Crystallizing the Official Narrative: News Discourses About the Killings from the Philippine Government’s Campaign Against Illegal Drugs
ASOG WORKING PAPER 19-001
35 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 7, 2019
The aim of this study is to show the media’s role in shaping, crystallizing and legitimizing a statedriven discourse of fear of illegal drug use, crime, and dehumanization of drug users. Drawing from a discourse analysis of news reports about the killings connected to the Philippine government’s campaign against illegal drugs, the paper argues that privileging a single source (state authority) and taking an “event-focused” slant which were found to dominate the character of the reports, unwittingly give the state narrative control leading to the justification of a state-led policy of zero-tolerance policing towards illegal drugs. As we critically examine how drugs, drug use, and the zero-tolerance policy are positioned through discourse in news texts, the paper raises important implications to the ethics and role of journalism in politics and provides explanations relating to crime reporting norms, values, and media organization realities.
Keywords: crime reporting, authorial neutrality, news source, anti-drug campaign, critical discourse analysis
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