Power and Silence: Australian Media Portrayal of Israeli and Palestinian Casualties during the Gaza War of 2014
The International Academic Forum
School of Arts and Humanities
At one stage of the long-lasting Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Israel launched a military operation, Protective Edge, on the Gaza Strip in July–August of 2014. As a consequence, approximately 2,280 people died and over 11,000 people were injured, the majority of them Palestinian civilians (including children and women). These numerous casualties resulted in a pronounced interest in this particular event by international media such as CNN and the BBC, as well as other Western media including the Australian media. This paper investigates how Australian print and online media portrayed the Israeli and Palestinian casualties during the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza. Specifically, through using critical discourse analysis, it examines how the casualties were represented by four Australian news sources: The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC and Crikey. Based on the concept of framing theory (a technique used to shape an event or issue, reflecting the power embedded in media texts), the paper analyses news items published in Australian mainstream media during the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza to identify the frames employed in reporting Israeli and Palestinian casualties. The conflict frame was dominant in the Australian print and online media coverage of casualties during the Gaza War of 2014. As a result, this coverage did not provide the contexts of news stories about casualties who were portrayed in a statistical frame. Officials and medics’ voices were dominant, while the voices of Israeli and Palestinian casualties themselves were largely excluded from the Australian media representations of Gaza War casualties.