On February 14, 2011, an uprising in Bahrain made global news with what media labeled as a peaceful protest for political reform. Falling on the heels of successful revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, Bahrain quickly gained an international audience. Having traveled to all three mentioned countries within a year before their uprisings, it was obvious that Bahrain’s unrest was being conveyed through sensationalized reports, when in fact the circumstances were completely different. Having visited Bahrain, having developed a sophisticated understanding of the culture, and having a diverse Bahraini network, I found great interest in why the reports on Bahrain painted such a drastically different picture that what I observed.
With this thesis, I aim to bring on dialogue regarding the biased handling of Bahrain’s events by the media. This research will show that the country of Bahrain has a history of protest and government reform. Major news outlets like BBC and Al Jazeera highlighted the cries of opposition groups, most notably Al Wefaq National Islamic Society and the Bahrain Center Human Rights, claiming that the monarchy was crushing peaceful, pro-democratic revolts and abusing citizens’ human rights. While the government is guilty of harsh interrogation and cases of torture, they are allowing the Opposition (who is enabled by media attention) and its supporters to reek havoc in the streets of Bahrain. With security forces on a tight leash due to past problems, residents and visitors of Bahrain have been left vulnerable to attacks by opposition supporters. This paper will analyze how news outlets circulate content that could be enabling the current situation to drag on in Bahrain with methods including a content analysis of print media, YouTube, and Twitter, and ethnographic research including several interviews.
|School:||The American University of Paris (France)|
|Source:||MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Arab, Bahrain, Coverage, Media, Sensationalized, Spring|
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