Framing analysis of British newspaper representation of Saudi women from 2005- 2013

Bashatah, NS 2017, Framing analysis of British newspaper representation of Saudi women from 2005- 2013 , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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By the beginning of the 1990s, Saudi Arabia began to be presented as economically important globally. On November 6, 1990, in a historic first, a group of Saudi women protested against the prohibition against women driving. Very few previous studies have examined Saudi Arabia’s image in the British press concerning the treatment of Saudi women. However, in 2005, King Abdullah began supporting efforts by women to win their rights, and the Western media started following the social movement in Saudi Arabia.

The aim of this study is to trace the representation of Saudi women in the British newspaper and investigate how the British press represents coverage of stories relating to Saudi women, using a conceptual framework which draws on Entman’s model of framing, and concepts from Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978) and Rana Kabanni’s Imperial Fictions: Europe’s Myths of Orient (2008). Coverage from four British newspapers, The Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Guardian and Independent, during the period 2005-2013, was used to explore two case studies: the protests by Saudi women concerning the ban on female drivers and the representation of Saudi women at the London Olympics in 2012. A mixed method approach combining content analysis, and framing analysis was used to examine both written text and photographs with captions from the sample. More specifically, the thesis investigated how the prevalence of five news frames: conflict, human interest, morality, economy and attribution of responsibility coexist and support each other in the news media and what the differences are between newspapers in terms of frame choice.

Findings of the study indicate the following: (a) That the representation of Saudi women in British news media is negative compared with the depiction of Western women in the absence of understanding in the journalism realm concerning the cultural differences between societies; (b) the analysis of the two case studies revealed two dominating frames which are conflict and human interest; (c) The analysis of the photographs used in both case studies revealed that journalists often use photographs unrelated to the actual content of the news stories; (d) the representations of Saudi women in the newspaper sample reflect the same negative portrayal that is seen of the Muslim women elsewhere in the Western media which is rooted in the Western ideology of Orientalism. Links were also found between the cultural frames of Orientalism and journalistic culture in building a news agenda. Thus, this thesis presents finding concerning the important role played by the various frames used by British newspapers and the significant difference in how news is covered by selecting the source and analysing the frames.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Depositing User: NS Bashatah
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2018 13:19
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 23:34

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