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Title: Comparative representations of culpability in the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza
Author: Tasseron, Michael Roy
ISNI:       0000 0004 8505 9481
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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The 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza was the most recent large-scale military operation by the Israeli Defense Forces against the Palestinians in the territory governed by Hamas. The Israeli attacks resulted in a large number of Palestinian casualties and destruction in Gaza. The media in Britain and South Africa covered the war extensively. It is the coverage of prominent news outlets in these two countries, which is the focus of my research. I analyse coverage by the British Broadcasting Corporation, Guardian and Times of London. This is compared with coverage by the South African Broadcasting Corporation and prominent weekly national and regional daily newspapers. The former include the Mail and Guardian and Sunday Times. The daily newspapers, comprising the Star, Mercury and Cape Argus are published by Independent Media in the major economic centres of the country. The research is comparative, with one of the aims being to determine whether the two media contexts present opposing positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is due to their historical connections with the conflict. The representation of the asymmetrical dimension of the conflict and the legitimacy of the actors is the theoretical framework used for the study. I employ a mixed-methods approach of thematic analysis, multimodal critical discourse analysis and interviews for the research. The analysis of the textual and visual content aims to provide insights into the relationship between these two modes of communication. By including interviews, I aim to better understand how certain factors impact the conflict's coverage. Of relevance are access to news sources, censorship, media scrutiny, the reliance on news agency content and journalist safety. The findings suggest that the Israeli position was prominent in the 2014 war's coverage, textually and visually. Furthermore, Israel was granted legitimacy, while Hamas was de-legitimated. This was enabled, I argue, through the reporting structures in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Media professionals report in an environment which is at times highly accessible and seemingly transparent. At other times they are constrained by regulation, a high degree of scrutiny and threats to their safety. In the South African context the news outlets rely on international news agencies for their coverage of the conflict. However, they make use of a number of strategies to localise this content for their audiences. I did not find significant differences between the reporting of the British and South African outlets. However, I found that the South African outlets were more willing than the British outlets to engage with and debate the many complexities of the 2014 war, as well those inherent in the broader, long-standing conflict.
Supervisor: Parry, Katy ; Paterson, Chris Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available