Extremism or terrorism: Communicating Islamophobia on YouTube in the Norwegian attacks | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1751-9411
  • E-ISSN: 1751-942X



This article studies the social media reporting of the Norwegian attacks by Anders Breivik with specific focus on the user commentary of YouTube versions of the breaking story in four media organizations, namely CNN, BBC, NBC and PJTV. Within the context of Islamophobia, the article uses critical discourse analysis (CDA) to understand the thread of the reporting and user comments on the Norwegian attacks. It is important to combine the two theoretical approaches because Islamophobia, as discussed by Allen (2010), is rising in Europe, and the swift reaction of the media in attributing terror attacks to Muslims without scrutiny shows how crucial it is to situate the study within the Islamophobia paradigm, while CDA will help us to understand the Islamophobic themes that emerged in the reporting of the story, and how the user-generated comments can contribute to our understanding of the rise of Islamophobia in the West. The study found three key themes that dominated discussions among the users on YouTube: intolerance/violence/immigration associated with Muslims in Europe, conspiracy theories and counter or alternative views from the opinions expressed by some users. This article concludes by agreeing with the position of Freedman and Thussu (2012) that there is a need to address the way stories about Muslims are reported in the West, otherwise there could be serious consequences for society, including foreign policy mistakes that can be avoided.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): attack; extremist; Islamophobia; Norway; terrorist; YouTube
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