The Falklands/Malvinas war taken to the Wikipedia realm: a multimodal discourse analysis of cross-lingual violations of the Neutral Point of View

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Wikipedia is a multilingual collaborative, user-generated encyclopaedia. As the largest source of free knowledge on the Internet, Wikipedia is at the crossroads of diverse cultural and national groups largely characterised by distinctive ideologies. Such ideologies often converge and have for the most part contributed to the encyclopaedia’s unprecedented success. Nonetheless, as several studies on Wikipedia have highlighted, the ideological stance of the authors is known to pose challenges to neutrality, often leading to “edit wars” that ultimately cast doubts on Wikipedia’s credibility when presenting seemingly controversial subjects. Despite the copious amount of literature on neutrality in Wikipedia, little research has yet applied multimodal discourse analysis to tackle cross-lingual violations of the Neutral Point of View (NPOV). Consequently, this study draws on selected visual and textual data from the English and Spanish Wikipedia entries for the Falklands/Malvinas War to prove that the inclusion of certain images and lexemes in particular contexts can be good indicators of NPOV violations. The data set used in the research consisted of the introductory sections, table of contents and images from the two Wikipedia entries and a set of selected comments posted on their talk pages. The findings suggest that specific lexical and visual choices are ideologically motivated and go against the principles advocated by NPOV. This is further attested by the fact that some lexical choices are contested by Wikipedia editors on the talk pages, thus showing that neutrality in the user-driven encyclopaedia is a relative and local position.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
Number of pages9
JournalPalgrave Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2020