Barkho will defend his thesis on January 23, at 9:15 a.m. at The School of Education and Communication, Jönköping University, before a team of international scholars.
Journalists, media practitioners and the public are most welcome to attend and take part in the defense.
Leon Barkho’s Strategies of Power in Multilingual Global Broadcasters on the Middle East coverage of the BBC, CNN and Aljazeera is an attempt to critically analyze the news discourse of the three networks and see whether their claims to impartiality, balance, neutrality and objectivity can be verified.
The book, originally a Ph.D. thesis submitted to the School of Education and Communication (HLK) at Jonkoping University, Sweden, includes five papers all published in international scholarly journals.
But the papers do not make a happy reading for those who take claims by the four broadcasters that their reporters are free to tell events as they see them and as they unfold in front of their eyes.
There is massive empirical evidence in the book that the three broadcasters have numerous gate-keeping measures in the form of internal guidelines and editorial control which almost dictate the social and communicative features of the news story.
The papers offer an intriguing behind-the-scene account of the three broadcaster’s coverage of the Israeli-conflict and the war in Iraq. Relying on ethnographic observation – interviews, internal style guidelines, anecdotes, policy documents, secondary data, etc. – they offer a comprehensive view of the news room strategies the networks have in place for the reporting of these two sensitive stories.
Barkho was an Assistant Professor at Iraq’s Mosul University before joining Reuters in 1991 as a reporter and then bureau chief. After leaving Reuters in 1997 he joined the Associated Press as a staff writer.
He earned an M.A. in applied linguistics in 1977. During his first tenure as an academic at Mosul University he published about a dozen papers on English linguistics, grammar and translation.
His publications at Jönköping University, mainly tackling a critical analysis of media discourse, have appeared in American Communication Journal, Journalism Studies, Studies in Language and Capitalism, Journal of Arab and Muslim Media Research and International Journal of Business Studies.
A major piece of his work is scheduled for the Journal of Pragmatics in early 2009. His essay in Journalism Studies, included in the book, won the best paper award.