Traumatized Victims and Mutilated Bodies: Human Rights and the ‘Politics of Immediation’ in the Rohingya Crisis of Burma/Myanmar

  • Citation: Brooten, Lisa, Syed Irfan Ashraf, and Ngozi Agwaziam Akinro. “Traumatized Victims and Mutilated Bodies: Human Rights and the ‘Politics of Immediation’ in the Rohingya Crisis of Burma/Myanmar.” International Communication Gazette 77, no. 8 (2015): 717–34.
    • Topics:
    • Country and Regional Studies
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • Myanmar
    • Burma
    • Rohingya
    • human rights
    • conflict journalism
    • politics of immediation
    • journalism
    • refugees
    • emotion in journalism

In June of 2012, global media attention turned to the deadly violence erupting in Western Burma/Myanmar between the Rakhine Buddhists and the stateless Muslim Rohingya, widely identified as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. This study employs critical human rights theory and literature on the use of emotion in media to analyze the constructions of the Rohingya situation in The New York Times (NYT), Inter Press Service (IPS). and the largest and most active Rohingya Facebook site, the Rohingya Community page. The Facebook page engages in an obvious politics of immediation, in which social actors mobilize extreme, violent victim images to provoke global political activism. Surprisingly, the NYT employs a similarly straightforward delineation of the savage–victim–savior framework while the IPS coverage is far more complex. This suggests the utility of a concept we have called the corporate politics of immediation and raises important questions about mainstream conflict reporting.

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