Power and Silence: Australian Media Portrayal of Israeli and Palestinian Casualties during the Gaza War of 2014


At one stage of the long-lasting Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Israel launched a military operation, Protective Edge, on the Gaza Strip in July–August of 2014. As a consequence, approximately 2,280 people died and over 11,000 people were injured, the majority of them Palestinian civilians (including children and women). These numerous casualties resulted in a pronounced interest in this particular event by international media such as CNN and the BBC, as well as other Western media including the Australian media. This paper investigates how Australian print and online media portrayed the Israeli and Palestinian casualties during the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza. Specifically, it compares how the casualties were represented by four Australian news sources: The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC and Crikey. Based on the concept of framing theory (a technique used to shape an event or issue, reflecting the power embedded in media texts), the paper analyses news items published in Australian mainstream media during the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza to identify the frames employed in reporting Israeli and Palestinian casualties. The paper attempts to explain how Australian media discourse on casualties was shaped by the inclusions and exclusions of war events. It also explores how media representations reflect the power embedded through the medium of various actors who took part in this conflict. This will hopefully aid a deeper understanding of how the Australian media reports war casualties with the intention of encouraging balance when portraying the humanistic aspects of war casualties in news coverage.

Author Information
Mayyada Mhanna, Edith Cowan University, Australia
Debbie Rodan, Edith Cowan University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2015
Stream: Journalism

This paper is part of the MediAsia2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon