The unseen and the unsaid in the media coverage of international news. An illustration of the ‘spiral of silence’

Abstract

The “spiral of silence”, according to German sociologist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann’s phrase, refers to a reality that can be observed in social behaviors, and which also concerns media practices in general, particularly in the way they report international news. This is easily explained by some endogenous reasons. The increase of information, bound to the development of information and communication technologies, as well as the weight of international information agencies, results in an unavoidable selection in the news. But some exogenous reasons are also involved. Thus, the treatment of information becomes the result of a choice made by actors and advertisers with various interests, who take advantage of the weak interest of the media for international news as well of their own schedule.

AFRI 2008 Summary