Taylor's FSLM Journals
Framing Analysis of a Conflict: War/Peace Journalism

@ SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Online ISSN: 2672-7080

Nicole Yang Lai Fong


The keris or kris is a Malay or Indonesian dagger. The wielding of keris was introduced at the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) Youth general assembly in 2005. Following that, during the UMNO Youth general assembly in 2006, some controversial statements were made by several delegates. After the 8 March 2008 political tsunami, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Malaysian People’s Movement Party (Gerakan) leaders blamed UMNO for their electoral debacle, in particular the insensitivity shown by UMNO leaders like Hishammuddin for his provocative keris wielding action at UMNO Youth general assemblies. Hishammuddin also admitted that his raising of the keris was among the causes of Barisan Nasional’s poor performance in the general election. He apologised to the non-Malays for raising fear of a symbol which was not his intention and to the Malays for not being able to uphold their symbol of heritage. Since the keris wielding incident and subsequent apology by Hishammuddin, many things have been said about the issues and ethnic relations in the mainstream media, online newspapers and blogs. Based on a content analysis of news items from Sin Chew Daily, the Chinese daily newspaper with the largest circulation in Malaysia, this study investigated the extent of coverage as well as the actualisation of war/peace journalism frames in Sin Chew Daily’s coverage of the keris wielding incident in 2007 and subsequent apology by Hishammuddin in 2008. The theoretical framework was built on war/peace journalism and framing theories. It was found that both the keris wielding incident and the subsequent apology were not given much publicity by Sin Chew Daily, and therefore might not be viewed as important in the eyes of its readers. The dominant frame used in the coverage of keris wielding was war journalism; however the dominant frame used in the coverage of the subsequent apology was shared equally by war journalism and neutral frame.

Keywords: Conflict reporting, framing theory, war/peace journalism