UUM Electronic Theses and Dissertation
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Media construction and contested identity: analysing homosexuality in Malaysian newspapers

Syamsul Zahri, Subir (2019) Media construction and contested identity: analysing homosexuality in Malaysian newspapers. Doctoral thesis, Universiti Utara Malaysia.

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Homosexuality is a complex issue in Malaysia, owing to its identity as a conservative nation with a Malay-Muslim majority. Here, homosexuality is not only unrecognized but also negatively viewed by society. It is unsurprising that the homosexuality issue is not widely covered in the news media in Malaysia. However, recent changes in global politics and communication technology require researchers to evaluate the current literature. Furthermore, the number of researches, particularly homosexuality coverage in the Malaysian media remains insignificant. This research had two objectives: to understand the approach of newspapers utilized in constructing homosexuality coverage and to explore the homosexuals community thoughts of the coverage and their lifestyles. The researcher utilized the social construction theory as a method to guide the methodology and to discuss the findings. The research objectives were achieved in two stages. The first stage was to collect and analyze the textual data from the Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian newspapers, covering the period from 1998 to 2012. During this period, 463 coverage on homosexuality were produced. The findings were invaluable in the second part of the research, to gain insights from 10 Malay homosexual respondents. Overall, the findings from the newspapers show that homosexuality is highly negativized. A much deeper analysis tells that homosexuality issues are dominated by local sociopolitical perspectives. This is evident in the use of news sources that tend to favor individuals who are closely connected to the political elites. The negative depiction of homosexuals is understood as part of an effort to maintain their established status quo. Other sources were from the religious elites who form part of the sociocultural power structure. Sources from the domain of law and order consequently frame the practice of homosexuality as detrimental to peaceful existence in the public sphere. Confronted with these findings, the respondents from interview study showed themselves to be highly aware of the support of the sociopolitical and sociocultural elites on homosexuality as political and cultural capitals. The respondents believed that homosexuality issues should be separated from politicians and their interests. This opinion is not without its merits, and in conclusion this research proposes that the news media in Malaysia should re-evaluate their agenda with respect to the community.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Supervisor : Adrian, M. Budiman and Abdul Halim, Rohizah
Item ID: 9277
Uncontrolled Keywords: Homosexuality, Malaysia, Newspaper, Social Constructionism, News Media.
Subjects: K Law > KJ-KKZ Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica > KPG1-6999 Malaysia
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Awang Had Salleh Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2022 02:56
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2022 02:56
Department: Awang Had Salleh Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Name: Adrian, M. Budiman and Abdul Halim, Rohizah
URI: https://etd.uum.edu.my/id/eprint/9277

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