Analyzing Media Representations of Terrorist Attacks Against Muslims: A Comparative Content Analysis of the Christchurch Mosque Attacks on BBC, Al Jazeera, and Al Arabiya Websites

Fatima Abdul Rehman, Ruba Salma


This study investigates how mainstream Arab and Western media outlets differed in their coverage of the Christchurch Mosque terrorist attacks in 2019. It examines the Arab media websites of the two most popular Arab news channels (Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya), which vary in their agendas and funding, and the BBC website, one of the biggest and most popular Western media outlets. It examines how the Arab and Western media websites differ in their framing of the attacks concerning the association of “terrorism” to the perpetrator and the attack, sympathy for the victims, the importance given to the perpetrator’s religion, and the sources quoted, covering a period from March 15, 2019, to June 14, 2019. Contrary to previous literature, this study finds that the BBC’s coverage was close to Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya regarding sympathy for the victims, the importance given to the attack, and the official sources quoted. However, BBC still applied double standards in describing the perpetrator according to his religion although the official New Zealand position explicitly indicated that the perpetrator was a “terrorist.” The BBC did not label the perpetrator as a “terrorist,” except in a few instances. This finding aligned with previous literature.


White terrorism, Arab media, Western media, Muslims, framing

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