluing others.
Keywords: media representations, discourse analysis, discursive strategies, newspaper editorials
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