Dr. Howard Barrell
Dr. Cynthia Boaz
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Sonoma State University
In this session, Dr. Boaz introduces several common media frames (or “biases”) that lead to distortions in coverage of civil resistance. She also discusses the role of meta-frames, i.e. deeply held beliefs and assumptions about concepts such as power, conflict and violence, which reinforce misperceptions in media reporting of civil resistance.
Dr. Barrell examines strategies that were developed by two groups of journalists in different parts of the world struggling to reach their audiences despite severe repression. One group was Burmese, the other South African. In Burma, opposition journalists set out in the 1990s to find a way to bypass their government’s tight grip on the media in their country. They ended up creating something entirely new, free of control by the government, that exploited advances in broadcasting technology and the credibility that derives from a ‘public service’ ethos in journalism. In South Africa in the 1970s, there seemed little chance of developing an effective opposition media outside of the state-approved system. A group of journalists asked themselves if they could work within government-imposed constraints yet still get across a militant opposition message.