عنوان مقاله [English]
BNews photos and colonial ideologies:
Ideological analysis of Press TV news photos on the Africa continent
Visual representations are always political, whether they are deliberately manipulated images or they have common discourses and codes that shape the meaning of our social institutions (Spencer, 2017:33). In spite of the apparent objectivity of the images, they act in many ways from a cultural perspective, based on a colonialist dominance that is active throughout much of the world and these images may be seen in a way that legitimize ideas based on superiority(spencer,2017:65). As Michael (quoted by Spencer, 2017: 66) points out, to reach to a better understanding of this situation we need to conduct critical studies of images, in other words, the global critique of visual culture today is inevitable in understanding the present situation.
Statement of the problem:
According to studies, African news streams have always been one of the areas of interest in the news. The image presented of Africa was largely in line with what post-colonial studies shows. Post-colonial studies seek to understand the present state of the so-called Third World Countries by critically explaining their historical social conditions, of course, these studies are not merely theoretical, and seek to find a solution to change the situation. The purpose of post-colonial criticism is to unravel the truth and uproot the claims of Eurocentric discourses. As Homi k. Bhabha believes, the responsibility that post-colonial critique assumes is "to intervene in the Western discourse of modernity and to break it down."(Perry, 2010: 177). Press TV, as a television channel and its other social networks, started their work with the idea of "news from a different perspective" to challenge these prospects. The question is that in the globalized space, news images reproduced on the basis of numerous post-colonial studies of Orientalist views of Africa, how does the media in a Third World country, with a third perspective on news and image production look at Africa. So the main question of this study is” how is the representation of the continent of Africa in Press TV news photos? Is Africa's representation in the form of orientalist discourse?”
The theoretical framework of this research is postcolonial studies which are rooted in Edward W. Said's thoughts and his book, Orientalism. According to R.Boyne & A.Rattansi (2001) Orientalism is one of the most important works based on Foucault's views which stands against the challenge of solidification and sterilization of east and easterners in the form of “the other” lacking time, history and culture; That is, against a paradigm in which all its homogenous features are merely to highlight the differences and superiorities of the West in cultural, political, moral and economic matters.
Post-colonial studies can be analyzed through working with subjects such as cultural diversity, ethnic, racial, cultural differences, and power relations (Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin, 2019: 21).
Postcolonial studies have many applications in areas such as: criticizing the generalizing forms of western historicism, a new conception of class, as a name for the state of indigenous passion in post-independence national groupings, as a cultural index for the non-settlement of less developed countries’ scholars who work in western universities, as an area for the study of commonwealth countries literature and as a form of comparative review (Sloman, 2019: 128-127). Postcolonial studies not only theorize about colonial conditions, but also explain why these conditions are so and how they can be eliminated or changed.
In post-colonialism there is also a tendency toward the "actuality". That is how to deal with real socio-political issues. It is not enough for the sources of this thought to be independent and indigenous; rather, it must be dynamic and alive and useful for the "present", reliable to resolve real issues and can provide the least conditions for human life in the Contemporary world (Moi’ni, 2007:42). Criticism of the West is not enough; post-colonialism needs to deeply criticize the historical past, through which it can reaches to its own critique. Thus, if we take self-criticism as one of the axes of colonial studies, the representation of the East (the discourse east rather than the geographical East) by the East itself, defined as another West, is as important as Western representations of the East. Since Orientalist discourses have acted in such a way that the East itself represents Easterners in the context of Orientalist criticism of post-colonial studies. On this basis, it can be said that the methods of selecting news about the Third World countries, even in the less developed countries (so-called Third World countries) are also based on the factors that the West has identified.
The qualitative method was used for this analysis. The method of analysis in this article has been Burger's ideological analysis with the "first text" approach to the picture, and therefore ideological analysis material has been provided through iconographic description. "What I call the text's first approach to visual culture can help us use the text to understand the conditions of society, not vice versa," says Howells (2003).
In this research, the news photos of the African section of the Press TV website are taken into account. In the sampling process it should be noted that although targeted sampling is the general and predominant form of qualitative research, the sampling is very diverse. This diversity is due to the fact that each sample in the qualitative sampling is methodologically proportional to a specific qualitative method and to a particular subject (Mohammadpour, 2014: 235). In this study, in the first step, all photographs of this section have been extracted from the first (04/12/2019) until the 21th of June 2017, which included 152 photos. In the second step, all the photos were analyzed using the method described above.
Analyzing photos in the African News section on Press TV Website shows that most of these photos (93 photos out of 152 photos) fall into a primary categorization of five key subjects: terrorism, poverty, war and violence, white myth and the inability to create democracy. These factors can be divided into two major theoretical categories that also have colonial functions. Features such as poverty, war and violence, inability to create democracy and terrorism make Africa as a colonial subject, a subject "inherently" weak and in need of care. Then comes the other half that defines itself using this dark eastern Other: a white myth and a savior.
If we consider the responsibility of postcolonial criticism to "interfere with and disrupt Western discourses of modernity" in this study, it has become clear that the production of continent of Africa’s images is subject to colonial, national, political geography and historical forces rather than to the media's determination to present news from a new perspective. As such, it should be noted that there is no 'innocent eye' (Gombrich, as quoted in Dumek et al., 2003). And what can make the media claim (to avoid contemporary epistemological and ontological stereotypes) true is the constant precision of media production, because subjective stereotypes, if not reproduced in verbal texts, can be revealed through images in other ways.