African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 403

Article in Press

Representation of Somalia in Western Media: The Piracy Case and BBC


  •  Received: 12 February 2019
  •  Accepted: 02 May 2019
Somalia has been a chaotic situation for the last two decades, civil war broke in 1999 after dethroned central government of Somalia by an armed clan functions, many people lost their lives or their beloved ones and thousands internally displaced others fled to neighboring countries. The humanitarian situation of the displaced people became the worst one in the region. This is attracted the eyes of international donors, human right activists and most importantly international media in particular western media. Western media particularly British broad cast corporation (BBC) took a very crucial informative role in putting the situation of Somalia into the international plat forms, however, representations given to the situation has been questioning. BBC in describing the situation of Somalia embeds politically motivated catchphrases include “failed state, home of sea piracy”, such phrases are conveying implicitly moral distortive policies of western powers. Using critical discourse analysis, this paper aims to examine stories about Somali piracy on the international BBC news website. The paper tries to figure out how piracy related stories are represented in the BBC news coverage and in what legitimation strategies are employed. The study discloses how the news stories legitimize western military intervention counter piracy sea operations and de-legitimizes the pirate actions against foreign ships. The samples of the news texts analyzed revealed that BBC extensively legitimized the military initiatives of western powers against pirates, and delegitimized the claim of Somali pirates as a volunteer coast guards that protect Somali waters from illegal fishing and dumping toxic wastes.

Keywords: Piracy, media, western, BBC, legitimation, discourse analysis, Somalia