Understanding the press imaging of 'terrorist': A pragmatic visit to the Frankfurt School

Sonia Ambrosio De Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Media is at the heart of many public debates in the same way as terrorism and Islam are part of a global discourse since the events of 9/11 in the United States. This article attempts to use the social construction of social problems approach to understand the media's imaging of 'terrorists' in the context of Singapore. Combining media research with social critical reflection provides the tools to identify the social rationale dimension. The application of such a procedure reveals the complex relationships between the media and their role in the process of 'nationbuilding'. The city-state fits the order model of society, where social integration, order and stability are fundamental. The Singaporean population is predominantly non-Islamic Chinese; however, geographically Singapore is located between Malaysia, a Muslim country, and Indonesia, where 89 percent of the population are Muslims. The article looks at Singapore's mainstream English-language newspaper, The Straits Times , and its representation of terrorists following the events of 9/11. The data cover three periods: (1) immediately after 9/11; (2) between January and February 2002, when a group of men accused of 'terrorism-related activities' were arrested in Singapore; and (3) September 2002, when Singapore's authorities announced the arrest of a second group of 'suspect terrorists'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-337
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Communication Gazette
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


  • Frankfurt School
  • Jemaah Islamiyah
  • Journalism
  • Media construction
  • Muslim
  • Religion
  • Singapore
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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