Basque newspaper Deia on line site

By Aleksandra Dukovska

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) is not only the historical chapter in the Spanish book of post – Second World War evidence of terrorism acts. ETA is a reality that opens questions and put them into a context of international terrorism attacks. In the aftermath of September 11, leading Spanish newspapers, such as El Pais, wrote and tried to inform the readers in Spain on main news developments, opinion of American President George W. Bush and to compare with the Spanish context and opinions of leading Spanish officials.

However, the view on the Basque media can put different light on the post 9/11 news coverage in this province of Spain. ‘As one might expect, Basque media tended to project Basque problems onto 9/11 attacks’, wrote Terresa Sabada in the article Each to his own, published in the international journal Television and Media. She argues that even though the reasons for World Trade Center attacks are different from ‘those related  to the terrorism lived in Basque Provinces’, identical discourse ‘that had typically framed the reports of an ETA attack were extended to the 9/11 events’. The wordiness in the speech of former prime minister of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar was full of understanding and support towards the USA, with his open message to the public in Spain. As Sabada mentioned, recently after 9/11 attack Aznar said that in Spain “ we know that kind of suffering” and “we know how to react.”

Despite the position of Spain leading officials who supported USA in the aftermath of 9/11 events, the position in the media was framed according the cultural beliefs and editorial policy of different newspapers. “Cultural filters that modify and adopted what is in principle a global message for a local audience through a study of the coverage of 9/11 and the terrorist attack perpetrated in Madrid on March “2004 as received in the main Spanish newspapers”, wrote Terresa Sabada and Teresa La Porte in the book Media, Terrorism and Theory. Depending on the filters and the media discourse, Sabada and La Porte, defined three main position in the Basque media. In their analysis published in the book Media, Terrorism and Theory, Sabada and La Porte concluded that the regional newspaper El Correo Espanol followed ‘the government preference of denying the possibilities for negotiation and that the violence should be stopped by counter-terrorist intelligence and direct police action.’

Sabada and La Porte recognized a very different and contrasting views in the newspaper Deia. They concluded that Deia rejected the Spanish government view that compared Basque terrorism with the World Trade Center attacks’ and wrote with ‘editorial strategy that makes differentiate between terrorism and war.’ One of the main line that dominates in the Deia was the ‘For Bush, they are not yet terrorists but enemies.’  That can be concluded with the Deia post 9/11 articles content analysis made by Sabada and La Porte. The differentiation Deia editorial strategy made on the war and terrorism in the context of who the targets are. In the war the targets are armies or enemies, while in terrorism or terrorist attacks the targets are civilians. Although, one of the targets of 9/11 attacks was the Pentagon building were 184 people died. Having that in mind, it is understandable that Deia tried to raise the issue of distinction between Basque terrorism and 9/11 attacks. By making that dividing line they send the message the war on terror actions can’t be implemented on Spain ground.

Sabada and La Porte followed the wording used on the Basque news television channel and underlined they ‘tried to avoid the use of terms such as “terrorist” or “terrorism” and instead used more euphemistic phrases such as “the people who attacked the World Trade Center” or “the ones who did this horrible action.”

To conclude with the opinion of Sabada and La Porte, ‘Basque media coverage of 9-11 shared one characteristic: all found analogies with the situation and problems in the Basque Province and helped Basques understand what was happening in the United States’.  It is reasonable for both authors that the way reporting was ‘framed also raised the question about the role played by national media in the times of global conflict.’

References:

  1. Sadaba, Teresa. “Each to his own.” TELEVISION & NEW MEDIA 3.2 May (2002): 219-22. Web.26 Jan. 2011. <http://rcirib.ir/articles/pdfs/cd1/Ingenta_Sage_Articles_on_194_225_11_89/Ingenta958.pdf>.
  2. Kavoori, A. P., & Fraley, T. (Eds.). (n.d.). Media, terrorism, and theory (pp. 219-222). Rowman & Littlefield. Retrieved January 26, 2011, from http://books.google.com/books?id=0l7y-tZJCrUC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r#v=onepage&q&f=false (Original work published 2006)
  3. Aznar: “Ha sido un ataque contra todos nosotros”. (2001, September 12). In ElPais.com. Retrieved January 26, 2011, from http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/Aznar/Ha/sido/ataque/todos/elpepuint/20010912elpepuint_3/Tes