In July 2010, unprecedented floods hit Pakistan, leaving millions of people homeless and affecting the lives of over 18 million people. Based in the literature on media representations of non-Western disaster, this study investigates how Dutch news media covered this particular instance of distant suffering. A critical discourse analysis was conducted, exploring the ways in which the event was presented and explained to Dutch audiences during the first month of the crisis in the NOS Journaal and the telethon ‘Actie Pakistan’. Building on Chouliaraki’s analytical model (2006), the study shows how specific modes of representation might have served to disallow or facilitate moral engagement of the spectator. Analysis also reveals how Dutch media gradually moved from reporting on the crisis as ‘adventure’, towards humanitarian ‘emergency’. Simultaneously, by playing in on the Otherness of the Pakistani people, asymmetrical dichotomies between the passive distant victim and the Western spectator are upheld.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap (print)|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|