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Citizenship, nation, and identity : a study of the framing of the Maher Arar case in Canada’s two national newspapers, 2002-2004 Hobuti-Fard, Tahereh Elliey

Abstract

In this study, I examine newspaper coverage from the National Post and The Globe and Mail on the case of Maher Arar using media framing analysis. Arar, a Canadian citizen of Syrian origin, was detained and subsequently deported by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service based on his suspected links with terrorist organizations. To understand the significance and implications of how this case has been framed in the news media, over 250 newspaper articles (written between September, 2002 to February, 2004) were analyzed from Canada’s two national newspapers. This study identifies four different types of frames that have been predominantly used in the framing of news stories about Maher Arar: terrorism, domestic policy/foreign relations, racial/religious, and civil & human rights/liberties frames. While little significant difference in framing was found between the two newspapers/coverage of this case, several differences were evident. Among the findings of this study were that terrorism tends to be associated with Arab Muslims in the post-9/11 period and that there is a rising concern regarding the status of visible minorities in Canada, and the state of our national and international post-911 policies and practices.

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