Från invasion till evakuering
En jämförande kvantitativ innehållsanalys av fyra svenska dagstidningars rapportering från den 20-åriga konflikten i Afghanistan
The purpose of this study was to examine how four major Swedish newspapers reported about the conflict in Afghanistan, that became relevant again following the evacuation of the country, which led to the Taliban takeover. The aim was to research how the newspapers wrote about Afghanistan in both 2001 and 2021 to see if there are any differences or
similarities between the newspapers in the reporting. The study also aimed to see if there are
any possible changes to the overall reporting that came with the higher involvement of Sweden in Afghanistan.
In the theoretical framework of this study three different kinds of theories were used to analyse the results. These were media logic, news evaluation and framing. The study used a quantitative content analysis to analyse articles from the four major Swedish newspapers. These newspapers were: Aftonbladet, Expressen, Svenska Dagbladet and Dagens Nyheter. The authors coded the articles that were produced over a fifteen-day-period of the conflict.
Seven days before the official date that Sweden left and seven days after. The reporting from 2001 was based on the results of Nord and Strömbäck´s study of Afghanistan from 2002.
In 2021 the newspapers produced a total of 238 articles about Afghanistan in 15 days. The total is lower than 2001´s when the newspapers produced 272. This shows that the news value was higher in 2001 as more articles per day was produced. The higher Swedish involvement in Afghanistan did not increase the news value of the conflict, despite the 2021 reporting having more articles with a Swedish perspective. The morning newspapers, Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet, wrote more articles about the conflict compared to the evening newspapers, Aftonbladet and Expressen. But the evening newspaper used more pictures in their reporting. What the results also showed was how the main topic of each reporting was influenced by the most impactful incidents at the time. In 2001 USA invaded Afghanistan and the newspaper´s main topic in the articles therefore became about war events. By contrast, the 2021 reporting main topic was about the evacuation of the country. Articles with this theme was about the potential threat of the Taliban to Afghanistan´s population and how Swedish citizens still left in the country would be evacuated. Elite sources were often referenced in both conflicts with politicians being the most frequent one. The study overall can be used an example of how war and other foreign conflicts is reported in the modern landscape of journalism and why it remains important to report on these conflicts.