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Free Content Unpacking the discursive and social links in BBC, CNN and Al-Jazeera's Middle East reporting

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To understand the language of journalism in relation to the moments of why and how news is differently structured and patterned, English online stories tackling the IsraeliPalestinian conflict, issued by the BBC, CNN and Al-Jazeera, were critically analysed following Fowler and Fairclough's seminal texts. The results of the findings were discussed in interviews with the editors of the three international networks in order to see what links these linguistic features have with the interviewees' social assumptions, ideologies and economic conditions. The article finds first that the discourse within the news pyramid is composed of four major layers: quoting, paraphrasing, background and comment. Second, it demonstrates that there are marked differences in the discourse structures and layers that the three networks employ in the production of the news stories they issue in English. Third, Al-Jazeera English exhibits marked differences in the discursive features and their social implications at the four layers of discourse to report the conflict when compared with both the BBC and CNN. Fourth, the article shows that the differences in linguistic patterns largely reflect and respond to each network's social and political assumptions and practices as well as economic conditions.

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Keywords: Al-Jazeera; BBC; CNN; Israel; Palestine; critical discourse analysis; online news

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Jnkping University, Sweden.

Publication date: 2007-12-21

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  • The emergence of satellite TV, the internet and digital technology have dramatically changed the way audiences receive information and interact with the media. The sudden success of Al-Jazeera and other Arab broadcasters have altered the way the Arab world narrates itself and reports news from the region to the rest of the world. The journal aims to lead the debate about these emerging rapid changes in media and society in Arab and Muslim parts of the world.
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