Orientalism in online news: BBC stories of Somali piracy | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2040-199X
  • E-ISSN: 1751-7974



This article considers how news stories about piracy off the coast of Somalia reflect E. Said’s concept of Orientalism, that is, the West representing the Rest in ways beneficial to the West. Critical discourse analysis is applied to news stories from the international BBC news website to reveal strategies used to represent a non-western ‘other’ in need of control by a successful West. This legitimates the West’s military presence and actions whilst challenging BBC’s claims of objectivity. An historical account of both Somalia and piracy precede this analysis. The former illustrates how Somalia’s current ‘failed state’ status is in part due to foreign involvement while the latter describes how this status has produced conditions conducive to piracy. Actions by the West together with the BBC’s Orientalist perspective do little to relieve Somalia’s hardship, suffering and ending Somalia’s multiple problems.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): BBC; critical discourse analysis; Orientalism; pirates; Somalia; website
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