European international broadcasting and Islamist terrorism in Africa: The case of Boko Haram on France 24 and Deutsche Welle

Połońska-Kimunguyi, Eva and Gillespie, Marie (2016). European international broadcasting and Islamist terrorism in Africa: The case of Boko Haram on France 24 and Deutsche Welle. International Communication Gazette, 79(3) pp. 245–275.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1748048516656327

Abstract

This article examines the relationship between European (international) broadcasting and Islamist terrorism in Africa and positions media portrayal of Boko Haram within the larger picture of Europe’s relations with Africa. Two international broadcasters provide the basis for the analysis: France 24 and Deutsche Welle. The article compares and contrasts their discourse on terrorism to advance several arguments: 1) that through their respective portrayal of Boko Haram and Nigeria both France 24 and Deutsche Welle’s reporting is in line with their respective countries’ foreign policies towards Africa, 2) that discourse on both F24 and DW perpetuates the unequal relationship between African countries and Western powers, 3) that portraying terrorism in terms of ‘clash of civilisations’, as in the case of France 24, may unintentionally contribute to the strengthening of the extremist cause. This is due to the transformation of violent extremism into ‘new wars’. The concept, elaborated in the article, differently explains the logic of extremist behaviour and its relationship with media.

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