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Title: Legitimising dissent? : British and American newspaper coverage of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution
Author: Fitzgerald, Patrick
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 200X
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2014
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While news media coverage of political protest is by no means a new topic of research for media scholars, few studies have attempted to unpack how and why protesters and protests have been legitimised within news media coverage, rather than covered with the expectation of violence occurring (Halloran et al. 1970), marginalised (Gitlin 1980), cast as threats to the social order (McLeod 1995), or denied the status of legitimate political players (Shoemaker 1984). This research project is an attempt to do just that. Therefore, this dissertation examines whether newspapers from the United Kingdom and United States accorded the opposition movement against then president Hosni Mubarak with favourable news coverage during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. A content analysis of 611 newspaper articles from both British and American publications was conducted to determine whether the anti-Mubarak opposition was covered favourably, in addition to revealing what other dominant themes were present within the reporting. This study revealed that the anti-Mubarak opposition protesters were covered favourably by an overwhelming margin within both British (65 percent) and American (66 percent) newspaper articles, and put a particular emphasis on the political motivations galvanising the protests. Conversely, then-president Hosni Mubarak and the Egyptian government, and the Egyptian police and security services were portrayed as repressive actors within the reporting on the revolution. Furthermore, the anti-Mubarak opposition was featured most frequently as the first source within the reporting from either nation's newspapers. Another dominant theme emerging from the content analysis, and that was subsequently examined within the empirical chapters of this project, was that geopolitical considerations were frequently included within coverage from both British (60 percent) and American (76 percent) newspapers. Few studies have attempted to assess the prominence and role of geopolitics within the reporting of international politics (Myers et al. 1996). In summation, this research project questions the normative assumptions made about the relationship between the news media and protesters being antagonistic, and to understand how and why protest is granted legitimacy within media coverage of political crises.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain ; DT Africa ; E151 United States (General) ; NE Print media