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Title: Western media representation of the Arab Spring revolutions and its impact on staff and students in a Libyan university setting
Author: Alshareif, O. M. O.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 2575
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis investigated how the Arab and western media affected the staff and students of one Libyan university, Sebha University, through their presentation of the major Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan. In particular, the research focused on the reporting by Al-Jazeera and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The study attempted to show how these two channels represented the main incidents of Arab Spring uprising and examined whether this representation was influenced by any ideology the channels attempted to propagate. It should be noted, however, that the researcher was not seeking to support any one ideological approach but was, rather, concerned with the ways in which such reporting impacted on the respondents of the study. The methodological approach was qualitative in nature and 30 semi-structured interviews were conducted with the staff (15 interviews) and students (15 interviews) of Sebha University, Libya. In order to gain further evidence about students’ and lecturers’ experiences and their views toward the two channels, 12 articles (6 from Al-Jazeera and 6 from the BBC), relating to the critical events of the three Arab Spring uprisings, were analysed using the main assumptions of Critical Discourse Analysis and Systemic Functional Linguistics. The study found that most of lecturers and students indicated that the two channels were, indeed, different in terms of their reporting of the events of the Arab Spring uprisings and, whilst the BBC was trusted for its dispassionate observations, Al-Jazeera was considered to be ideologically driven. This reporting caused a range of problems for the lecturers and students. Most notably, the students were concerned about the perceived lack of security, the reporting of which was a particular feature of the Al-Jazeera channel. On the other hand, both the students and the lecturers observed that the BBC was neutral and professional and without political propaganda. The main professional recommendations resulting from the study were that the university under scrutiny, and universities more widely, need to ensure that they have in place well developed systems for supporting both staff and students during times of stress, including during periods of national crisis. It is also suggested that national and international agencies and researchers must consider further the nature and impact of media reporting in an era of mass communication.
Supervisor: Brundrett, Mark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: LB2300 Higher Education ; PN4699 Journalism