Framing the Islamic state on Al Jazeera English and the BBC websites

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Satti, Mohamed
Journal Article
This study examines the media coverage of the Islamic State (IS) currently vying to establish a caliphate in the Middle East. The websites of Al Jazeera English (AJE) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) were scrutinized in order to determine how they framed IS. This study suggests eight framing devices to this media coverage: the Islamic fundamentalist; religious differences/intolerance; crimes against humanity; the aggressive nature of IS; the aggressive nature of coalition forces; a desire for peace; religious tolerance; and humanitarian. Results suggested that both AJE and the BBC frame IS as an aggressive entity with fundamentalist tendencies, whose main agenda centres on fighting against those who stand in its way. The study also highlights how the coalition forces are similarly framed as having an aggressive nature, although this aggressiveness is warranted, since they are ‘the forces of good fighting against evil’. Results also suggest that IS is framed as an extremist organization that exhibits considerable religious intolerance. Coverage by AJE and the BBC also tended to humanize the victims and to dehumanize those who were victimized.