Discursive Construction in Media. A critical discourse analysis of how BBC World vs. Al Jazeera English Constructed Yemen’s 2011 Uprising Coverage
The way in which different media portrayed and constructed the notion of the Arab Spring has received a great deal of scholarly attention since the start of these revolutions in late 2010. However, the role of media in the news construction and framing of the Yemeni Uprising in particular has been less wellexamined; that is perhaps attributed to the fact that Yemen’s sociopolitical features are complex, and it is often an intimidating task to analyse the media’s interrelation with the country’s political developments. Hence, in tackling this gap, this thesis focuses on the first stage of Yemen’s 2011 Uprising and how media portrayed it, by specifically displaying a comparative analysis between the BBC World and Al Jazeera English onlinepublished articles during the first 100 days of the Yemeni uprising. These articles represent the initial portrayal that shaped the early understanding of the events in Yemen. This study uses the Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) approach which provides an indepth understanding on how language is used in its social, political and cultural contexts. The study’s analysis is mainly focused on Fairclough's CDA threedimensional framework to examine the texts on textual, discursive practices and social practices levels. Additionally, the thesis analyzes the data with different textual strategies stemming from CDA; examination of topicalization, lexicalization and predication, verbal process, intertextuality and framing. Thus, the thesis provides a comprehensive explanation of the media discourse adopted by these two media outlets during the early stage of Yemen’s 2011 Uprising. Through the study, emerging themes suggest that the two media outlets go through two phases; the pre and post the ‘Friday of Dignity’ and the ‘GCC deal initiative’. In the first phase, the two media networks have no differences in their coverage: they characterize the events as ‘protests’ and ‘unrest’, and their group polarization characteristics are similar: the ingroup for both BBC and AJE are the protesters and the outgroup are Saleh and his government. Then in the second phase the two media outlets slightly differ in their coverage in terms of the textual and discursive practice features. While both BBC and AJE similarly start to describe events in Yemen as an ‘uprising’, the BBC has more emphasis on the positive features of the ingroup (the protesters) more than AJE does. Moreover, AJE does more direct sourcing of voices from the GCC than the BBC in regard to the GCC deal initiative. In explaining that slight shift, the geopolitical factor is fundamentally relevant.