Reported the campaign is foregrounded. I use the term

Reported speech is a primary means
by which journalists report news in media. Its utilization in media discourse
becomes inherently intertextual as it naturally evokes earlier texts and
recontextualizes them into new contexts (Fairclough, 1992; Sclafani, 2008;
Smirnova, 2009). My study illustrates how the state-run newspaper utilizes
reported speech in a way that appears to frame the women activists as a
colliding threat and the negative-other
(Tahir, 2013) and the driving campaign as a political uprising that becomes
hazardous to the state law. Particularly, my analysis shows how the use of
reported speech in the state-run newspaper reiteration of the spokesman’s words
concerning women evokes his earlier statements about terrorism and threats to
national security. This drastically differs from the independent newspaper’s
reporting style, where the social aspect of the campaign is foregrounded. 

            I
use the term ‘reported speech’ to describe instances where the articles and
headlines in the data report or quote something another person have said. This
kind of reporting is not viewed as verbatim; it involves a process of
recontextualization where the meaning gets reshaped. This is the essential
notion behind Tannen’s (1989) ‘constructed dialogue,’ where the term highlights
the process of formation of dialogue by the speaker in the new context. Tannen
states that the term ‘reported speech’ can be misleading because it falsely
suggests that the reported unit is verbatim or almost verbatim. Instead, she
argues that ‘reported speech’ is “not reported at all but creatively constructed by a current speaker in a current situation”
(105) (emphasis mine). She refers to ‘reported speech’ as ‘constructed
dialogue’ to highlight that in recontextualizing the words of another person or
of ourselves (even if verbatim), the speaker/writer alters the meaning in some
way and constructs new meanings in the new context.

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            I
fully share Tannen’s notion that reporting prior speech is never a simple
duplication of words, the speaker’s process of reporting changes the original
utterance, whether aware of it or not. I will, however, use of the term
‘reported speech’ in my analysis because it allows me to make the distinction
between direct and indirect reported speech devices, and because it seems more
fit to describe the written journalistic style of reporting news.

The
remaining of this section focuses on studies that examined reported speech in
media discourse within a theoretical framework of intertextuality. Smirnova
(2009) examines the use of reported speech in four national British newspapers,
and compares their use of reported speech based on the dialogue theory by
Bakhtin (1981). His study emphasizes the “dialogic non-autonymous”
understanding of quotations (80). The non-autonymous approach involves “the
assumption that relations between the quotation and its context are that of
dialogue and evaluation” (81), which resonates with Tannen’s notion of
‘constructed dialogue.’ According to Smirnova, citing Bakhtin’s theories of
dialogism and polyglossia, “reported speech is one of the means of
intertextuality creation” (81). The author highlights the use of reported
speech as an argumentative tool, where certain sources are cited to reinforce
the article’s argument. He found that the use of reported speech contributes to
how the British newspapers frame the argument discussed, which ultimately aims
to manipulate the public opinion.

Smirnova
shows how syntactic and semantic aspects of reported speech contribute to their
argumentative function by proposing two divisions at the level of structure of
reported speech, namely literal and liberal ones. Literal structures aim at a more faithful reproduction of the
utterance, and they integrate the quoted segment as a segment belonging to
someone else, typically using quotation marks. Liberal structures, on the other hand, involve more freedom of
reproduction of the reported segments, and predominantly takes the form of
indirect speech, liberal direct speech (without the use of quotation marks),
and topical reported speech (Smirnova, 2009: 82). Liberal structures present
the viewpoint of the author, the journalist in this case, which results in
multiple alterations of the initial segment. 
My analysis of reported speech devices used in Saudi media reveals
similar patterns and implications to those found in the study.

 The use of reported speech in newspaper
discourse is also discussed in Sclafani (2008). She examined language
ideologies in the New York Times
coverage of the Oakland School Board controversy concerning Ebonics. She found
that the newspaper foregrounds certain voices while suppressing others through
the use of reported speech. Direct reported speech was used to distance the
author from the opinions expressed in the quote while maintaining journalistic
objectivity towards these opinions. Indirect reported speech, on the other
hand, was used to “internalize” the quoted segment and blend the voice of the
author with the external authority. Similar instances of the use of indirect
reported speech is found in my data, where the state-run newspaper internalizes
the voice of the spokesman through indirect reported speech, which consequently
suggests the newspaper’s endorsement of the reported segments.

Along
the lines of Sclafani’s study, my analysis aims to examine how certain voices
of authority are foregrounded while others are suppressed, and how reported
speech plays into this ‘re-voicing’ dynamic. Like Sclafani, my study will take
an overarching Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) approach. Such approach allows
for a comprehensive analysis of complex social phenomena by drawing upon
specific linguistic resources along contextual social examination. Most
importantly, it accounts for language use as a “social practice” and considers
discourse as “socially consequential” that “gives rise to important issues of
power.” (Fairclough and Wodak, 1997: 258). The aim of CDA is to explore the
manifestation of power and ideology in language and to “shed light on the
discursive aspects of societal disparities and inequalities.” (Wodak and Meyer,
2009: 32). This approach is conducive considering the hierarchical power
relations in an absolute monarchy like Saudi Arabia, where power relations
dominate men and women, as well as the state and the media.

Integrating
reported speech within the notion of intertextuality in socio-political and
media discourse studies is influenced by the premise that the functional
properties of reported speech depend on the primary role of persuasion
(Smirnova, 2009: 80). Media discourse derives its content primarily from
previous discourse, spoken or written, and strategically orients it towards its
target audience. As Gordon, Prince, Benkendorf & Hamilton (2002) state:
“constructed dialogue can potentially be persuasive, shaping expectations and
attitudes” (259).  In their study of
prenatal genetic counselor’s utilization of constructed dialogue, they found
patterns in the form and content of constructed dialogue, where it functions to
serve the clients’ positive face, provides evidence, and maintain value
neutrality. The use of constructed dialogue generally achieve solidarity and
builds rapport between the counselor and the patient. This type of
functionality is evidenced in my data, where the independent newspaper cites
women activists in a way that appear to normalize the social issue and bring in
voices from the other side of the debate. As will be evidence in my analysis,
creating involvement, while persuading the reader with the news story, becomes
one of the major objectives of public media. 

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