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Dr. Ibrahim Seaga Shaw

11 February 2006 at 06:46 | 561 views

One of Sierra Leone’s famous journalists, Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, has recently earned a PhD in the Science of Information and Communication from the University of Paris(the Sorbonne), one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities, in the same rank as Oxford and Cambridge universities in England. Shaw, who did his masters degree in London, is the editor and publisher of Expo Times newspaper(www.expotimes.net).
Below is a summary of Dr. Shaw’s PhD thesis:

Western media correspondents and the civil war in Sierra Leone (1996-2001): Evocative or diagnostic reporting?
This thesis aims to analyse stereotypical representations and clichés, not only as media logics but also as recurrent communication obstacles, found in the Western media discourse about the civil war in Sierra Leone. The study examines a diverse media landscape: the print media, news agencies, radio and television. It argues that the journalists of the mainstream Western media rarely treated the political context of the war, which is the central concern of our research.

It is informed by the desire to understand the reasons that lead journalists to employ stereotypes and preformatted frames of analysis. What shapes their mindset about Africa in general? What shaped their worldview about Sierra Leone in the wake of the civil war in particular? The thesis comprises four main parts. The first examines the current debate on the work of Western media journalists and the geopolitics of the war in Sierra Leone. The second looks at the theoretical framework intended to clarify some of the important concepts, which informed the study such as journalism, mass media, stereotype, politics, humanitarian, disinformation. The third is based on the sociological study of 22 journalists of the British, American and French media who covered the war in Sierra Leone between 1996 and 2001. The fourth is mainly comparative regarding the experience of some of the journalists in the study.

This thesis explores three hypotheses: There are links between the stereotypical representations and the factors, which shape the reporting of these journalists; there are links between most of these representations and communication obstacles; and finally these representations influence these journalists to do more of evocative than diagnostic reporting.

Photo: Ibrahim Shaw(left).

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