Conflict Representation Theory

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1. Introduction

The purpose of this section of the essay is to present the theoretical framework that will be employed and unpacked in completing my field of study, which seeks to investigate bias in media representations of conflict. The ways in which the media construct the news regarding conflict and peace are important. This is the case because society often depends on the media as a major source of information about conflicts. The main focus of this section seeks to unpack the journalistic techniques used by the media when representing conflict. By referring to key concepts of conflict representation theory I will further outline the dangers associated with this style of representation. Given the technical aspects of this study, I aim
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Conflict representation theory/study

This research project aims at unpacking conflict representations, therefore it is essential to understand the techniques and strategies implemented when representing conflict. Political leaders invest time and resources in in order to promote official frames to media (Gadi Wolfsfeld, Paul Frosh & Maurice T. Awabdy 2008:401). Galtung 1998, Manoff 1998 & Wolfsfeld 2004 cited by Wolfsfeld et al (2008:401) explains that the ways in which the news media represent conflicts “are also likely to have a significant influence on any subsequent attempts at conflict resolution”.

Annelore Deprez and Karin Raeymaeckers (2010:92) explain that the “selection and construction of news items, the picture that we see of ‘the foreign’, is a filtered, distorted, manipulated, one-sided and simplified image”. Looking at the techniques used by the media one may understand how this statement is given substance.

Wolfsfeld et al (2008:402) mentions that the news media employ a number of techniques that enable the organisation of the public during conflict. The first technique that can be identified is in the notion that news media leans towards to be culturally ethnocentric (Wolfsfeld et al 2008:402). Wolfsfeld et al (2008:402) explains that this means society views the world and other cultures through the perspective of “one’s own ethnic group” and goes further in insinuating that these cultures reject others who are culturally
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The first mechanism is the ‘Victims Mode’ of reporting. Wolfsfeld et al (2008:403) explains that this technique is applied to a situation in which an event concerns one’s own victims, usually in the form of civilian casualties. This technique is also used when a military’s losses are extreme or when soldiers are taken captive (Wolfsfeld et al 2008:403). The second mechanism is the ‘Defensive Mode’ of reporting. Wolfsfeld et al (2008:403) explains that this technique is implemented in circumstances whereby the leadership in question has to rationalise its’ own actions. This is often the case when there are civilian casualties on the opponents side (Wolfsfeld et al

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