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Free Content Ungrievable lives: Australian print media portrayals of Palestinian casualties during the Gaza War of 2014

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In July‐August 2014, Israel launched a military operation, Protective Edge, in which approximately 2200 Palestinians were killed and over 11,000 injured, the majority of them civilians. These casualties resulted in increased interest in the region by the Australian news media. Using framing theory, we analysed 75 news articles published by two Australian mainstream newspapers, The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald (The SMH), in order to determine how these Palestinian casualties were portrayed. Our findings show that the conflict frame was dominant in the newspapers’ representations of the Palestinian casualties and that their voices were infrequently incorporated alongside those of officials and medics. Israeli actions were justified in relation to Palestinian casualties through the reliance on Israeli voices and pro-Israel sources, while Palestinian casualties were occasionally individualised. In other words, the Palestinian casualties were portrayed by both newspapers as regrettable yet nonetheless necessary for Israel’s existence and right of defence.
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Keywords: Australian media; Gaza; Israeli-Palestinian conflict; casualties; framing; media reporting; representation; war

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Australian Journalism Review publishes articles on a broad range of perspectives relating to journalism research, practice and education. Its emphasis is on original theoretical, empirical and applied research, but it also provides opportunities to canvass perspectives on current debates on research, practice and education through commentary pieces on specific topics.

    This double-blind peer-reviewed journal is published twice annually, with the second edition each year focused primarily on a theme and supplemented by a small selection of broader-ranging papers.

    Prospective guest editor submissions on themes for future editions are always welcome. While many of Australian Journalism Review's submitting authors are based within the Australia-Pacific region, the journal welcomes scholarship from around the world and extending into broader media and communication topics of relevance to journalism.

    The journal incorporates a regular section highlighting the work of early career researchers, particularly current or recent higher degree by research students, as well as book reviews focusing on recent additions to the journalism, media and communications publishing landscape.

    AJR is the journal of the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia.

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