TitleA Headline is Worth a Hundred Words: An Analysis of Syrian Opposition and Government Media
AbstractWith about thirteen million displaced Syrians worldwide, the Syrian refugee crisis remains one of our most significant global challenges. In 2015, images of Alan Kurdi, a Kurdish-Syrian two-year-old refugee, lying dead on a beach went viral across the West and dramatically increased the media attention on the Syrian crisis. Despite extensive research on how media in receiving countries, like Canada and Turkey, discuss refugees, there is minimal research on the media representation of Syrian refugees in Syrian media. This study explores headlines from Syrian opposition and government sources and concentrates on how they frame refugees. The data highlighted the power of political alignment as a gatekeeping force as the sources framed refugee stories differently based on their ownership and political-lean. Using refugee headlines as a topic area allowed for an exploration of varying manifestations of nationalism that were shaped by issue-framing. The opposition source was more likely to tie nationalism to the value of the Syrian identity, while the government source was more likely to link it to the value of the Syrian homeland. This research has important implications for understanding how media in sending countries like Syria discusses their own refugees.