9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN08 Disaster and Social Crisis

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Disaster and Risk - Concepts and Perspectives Building AA, AA.226

Perceiving Terrorism: Media Coverage and Emotional Responses to the Gungoren and Aktutun

In this research we will attempt to understand how sections of the national population have emotionally related to the news media coverage and we will consider the extent to which the Turkish media has handled the representation of political violence with any care or consistency. We intend to question how forms of identification determine the emotional responses of the public to representations of political violence and the extent to which balanced forms of objectivity are offset by more subjective and biased understandings which are defined by societal institutions and power relations.

To define our analysis we will employ a qualitative research methodology to consider the coverage and the impact that coverage within the three national Turkish newspapers with the highest circulations (Zaman, Posta and Hurriyet) during the Gungoren bombing attack on the 27 July 2008 and the Aktutun Gendarme station raid on the 3 September 2008. The Gungoren bombing, in which eighteen civilians died, was a case of urban terrorism in centre of Istanbul in which the victims were randomly selected. It was covered mainly as a PKK action despite the denials which were issued by the PKK itself. The Aktutun Gendarme station raid, in which seventeen soldiers died, was an armed conflict between the army and the PKK. Both events were covered widely by the media. Therefore, we will take a sample group of random individuals to consider how these events were covered and what responses they engendered. To this end, we will employ a demographic questionnaire and semi-structured interviews about the written coverage and photographs selected from the Zaman, Posta and Hurriyet newspapers during the first week of the coverage of the events.

We will utilise the ?Likert? scale to measure the consistency of the emotional responses we received from our sample group. Consequently, it is our aim to understand how and why members of the Turkish media audience are affected by the newspapers? coverage of political violence and to discover how our sample?s reactions are shaped or altered by the news coverage of different types of terrorist actions.