Western propaganda models reconsidered : the "Catherine Whell" of censorship circumvention in developing world internal conflicts

Frederick, Howard H. and De Alwis, Chandrika K. 2009, Western propaganda models reconsidered : the "Catherine Whell" of censorship circumvention in developing world internal conflicts, Asian journal of communication, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 59-79.

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Title Western propaganda models reconsidered : the "Catherine Whell" of censorship circumvention in developing world internal conflicts
Author(s) Frederick, Howard H.
De Alwis, Chandrika K.
Journal name Asian journal of communication
Volume number 19
Issue number 1
Start page 59
End page 79
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Abingdon, England
Publication date 2009-03
ISSN 0129-2986
1742-0911
Keyword(s) critical propaganda theory
language
culture
ethnic conflict
intrastate conflict
free press
military censorship
Sri Lanka
Summary This study is a deep-text analysis of military censorship applied to the national press in the Sri Lankan conflict. We examine press coverage of two Sri Lankan military operations, namely Operation Jayasikurui (1997) and the Capture of Elephant Pass (2000), to identify patterns of signification that help us construct a novel theory of conflict reporting under censorship within the context of ethnic, intrastate conflict. Our study shows that Sri Lankan newspapers, while abiding by censorship regulations, contradictorily also manoeuvred around these regulations as if censorship did not exist. Noteworthy were the censorship circumvention techniques that were used. For example, journalists taught readers how to ‘read’ blank space. They used commentary to educate readers how to read the straight news. They used conflict frames to overcome bias towards official viewpoints. They used multi-source confirmation to avoid pre-dominance of official views. They used respectful words rather than demonised opponents. Great attention
was paid to victims of the conflict, destruction of life and property, and civil society. Our findings do not accord well with previous theoretical models of the media role in society and of press censorship under conflict. The Sri Lankan press is highly intertwined within its cultural context and follows its own value system. We propose the ‘Catherine Wheel Model of Censorship Circumvention’ about press behaviour in times of internal conflict. Our model attempts to explain internal conflict within the developing world context in which the press system is based deeply in culture and is more accustomed to circumventing censorship than obeying it.
Language eng
Field of Research 190301 Journalism Studies
Socio Economic Objective 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
HERDC collection year 2009
Copyright notice ©2009, AMIC/SCI-NTU
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30028273

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management and Marketing
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