Journalism a Tool of ‘Civil Repair’ or ‘Othering’ in a Society: A Comparative Study of the ‘Christchurch Mosques Shootings’ and the ‘Easter Bombings’ in Sri Lanka
Keywords:Christchurch Mosques Shootings, Civil Repair, Civil Sphere Theory, Critical Discourse Analysis, Ideological Square, Lexicalization, Orientalism, Othering Discourse, Solidarity Discourse, Sri Lankan Easter Bombings
The world witnessed two horrific and the deadliest days for the mankind during March and April of 2019 when more than 321 innocent lives of Muslim and Christian worshipers were lost to the hands of religious extremists. Both the Muslims and the Christian were attacked while busy in their worships on their respective religious sacred days. The attacks contained clear intentions of exacerbating religious polarization in both the societies. The media around the globe vigorously and meticulously reported and commented on the incidents and produced a variety of discourses ranging from the ‘white supremacy’ to the ‘Islamist terrorism’ to the ‘polarization’ and to the need of ‘social solidarity’. Mass Media researchers around the globe have explored and analyzed these discourses and have determined the role of media in these critical times. This study is an attempt to find out whether and to what extent the New Zealand and the Sri Lankan media have performed the role of ‘civil repair’ by producing the ‘solidarity discourse’ as proposed by Jeffery Charles Alexander. Or, they have produced the ‘othering discourse’ as argued by Edward Wadie Said. Commissioning the ‘lexicalization’ and the ‘ideological square’ techniques from the Critical Discourse Analysis proposed by Teun Adrianus van Dijk the researcher has examined the editorials and the op-eds from the selected New Zealand and Sri Lankan newspapers. The findings are interesting in a sense that in case of the Christchurch shootings the ‘civil repair’ function of journalism is proved. While, in case of the Easter Sunday shootings in Sri Lanka the ‘othering’ is the predominant discourse.
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