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Media Objectivity and Bias in Western Coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
2023 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The present study seeks to identify if journalistic objectivity is compromised in the coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian war and how the various media bias practices are incorporated into news reports. It provides a critical analysis of the portrayal of conflicting sides of the conflict in Western mainstream media, examining how the "us" versus "them" narratives were constructed and how the produced discourse aligns with the principles of peace journalism. The study uses a combination of critical discourse analysis, semiotic, and narrative analysis methods as well as quantitative content analysis to achieve its objectives. Analyzing the content of twelve articles sourced from BBC and CNN, published across two distinct time frames, reveals that Western media coverage disproportionately represents the Ukrainian perspective, with the Russian standpoint largely marginalized or stereotypically characterized. The findings indicate that Western media also normalize or trivialize the role of neo-Nazi organizations in the conflict while downplaying potential war crimes committed by the Ukrainian side. Quantitative content analysis of 99 articles according to criteria adapted from Galtung's model finds a discernible dominance of war journalism over peace journalism, thus propagating divisive narratives. Comparative findings for each digital outlet suggest that the BBC adopts a more aggressive war journalism modality than CNN. The research advocates for a critical reflection on media coverage, the challenging of media biases, and a strive for a more balanced, peace-oriented portrayal of conflicts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. , p. 104
Keywords [en]
peace journalism, objectivity, media bias, Russian-Ukrainian war, BBC, CNN
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-51707OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-51707DiVA, id: diva2:1769389
Subject / course
Media and Communication Studies
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-06-20 Created: 2023-06-16 Last updated: 2023-06-20Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-harvard.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-oxford.csl
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf