The Third Report of the “University in The News” Series is Out Now!

“Arrested Students 2021”

We devoted the third report of our research, examining how student protests and activist students are represented and handled, to the arrested students.To carry out the framing and discourse analysis, we scanned the news about LGBTI+ students in A Haber, Akşam, Yeni Şafak, Takvim, Sabah, Yeni Akit and Akit TV between January 4 and March 31, 2021, and collected 51 news items. Most of these news covers the demonstrations at Boğaziçi University. The majority of the news items covers the detention and arrest processes as part of student protests at Boğaziçi University.

In the discourse analysis part of the research, we focused on the linguistic strategies, namings, metaphors, adjectives, phrases, and the patterns formed by them in the news about the arrested students. We took a closer look at some of the news that we think they represent these patterns.

Within the scope of the study, we scanned the news about detention and arrest of students in A Haber, Akşam, Yeni Şafak, Takvim, Sabah and, Yeni Akit between January 4 and March 31 and collected 51 news. We carried out a content analysis by coding all collected news on an individual basis with a detailed coding scale. We also carried out a discourse analysis on a smaller number of news pieces, which we think represent the patterns encountered in the news. We answered each of the following questions for 51 news pieces reviewed.

  • What is the tone of the news? (positive, negative, neutral)
  • What is the predominant theme of the news? (Terror, provocation, crime etc.)
  • How are detained and arrested students defined in the news? (Suspect, terrorist, provocateur, etc.)
  • What are the sources in the news? (Government representatives’, police’s, and governorship’s statements, etc.)
  • What are the prominent approaches in the news about detention and arrest? (Emphasis on “they are not students”, “they are related to terrorism”, using the phrases that they committed a “crime” instead of accusations)
  • Are the violations encountered by students during detention and arrest included in the news? How are they covered?

We examined the discursive structures of the news underlining each question and setting examples as we think. In the discourse analysis we dealt with news headings, photographs, details of news language, linguistic strategies, and the rhetoric.

If we briefly summarize the general findings of the research:

  • 47 of 51 news items are negative toned and 4 is neutral.
  • The most predominant theme in the news is provocation.
  • Students who were detained or arrested are mostly defined as suspects and provocateurs. While words such as “terrorist”, “LGBT pervert”, “protestor” and “vandalist” are also used among the definitions, only two of these news stories define students as “student”.
  • In 18 of 51 news pieces, the statements of government representatives or other official institutions and their representatives are included. In 5 news stories, what happened at the hearing and the indictments are the main source of the news.
  • In 20 of the news items about the detention or arrest of students, it is common to emphasize that they are not actually students and that they are “related to terrorism.” Instead of “charged against”, the phrase “detected to have committed a crime” is also frequently used.
  • Violations such as strip search, beating, and prevention of the right to education, which students encountered while being detained or during their arrest and trial processes, are generally not covered in the news and in fact, these violations are mentioned in eight news stories with the comments that they are “denied” and actually “slanders”.

Author: Beyza Kural
Advisor: Prof. Burak Özçetin
Translater: Özge Karlık