*Yang Lai Fong & Leong Wai Kit
The last few years have seen a number of religious and ethnic tensions in Malaysia, which continue to impact the lives of Malaysians from all walks of life. Furthermore, religion, ethnicity and related issues have always been a difficult area for reporting in multicultural societies. Framing analysis allows researchers to examine the roles of the media in the development of social and political issues. Framing also reflects a conflict between dominant social norms and efforts for change. This study examined what aspects the mainstream and alternative newspapers have created for readers’ understanding of the Cow-Head protest, an inter-religious conflict that took place in Shah Alam, Selangor on August 28, 2009. The findings indicated that the newspapers reported the dispute with different intensity and prominence. It was found that although conflict appeared to be the most salient frame found across the dailies, the aspects highlighted by them varied. The dissimilar coverage of the same issue by the newspapers denoted the varied points of view held by them, which were rooted in different political beliefs and institutional practices.
Keywords: framing, inter-religious conflict, interethnic conflict, interethnic relations, “cow-head” protest