The ‘us only’ and ‘us+them’ frames in reporting the Sierra Leone war: Implications for peace journalism and global justice in Ethica
Shaw, I. S. (2009) The ‘us only’ and ‘us+them’ frames in reporting the Sierra Leone war: Implications for peace journalism and global justice in Ethica. Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics , 6 (1). pp. 39-47.
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This paper explores the debate over the framing of ‘their’ problem and not ‘ours’ in the context of the Sierra Leone civil war. It draws on a multi-dimensional exploratory discourse analysis based on the coverage of the Sierra Leone civil war between 1996 and 2001 by four Western journalists, I analyse these ‘us only’ and ‘ us+ them’ frames in the context of the ‘empathy/distance’ and ‘empathy/critical’ frames, respectively. I argue that the turning of the back of the international community (led by Britain) on Sierra Leone was informed more by historical empathy/distance frames than empathy/critical frames in the mainstream Western media news discourse. I conclude with a discussion of the implication of these historical empathy/distance frames in the Western media in the efforts to bring an end to the war within the context of peace journalism
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