Examining Arabic and English newspapers’ representation of the release of the only person convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing: A corpus-based critical discourse analysis

Ahmad Haider


This study combines two methodological strands, namely, Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Corpus Linguistics (CL) to identify some discursive practices relating to the representation of Megrahi, the only man convicted of involvement in the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. This is based on a 27-million word corpus of four newspapers; two published in English (The Guardian and The New York Times), and two in Arabic (Asharq Al-Awsat and Al-Khaleej) from 2009-2013. Van Dijk’s notions of manipulation and polarisation are employed to highlight some of the discursive strategies that the newspapers used to legitimize certain ideologies and delegitimize others. The analysis shows that the four newspapers appear to be different in their coverage of the event although the similarities in the Arabic newspapers were more than they are in their English counterparts. Such different perspectives may likely shape national and even global opinions on how to perceive certain ideologies.


Corpus Linguistics; Critical Discourse Analysis; Lockerbie bombing; newspapers; ideologies

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