Taylor's FSLM Journals
The State and the Citizen: Application of Lakoff’s ‘Strict Father’ Mode to the Malaysian Political Arena

@ SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Online ISSN: 2672-7080

Lokasundari Vijaya Sankar


It is a researched fact that the print media has powerful influence over its readers. In Malaysia the mainstream newspapers are owned by those connected to the powerful political parties that form the government. In addition, the Printing Presses Act, 1984 acts as a deterrent to mainstream media from printing information generally perceived by the ruling administration as offensive, seditious or sensitive (Sedition Act, 1970), a threat to national security (Internal Security Act, 1960) or an official secret of national importance (Official Secrets Act, 1986) because licenses need to be renewed annually. This study shows how the ruling government is able to instil fear among its citizens through the print media by imposing obligations on citizens in a ‘Strict Father’ mode. The study looks at selected articles published in a mainstream daily, The Star, in relation to its reporting strategy of the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) issue from November 2007 to March 2008. A metaphorical analysis following the ideas outlined by Lakoff is made of the content of the articles studied.

Keywords: Discourse analysis, metaphor analysis, the state and the citizen