TV Coverage of the 2010 Election in Iraq: A Study of the Evening Newscasts of Four Iraqi Satellite Channels
thesisposted on 02.04.2012, 09:17 by Ahmed Khalid Al-Rawi
This study analysed the content of the evening newscasts of Iraqia, Furat, Hurria, and Baghdad channels from the 22nd of February to the 7th of March, 2010. These were the fourteen days that led up to the Election Day. The channels were chosen based on their affiliations; Iraqia is the state-run TV station, Furat TV belongs to Hakim’s Shiite party, Baghdad channel is run by Samarai’s Sunni party, and Hurria TV is managed by Talabani’s Kurdish party. This study focused on investigating the way different topics and candidates were covered, the horse race issue, and the (non)-application of the principles of good journalism such as objectivity, impartiality, and balance. The author designed three coding frames in order to fully analyse the content: (1) the programme level (2) the story level (3) and candidate/topic level (sub-story). Beside measuring the structural features of the newscasts and their individual stories such as time allotment and number of stories, the study analysed the news formats that were divided into three types: the use of verbal narratives, still images, and films. Also, the production techniques were investigated that included the various candidates’ spatial relationships with others and the use of camera angles like eye/top/bottom levels and close-up positions. The results of the study revealed that all the channels did not abide by the principles of good journalism like objectivity, impartiality, and balance. Also, the four channels presented the story topics and candidates in certain ways that echoed the agenda and beliefs of the channels’ sponsors, except for Iraqia TV that was not directly involved in promoting political candidates. Finally, the four channels did not focus on the horse-race issue since they mostly limited their coverage to promote their own parties/candidates and ignored the other competing slates.