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Comparing News Frames about the Syrian Crisis Between the Kommersant and the Financial Times

Author: 
Dinerstein, Anton
Committee Members: 
Dr. Peter Gross
Date: 
August 2015

Abstract: 

This is an exploratory comparative study aimed to examine media frames about ongoing civil war in Syria. The civil uprising started on March 15, 2011, and turned into a civil war after May 8, 2011. The conflict has lasted for more than four years, and more than 220,000 people have died since it began. During the conflict, both the Syrian government and military opposition were accused of extreme cruelty and of using chemical weapons. However, there was no official proof of using chemical weapons until the August 21, 2013, when Syrian government forces used chemical weapons during their attack on opposition forces.

After this attack, Russia and the United States of America reached an agreement on Syria. According to the agreement, the Syrian government was obligated to remove the whole chemical arsenal. If the condition was not met, the U.S. would intervene in the Syrian conflict.

The Syrian conflict is an international issue, and different media sources, journalists, political and international actors may have various interpretations of the conflict. There are several reasons that may cause differences in media coverage in events such as the Syrian crisis, with the cultural, professional, political, and ideological landscapes that the media operates within being among a few. This study is focused on the possible politico-ideological differences in the news coverage that can be found in the Kommersant and the Financial Times in regard to the event of the chemical attack that took place in Syria on August 21, 2013.

The study is based on the methodology for the framing analysis proposed by Robert Entman, however it offers some amendments to Entman’s original framework. This study adds elements to Entman’s methodology such as context, type of attitudes and judgments (personal vs. general), sources of personal attitudes and judgments, the type of news sources used, the amount of sources used for each story, and the length of the articles published by each newspaper.