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A democratic approach to reporting religion: Comparing the newspaper coverage in the UK and Turkey

Topkev, Ahmed 2021. A democratic approach to reporting religion: Comparing the newspaper coverage in the UK and Turkey. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Despite religion’s prominence in public debates and importance in daily life for religious citizens, many scholars and journalists remain preoccupied with religious fundamentalism and violence. After providing broader legitimacy based on the relationship between democracy, the news media and religion, I review the core of my four-layer rationale for the proposed democratic approach to newspaper religion reporting. It brings together, in a systematic and unified approach, the democratic fragments, dispersed across many related studies, that contribute towards the construction of a full picture of faith in the news. These dispersed democratic fragments are all those similar findings and issues in the news media’s religion coverage typically revealed and discussed by related research in the broader context of democracy, democratic society and news media. Moreover, the improvements that these studies suggest are possible only in the presence of democracy and its decent functioning. The study uses content and framing analyses supplemented by qualitative examples. It examines the framing of religion and the extent to which the four dimensions of the deductively proposed and inductively verified democratic approach – spiritual, world life, political, and conflict – are employed in eight British and eleven Turkish national newspapers during three distinct weeks in 2014. The most striking finding is the contrasting portrayals of Christianity and Islam between both countries. However, even the reporting of the dominant religions is not balanced across the four meta-frames. There is a visible, albeit limited, employment of the spiritual meta-frame including for the dominant religions in both countries. There is also significantly less use of context for putting faith in action in the reporting of Christians in the world life meta-frame which dominates their coverage in the UK compared to the coverage of Muslims in Turkey. These examples suggest the potential for a more democratic approach, contributing to more comprehensive and balanced reporting of religion, and serving as a democracy index against which the press can improve its faith coverage, or as a guide for how to do so.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 May 2021
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2021 14:34

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