In recent decades, more and more countries have become involved in violent conflicts with non-state actors (NSAs), such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS. One of the main reasons why democratic states find it difficult to achieve victory in such asymmetrical conflicts is the tendency of NSAs to work within civilian populations; when democratic states try to fight the NSAs, they lose in the media battle, which tends to focus on civilian casualties. Photos of dead civilians and destruction lead to increasing criticism of the democratic state. As can be expected, state representatives try to restore their state’s media image. The article integrates theories and models from crisis communication and image repair to suggest a new model that examines media strategies used by state representatives during asymmetrical conflicts. The case study is based mainly on qualitative content analysis backed up by quantitative analysis of interviews given by Israeli representatives to the non-Israeli English media during the Gaza conflict in the summer of 2014. According to the model, a state’s representatives can use three kinds of strategies to repair their country image: source, message, and audience. The model can be used to analyze the image repair efforts of democratic countries during asymmetrical conflicts.
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© 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science