Framing the Libyan uprising: a comparison between Al Jazeera Arabic’s and BBC Arabic’s coverage of the 2011 uprising and ensuing NATO intervention

Alnahed, Sumaya (2016) Framing the Libyan uprising: a comparison between Al Jazeera Arabic’s and BBC Arabic’s coverage of the 2011 uprising and ensuing NATO intervention. Journal of Arab and Muslim Media Research, 9 (1). pp. 119-137. ISSN 1751-9411

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This article compares Al Jazeera Arabic’s and BBC Arabic’s news coverage of the 2011 Libyan uprising and the ensuing NATO intervention in the country. Through this comparative analysis, the article evaluates the impact of these two channels’ political contexts on their coverage, especially considering that these two channels are part of broader transnational news networks that are based in countries that were active participants in the NATO intervention in Libya. The sample involves a period of roughly four weeks of coverage, and considers aspects such as the birth of the February 17 movement in Libya, the development of the opposition, the beginning and end of the 2011 NATO mission and the death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The sample was analysed by means of a framing analysis, whereby framing refers to the way a news story is packaged, and is an especially appropriate method when considering the influence of political power on coverage. The comparative analysis ultimately found that both channels’ coverage was primarily affected by their political contexts, and aligned with national and foreign policy interests of their home countries. This alignment was evident through the coverage that was supportive of the opposition and its advances, and the intervention and its gains. However, BBC Arabic’s coverage was more balanced, especially with regard to the progression of the opposition on the ground, as it did not play up opposition gains or gloss over opposition losses, as Al Jazeera Arabic tended to do. BBC Arabic also displayed a more analytical stance when covering the death of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The language used by Al Jazeera Arabic was also far more emotive and sensationalistic than that of BBC Arabic, which displayed a far more tempered stance when covering the Libyan uprising. Thus, this article also considers how each of these channels used the Arabic language when reporting, and how these stylistic differences might have affected their coverage.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1386/jammr.9.1.119_1
Keywords: Al Jazeera Arabic; Arab uprisings; BBC Arabic; Libya; framing analysis; humanitarian intervention
Subjects: Film and television > Television
Depositing User: Sumaya Alnahed
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2017 13:41
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:53

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