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Media Coverage of US Drone Program: An empirical study of targeted killings in the tribal area of Pakistan
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

One of the most controversial policies in the War on Terror in Pakistan is the targeted killing of militants using unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. Due to the apparent success of drone strikes, there is a substantial increase in their use by the US military. Although drone strikes have killed important Taliban leaders, their use is unpopular in Pakistan due to the collateral civilian casualties often associated with them. This study explores whether the news media of the countries involved in War on Terror are highlighting any flaws in the legal procedures of drone strikes. The study also analyzes the role of cultural proximity in the coverage of drone incidents by the news media. Dawn from Pakistan, New York Times from US and Guardian from UK are selected as elite newspapers, as the three countries are important actors in War on Terror. This study is guided by the fourth estate notion of press, which focuses on the idea of the press as freedom-seeker, defender and as investigator as well as adversary of the government. Quantitative content analysis was used as the main method for this study. The results indicate that Dawn being a Pakistani newspaper and thus having greater cultural proximity with the drone incidents gave more coverage to the drone program as compared to New York Times and Guardian. The results also indicated that all the three newspapers did not ensure ‘presumption of innocence’ in most of the articles. It was also found that the three newspapers did not discuss any legal aspects of drone program. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
drones, presumption of innocence, fourth estate, cultural proximity, International Humanitarian Law
National Category
Media Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91088OAI: diva2:630667
Available from: 2013-08-14 Created: 2013-06-19 Last updated: 2013-08-14Bibliographically approved

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