An Examination of the Media Portrayal of Femicide in Portugal

Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Silvia GOMES, University of Minho, Portugal
Sofia NEVES, University Institute of Maia, Portugal
Intimate violence in general and femicide in particular are serious problems worldwide. Media and feminist research have been focusing their analyses on the portrayal of victims and perpetrators and the type of frames used by news media to report intimate femicide. International research related to media coverage of domestic violence and intimate femicide points out a set of common results: (i) the use of victim blame discourses, (ii) the failing to place the responsibility of the crime in the perpetrator or making excuses for the abuser, (iii) public sources (i.e., law enforcement) as the most commonly cited sources of information in news coverage of femicide compared to private sources (i.e., friends and family), (iv) the examination of the frame in which the media reports on femicide are reported as crucial for the understanding of the cultural considerations beneath media discourses on femicide, explaining why subtle violent patriarchal considerations on the events are reported.

Considering language is not just a tool of description or a medium of communication, but a central and constitutive feature of social life, and knowing that media help shape society’s perception of social problems as well as public opinion of victims and offenders, we analyze media discourses to characterize intimate femicide in Portugal. With the analysis of femicide news, we aim to describe how national press exposes femicide cases, and understand what are the cultural considerations beneath media discourses on femicide, in order to reveal how public opinion is being (in)formed. To achieve these purposes, we will use critical discourse analysis in an empirical corpus consisting of news about femicide within romantic relationships, published between 2011 and 2014 (the last 4 years), in the most read national newspaper – Correio da Manhã.

In the end, we want to discuss ideologies, structures of power and social effects.