University of Leicester
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TheBritish press construction of Iran (1979-1989).

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posted on 2015-11-19, 08:56 authored by Mohammad Hassan. Mohsen
This thesis examines the British daily and Sunday press construction of news about Iran and Islam in the first decade of the revolution. More interestingly, it attempts an analysis of the press coverage of Iran using a framework of combined approaches for the study of foreign news in the Western media. This study shows that the press operates under a variety of influences and constraints which become part of the structure of the press construction of foreign news. Three major components of this structure are emphasised and seen to interact in examination of the coverage of the different aspects of the Islamic revolution. Each offers an interpretive framework for the way the press selected and presented certain specific events. The first of the three components and bases for analysis highlights the role of the press in communicating political issues relating to the West. Analysis shows a strong interaction between journalists and Western sources of news and other selected pro-West sources of information. A strong Western dimension is observed in the selection and presentation process of most themes. The press stresses the importance of the Western interests in the Middle East which are seen as being threatened by the enemies of the West, e.g. Iran, Islamic fundamentalism, and terrorism. The second component deals with "cultural resonances". Analysis shows that the British press constructs its news to resonate with the cultural symbols of the West. In this thesis historical and recent perceptions of Iran and Islam are explored as a background reference for the explanations of these cultural resonances, which result in a press alignment with the dominant values of the West perceived as superior. The third component is made up of the constraints imposed on British journalists and the limited range of news values. These professional obstacles decide the selection and presentation of particular news stories and specific facts and leave other aspects of the same stories unexplored and decontextualised. The results of the study contribute to increase our knowledge of how and why the press, once the reported country defined as an enemy to the West, use powerful sources of news and the inclusion of statements from those sources at the expense of others, how and why the cultural aspects of the West figure so strongly in the coverage of foreign news, and how and why the ever-important criteria of news values play a definite role in the construction of the socio-political reality of Iran.


Date of award


Author affiliation

Media and Communication

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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