[Thesis]. Manchester, UK: The University of Manchester; 2014.
The thesis explores the state of European foreign conflict reporting by public sector
broadcasters, post-Cold War and post-9/11. It provides a comparative analysis of the
news values of three television news providers from three differing public systems:
BBC’s News at 10, representing a British public service broadcaster, nominally independent
of government control; Russia’s Vremya on Channel 1, a state-aligned broadcaster used,
to a large extent, as a mouthpiece for the government; and France 2’s 20 Heures, a
public service broadcaster, from a media system with a long history of state intervention.
By investigating their reports, the study identifies and analyses the differing roles
of public and state-aligned broadcasters. It examines the priority they place on certain
values leading to particular aspects of a news story becoming news in one part of
the world but not in others. The case study under investigation is a two-year period
(2006-2008) from the ongoing Middle East conflict which both pre-dates the change
in East-West relations and the events of 9/11 and provides a meeting point of many
of the geo-political and post-imperial global struggles facing the three selected
news reporting countries. The analytical chapters examine a peace conference, Israeli-Palestinian
fighting and intra-Palestinian fighting, which reflect discrete aspects of this conflict
and enable the broadcasters’ overarching and specific narratives to be considered.
The thesis uses these events to assess relations between state and broadcaster and
the attendant associations with the war on terror which emerge in the foreign conflict
coverage. It investigates possible imbalances in the reports to the detriment of one
of the warring parties and contributes to understanding how the broadcasters perceive
their own and other countries. The study examines the broadcasters’ news values
and agenda-setting techniques. By focusing on these two areas, which influence the
shaping, length and positioning of broadcasts, news reports are analysed both quantitatively
(e.g. running order, airtime, number of items per programme and subject matter) and
qualitatively (e.g. the portrayal of news values and agenda-setting attributes displayed).
The overarching argument illustrates that the hierarchy in news values is never arbitrary
but can be explained, in part, by the structure of the broadcasters and by events
occurring within, or associated with, the reporting country. As a result, the thesis
investigations help identify nationally differentiated perceptions of conflict throughout
the world and, in a broader context, contribute to studies in the areas of media,
foreign conflict and Middle East conflict reporting.