Sectarianism and the Media: A Critical Discourse Analysis of News Sites Reportage

  • Nadia Hassoon

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The broad aim of this study is to provide a comparative critical discourse analysis of two of the most prominent news sites in the Middle East, Al Alam and Al Jazeera, investigating the ideological representation of the conflict in Iraq over a year from June 2014 to June 2015 and the implication of Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) involvement. The study assumes that these culturally and politically different news sites represent the conflict and the conflicting groups differently. This thesis adopts a hybrid framework which combines linguistic and visual approaches through using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), a multimodal framework. The texts are analysed and compared in terms of the different textual choices of lexicalisation, naming of social actors, nominalization, transitivity, passivisation, presupposition and evidentiality, and the visual choices in terms of information value, contact/gaze, transitivity, salience, poses, distance, framing, individualisation and collectivisation camera’s angle and camera’s height, and the implications of attribution of causality and responsibility, who is responsible for the action and who is the affected by the action. The developed model, methods and tools of CDA are applied to a selected corpus of English online news reports from both sites, in order to test the hypothesis, i. e., that they show significant differences (based on their beliefs). Based on the results of the analysis of the selected corpus, the study concludes that the CDA approach helps identify underlying ideologies in the representations of the conflicting groups, rebels and government, in the reports of both English language news sites.
Date of AwardDec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton
SupervisorNicola Cooper (Supervisor), Dave Burnapp (Supervisor) & Janet Wilson (Supervisor)

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