Protests with a twist – what does an apology actually mean?

January 20, 2016

Pro-Kurdish protests took place in central London this Monday, not far from Number 10 Downing Street. They were triggered by the official visit of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, but the reason for the protest was the Turkish offensive in the Kurdish areas of the country, launched after the government ended its ceasefire with the PPK last summer. Unlike yesterday’s protesters, neither the US nor the EU seem keen on upsetting Ankara more than necessary, given the current situation and ongoing refugee crisis.
Of the seven global media broadcasters studied in the Screening Protest project, only Russia Today (RT) reported Monday’s protest. While it was neither mass nor particularly important, the fact that RT covered the protest and the others did not is the sort of difference our research pays attention to. We are interested in whether there are significant differences between global news broadcasters, not just when it comes to how protests are reported, but also which ones are represented in newscasts and which go unreported. Comparative research makes this possible. Ultimately the task is to think about what such differences mean, and how they might matter.
The twist in this case is that, perhaps surprisingly, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency also covered the protests (along with other Turkish media). RT picked up on the fact that Anadolu Agency reported a UK official had (unofficially) apologized for the protests, and carried a story about the apology on its website yesterday. Although it is not something our research can establish (as we study texts rather than interview journalists), it is interesting to reflect on the possible motives behind these reports. What does an apology mean in this context?

Rikard Jahge

Cite This:
Screening Protest — "Protests with a twist – what does an apology actually mean?," in The Screening Protest Project, January 20, 2016