Content Analysis of Egyptian Newspapers

Egypt’s transition from hopeful revolution to failed democracy was a dynamic, fast-paced process. From the ousting of the first democratically elected president to the return to military dictatorship, the rapid development of polarization in Egyptian political opinion suggests that elite actors—strategically deploying the media— attempted to push a political agenda that eventually led to the return of a military state. For this research, I want to explore whether the changes in power during the past four years of Egyptian turmoil affected the rate of government censorship in the print media. I argue that if the government maintains strict censorship, then both state-owned and independent newspapers should use the same language to describe political events. However, if independent newspapers truly had autonomy, we should expect greater variation in the language used. Thus, using the variation in language as a proxy measure for government censorship, I want to test to see if there was greater variation in newspaper language during transitional periods when presumably the government had less control over the media. I will be using a text analysis software program, LIWC, to run code that will allow me to observe the variation in language across sources during specific time frames.