Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
This research aims at examining the Vietnamese online media’s framing of conflict, thereby highlighting the outstanding characteristics of peace journalism and war journalism frames available in the media of an Asian peripheral country when it covers conflicts with other core, more powerful nations.
The study is inspired from an overarching hypothesis of a possible junction between peace journalism and public diplomacy as relevant theories have it that they are basically identical in one sense: both representing a form of message which carries the note of peace-rebuilding, solution-orientated and mutual understanding in the war context. That message is delivered through media to reach out the foreign publics, not only to gain benefits for national interests but also to point out a solution for peace and offer an opportunity to conflict-resolution talks.
The events chosen for study are media analysis following two attacks in late May and early June, 2011 against two Vietnamese oil exploration vessels in the South China Sea in which China was the accused.
Basing on the theories of peace journalism, public diplomacy and world system theory, the research hypothesized that Vietnamese online media’s framing of China throughout seven months May 1st to November 30th, 2011 is inclined towards peace journalism.
Two research techniques were employed: Quantitative Content Analysis to find out the dominant frame of the Vietnamese online media when covering the two clashes between Vietnamese and Chinese ships; and Qualitative Critical Discourse Analysis to further examine what messages the media aspire to send to foreign publics and how these messages are crafted.
Findings from the content analysis rejects the main hypothesis, showing that the Vietnamese online media still opted for the war journalism frame even though theoretical and empirical evidence confirms Vietnam’s soft, assuaging and non-provocative approach in its public diplomacy with China.
CDA results however highlighted the characteristics of the Vietnamese online media’s war frame: very tactful and implicit. The negative China presentation and positive self-presentation of Vietnam cannot be clearly seen through the use of victimizing, dehumanizing and emotionalizing language, but through implications and presuppositions hidden in the sentences. The implied messages that the Vietnamese online media want to send out the foreign publics portray China as a perverse bully neighbor and a two-faced partner, defying international law and breaking regional peace. Meanwhile, Vietnam is portrayed as a tolerant victim of China – its own friend and as a noble, forgiving friend of China. These messages are presented in the media by a very flexible, diplomatic and reconciliatory language so as to create an enemy scene with China.
The study confirms the value and applicability of the theories selected and findings from previous studies. It also inspires future studies on expanding public diplomacy and peace journalism theories to make it more applicable to media of similar state structure or those in Asia./.
2012. , 125 p.
Vietnam, public diplomacy, South China Sea, Vietnam, China, war journalism, peace journalism