The language of suffering: Media discourse and public attitudes towards the MH17 air tragedy in Malaysia and the UK

Ong, Theng and McKenzie, Robert (2019) The language of suffering: Media discourse and public attitudes towards the MH17 air tragedy in Malaysia and the UK. Discourse and Communication, 13 (5). pp. 562-580. ISSN 1750-4813

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/1750481319842455

Abstract

‘If it bleeds, it leads’, events characterised by fatalities, are likely to attract high levels of media coverage. This study adopts a multidisciplinary approach to investigate public discourses on the MH17 tragedy in Malaysia and the United Kingdom. First, corpus-based discourse analysis was employed to explore the construction of the Malaysian Airlines tragedy MH17 in four selected Malaysian and British newspapers. In addition, an attitudinal study examining 50 Malaysian and 50 UK nationals’ perceptions of the tragedy was conducted. Keywords analysis revealed an overall tendency for the news media to construct the air tragedy through classifications between ‘us’ and ‘others’. Specifically, important ‘Us’ (Malaysian elites) and non-important ‘Other’ (non-Malaysian) in the Malaysian newspapers, versus good ‘Us’ (the West) and evil ‘Others’ (Russia) in the British newspapers. The attitudinal analysis shows, for both the Malaysian and the UK respondents, the most salient associations with the MH17 tragedy related to ‘conflicts’.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Corpus linguistics, Discourse analysis, Language attitudes, keyword analysis, MH17, sociolinguistics, sociolinguistic awareness
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
P300 Media studies
Q100 Linguistics
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2019 16:41
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 12:50
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/38462

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