Taylor's FSLM Journals
Media Coverage: The Bukit Antarabangsa Landslide

@ SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Online ISSN: 2672-7080

*Prasana Rosaline Fernandez, Lean Mei Li & Khor Yoke Lim


In the intersection between communication and crisis, the mass media play a significant role in influencing not only public definition and interpretation of the situation but also evaluation of responses from relevant agencies, decision makers and those affected. The media is not dominated by one actor but represented by multiple actors and discourses, each negotiating to ensure that their views predominate and are able to influence people’s interpretation and understanding. This paper, based on critical discourse analysis, will examine a Malaysian newspaper’s coverage of a landslide in an upper middle class housing area in Kuala Lumpur. The ‘Bukit Antarabangsa tragedy’ which occurred on 6 December 2008 killed 5 persons and led to the evacuation of thousands of families. The paper will investigate how discourse representation was carried out, examining which voices were privileged or systematically excluded and how voices were recontextualised and how they were framed in relation to each other and in relation to the writer’s voice. The analysis highlights the structures of reporting of the various dominant actors, namely, the ruling central government, the opposition state government, the previous state government aligned to the ruling dominant party, victims of previous landslide, current landslide victims and landslide experts, to legitimise or challenge specific responses, actions and decisions.

Keywords: Media, communication, crisis, critical discourse analysis, recontextualised