Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 9 : 10 October 2009
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Copyright © 2009
M. S. Thirumalai


The Representation of Homosexuality -
A Content Analysis in a Malaysian Newspaper

Ponmalar N Alagappar, MBA, Ph.D. Candidate
Karamjeet Kaur, M.A.


Homosexual activities in Malaysia have been around for a long time but it was not considered to be dangerous until it was highlighted by the local press (Ho, 1998). The media played a crucial role in communicating and popularizing homosexuality, which forced and provoked unparalleled discussion on sex and sexuality which are considered taboo subjects in this country (Tan, 1999).

In Malaysia, homosexuality is considered illegal and is punishable with long prison sentences of up to 20 years and canings. The establishment of People's Voluntary Anti-Homosexual Movement (PASRAH) an organization that has vowed to eradicate homosexuality by imposing severe penalties and closing down gay gathering places, has caused quite a stir. Homosexuality was suddenly branded as a "threat" to the society, forcing the society to openly discuss the issue of homosexuality.

This kind of sentiment reflects that there is an increasing amount of intolerance or resistance towards people whose sexuality preference is different from the rest of the society. Can the conservative Malaysian society be able to treat the homosexual equally based on the sexual orientation?

This paper examines how the Malaysian print media i.e., News Straits Times represents the issues of homosexuality and the stance of homosexuals in Malaysia. These representations, should tell us something about the representation of homosexuals as well as how the media construct the social reality of homosexuals/homophobia.

In order to determine this, the media's coverage on issues pertaining to homosexuality is explored through a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis of content as published in i.e., New Straits Times.

The findings indicate that the media relied heavily on experts' sources i.e., prominent politicians and religious leaders when it comes to expressing judgment. As such, there was a less favourable representation towards homosexuality - 74% of the news articles were framed in a negative way. Furthermore, the media by highlighting the seriousness of the issue informs its readers that homosexuality is not acceptable within Malaysian culture.

Key words: Homosexuality, Media, Malaysia, New Straits Times

1.0 Introduction

Many people tend to rely on the media especially the press on what is happening around them and to form public opinion on issues. The media reflects and reproduces the dominant ideology of their times - that is, the prevailing ways of looking at and making sense of the world. In other words, the media decides on what news should comprise, what is important or what the public should know (Sei-Hill Kim et al, 2002)

According to David & Pavlik (2003), an event is deemed important or worthy of discourse, if it merits a mention in the news media. The media achieves this by framing on event or events in such a manner that it will hold public interest. Majority of the individuals still rely on the newspaper as the primary resource of information (Feeley & Vincent, 2007).

This paper examines how the Malaysian print media i.e., New Straits Times represents the issues of homosexuality and the stance of homosexuals in Malaysia. These representations, tell us how the media construct the social reality of homosexuals and homophobia. The media agenda affects the public agenda, as stated by Tan (1999), the media had played a crucial role in communicating and foreground homosexuality, which forced and provoked unparalleled discussion on sex and sexuality which are considered taboo subjects in this country. The potential exists that the media could influence matters, control innovation because it remains the potent way of informing society on a mass scale about things (Gideon, 2003).

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Spelling Variations in Kannada | A Survey of the State of the Art in Punjabi Language Processing | The Representation of Homosexuality - A Content Analysis in a Malaysian Newspaper | Noun Reduplication in Tamil and Kannada | Journey of Self-discovery in Anita Nair's Ladies' Coupé | A Study of Communicability and Intelligibility of Advertisements in Tamil With Special Reference to Tooth Paste and Health Drink | Explicit Grammar Instruction | Teaching English as a Second Language Using Communicative Language Teaching - An Evaluation of Practice in India | Discovering Values in English Language Teaching | The Core Functions of the Hindi Modals - Speech Act Approach | Textbook Analysis of English for Engineers | Cross-Professional Collaboration on E-Learning Courses | Reading Arundhati Roy's Fiction The God of Small Things Through Her Non-Fiction | Teaching English through Indian Writing in English in Rural India | Proverbs in Modern Tamil and Telugu Societies | Using Problem Based Learning Technique in Teaching English Grammar | Problems in Reading Comprehension Skills among Secondary School Students in Yemen | The Literary Value of the Book of Isaiah | Will Sentences Have Divergence Upon Translation? : A Corpus-Evidence Based Solution for Example Based Approach | HOME PAGE of October 2009 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Ponmalar N Alagappar, MBA, Ph.D. Candidate
Section for Co-curricular Courses, External Faculty Electives & Titas (SKET)
University of Malaya
50603 Kuala Lumpur

Karamjeet Kaur, M.A.
Taylor's College
Sdn Bhd Level 3A, Block B3
Pusat Dagang Setia Jaya
No. 9, Jalan PJS 8/9
46150 Petaling Jaya

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