Advocacy Journalism, the Politics of Humanitarian Intervention and the Syrian War
Since 2011, the international media have done much to highlight the suffering of civilians in the on-going war in Syria, including through innovative forms of reporting such as VR journalism and news games. However, by the end of 2016, questions were being raised about a number of high-profile news stories, such as the use of chemical weapons, the role of the ‘White Helmets’ relief workers, and the bombing of Aleppo and other cities. Amid the claims and counter-claims of propaganda and ‘fake news’, news audiences glimpsed shifting and clashing explanatory framings of the Syrian war. A conflict that had initially been understood against the background of the ‘Arab Spring’ began to be seen as complicated by sectarian religious tensions, the rise of Islamic State, opaque factional and regional alliances, and international tensions reminiscent of the Cold War. An imperative to establish a moral framework for the story seemed to preclude more complex and searching questions about the motivations and actions of local and international actors.
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