Framing of Good vs Bad Image in Pakistani English Newspapers

Framing of Good vs Bad Image in Pakistani English Newspapers: A Critical Discourse Analysis.

Awais Rubbani
(awaisrubbani786@gmail.com)
Department of English, Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan

Abstract
Framing plays an important role for the construction of social reality. It helps journalists for the image making in the mind of the reader. Inqilab March and Azadi march gained much importance in Pakistani political phenomena during the months of August to October. Pakistani English newspapers represented the Inqilab March for their potential readers. They constructed good vs bad image of political actors of these movements. The present study was conducted to investigate framing of good vs bad image of Dr. Tahir-ulQadri in Pakistani English newspapers as a case study. As the newspapers played a significant role in the opinion making of readers’ mind, it was highly valuable to analyze their role for the representation of the Inqilab March. A mixed method approach was employed in the current study. A special corpus was made from the articles of Pakistani English newspapers.

The quantitative data were analyzed with the help ofAntconc 3.2.4 software and qualitative analysis was made through Van Dijk’s (1998) “Socio Cognitive Model” at micro and macro level for functional interpretation of the findings. It was found that the newspaper columnists used various linguistic devices to frame the image of ‘Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’ according to their own objectives. They used specific adjectives and nouns as well as positive and negative connotations to frame the image of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri. The present research is an attempt to explore linguistic manipulation of discursive practices of Pakistani English newspapers for the framing of high profiled personalities of Pakistan.

Keywords: Framing, Discourse, Inqilab March, Antconc, Socio Cognitive Model

1 Introduction

Framing is a linguistic device which is used to influence the mind of the reader for reshaping the ideas and beliefs. Van Dijk (1998) argues that media framing is the process where an issue is portrayed in press media. Media frames assigns boundaries around a news story and it has a full control what is important and what is not interesting in the news story. The newspapers columnists employ media frames to decide what to include in a story and what to leave out. In other words, Media framing is such a process that can be conscious or unconscious or even a culture-bound.

A media frame is used to draw a reader’s attention about the specific parts of a journalist’s news story, to de-emphasize other parts, and to leave out some facts completely. The purpose of current study was to investigate framing of ‘Good vs Bad’ image of political leaders in Pakistani English Newspapers. It was an attempt to show how the newspapers columnists used linguistics devices to frame “Good vs Bad” image. Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Inqilab March was of great importance in the political affairs of Pakistan. The newspapers’ columnists represented Inqilab March according to their own objectives. They tried to frame the image of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri negatively and positively. It was therefore, a need to investigate how the newspapers frame the reader’s opinion through various linguistic choices. The objectives of the current research were to find the language manipulation through framing and to investigate the depiction of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri in the articles of Pakistani English Newspapers.

 To analyze
linguistic manipulation of the newspaper discourse, following research questions were posed:
How was the language manipulated to frame good vs bad image in articles of Pakistani
English newspapers?
2. How was reality constructed about Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri in articles of Pakistani English
newspapers.

Literature Review


Frames are intellectual concepts that are used to construct the social meanings. They are used to influence the audience. Entman (1998) points out that they are such intellectual shortcuts that reshape the reader’s point of view about complex information. Frames also help us to describe an event according to our own point of view. They facilitate us for organizing complex phenomena in understandable way. It is a quality of communication. It forces others to accept one’s meanings. It is such a procedure where a communication can easily be defined to other for the construction of social reality. Van Dijk (1998) advocates that frames provide a comprehensive understanding of a situation. It focuses on only those social issues where an individual person shows his interest about these issues. Frames are therefore interpretive devices that people use it for their own purposes. They are making sense of the world which is around them. Journalists use frame to construct reality and reshape the reader’s ideology about a particular issue.

Scott (2006) remarked that frame is used as a picture to create a broader meaning of a painting or a photograph. This is a process that emphasizes on the certain features of the issue by cropping or downplaying less prominent features allows the most important information which can be filtered after examining. However, everybody understands an issue in his own angle. Through framing we can filter essential information. Framing is not a bad thing at all. It cannot be separated from human life or human communication. Normally, we find it in media where events are presented in the field of meaning especially in politics as a politician. Van Dijk (1998) noted that the politicians use framing for getting their own benefits. They put an issue before the people and interpret it according to their own objectives. They try to reshape the reader’s ideology with the help of framing. According to Kirk (1999), “framing is a potentially useful paradigm for examining the strategic creation of public relations messages and audience response”. Public relations can also be examined from a variety of frameworks including systems, critical and rhetorical perspectives. The rhetorical method focuses on how public relations are engaged in the construction of messages and meanings.


Media framing is such a procedure where an issue is portrayed in the news media. Entman (2004) claims that media frames assign limitations around a news story. In media framing, it is determined what to include or what to exclude in the news. Journalists depends on media frames. Through framing, they decide what to include in a story and what to leave out. A media framing is used to draw reader’s attention about the specific parts of the news story. Scott (2006) investigated that the news media generally use two main frames: “episodic and thematic”. The episodic news frame is the predominant frame on television newscasts that depicts public issues in terms of concrete instances. Episodic news frames focus on discrete events that involve individual’s location at specific places and at specific times (e.g., nightly crime reports). Episodic news frames are used about 80 percent of the time in newscasts. Thematic news frames, used about 20 percent of the time, are news frames that place public issues in a broader context by focusing on general conditions or outcomes.


We can distinguish framing from other communication by its diachronic nature and its cultural resonance. To gain current success, frames must call to mind in corresponding the elements of schemas that were stored in the past. Fiske and Taylor (1991) define schemas as ‘cognitive structures that represent knowledge about a concept or type of stimulus, including its attributes and the relations among attributes’. Schemas fit new perceptions to an existing organization of knowledge. People’s prior knowledge, stored as schemas, allows them to make sense of new information by deciding (consciously or not). How the new material fits into their understandings and feelings about the world. On this basis they form an interpretation and attitude regarding that new information.


Since power is the ability to get others to act as one wants, Nagel (1975) claimed that democracy requires framing of telling people ‘what to think about’ in order to influence the attitudes that shape their behavior. By connecting framing to bias, we distinguish the latter from slant. Most of the critics target what they label as bias but more appropriately might be considered slant. Slant occurs when a news report emphasizes one side’s preferred frame in a political conflict while ignoring or derogating another’s side. One-sided framing emphasizes some elements and suppresses in other ways. That encourage recipients to give attention and weight to the evaluative attributes that privilege the favored side’s interpretation. This is the essence of slanted news. Slanted framing is also the primary mechanism through which interpersonal communication influences political power, in conversations, speeches, and negotiations. Altschul (1984) pointed out that mass media supports those sources which give financial aid to it. These sources try to reshape the reader’s ideology about any issue. Shoemaker (1987) acknowledged the centrality of Altschull’s notion. She studied a few hypothesis of empirical ideology and claimed that ideology is widely observed phenomena. According to her, ideology is a collective approach of a community, it is not an individual property or not an individual belief. That is why, there are some aspects of ideology in the news room of the organization.


Ideology has deep effects on different organizations. There are many people who read the newspaper for sake of pleasure. Therefore, many things are remained unnoticed before their eyes. Shoemaker (1987) identified the news contents on five different variables like; media routine, journalists’ attitudes, social reality, social influence and ideological positions. She claimed that all five kinds of variables have a deep effect on the quality of news contents. It is important to note that news contents are quite different from the aspect of social reality which is presented by other sources of information. Ideology is taken granted by the dominant people of the society. In other words, it can be said that it is a property of an organization, community, class and the society. The dominant people of the society have full control on the newspapers to reshape the reader’s ideology. News reports are constructed in such a way that influence the reader.

The issue of ideology has been defined by many schools of thought. It has deep relations with Marxism. Bloor (2007) acknowledged that we have set our ideology according to our own set of belief. He also claimed that people have different ideologies. Van Dijk’s (1998) also believed that people have different ideologies according to their own beliefs. According to him, “Educationists, religious and political leaders use influential and persuasive language to reshape the ideology of the people in the society”. Marie (2007) also discussed about language of the newspaper and manipulation in “An analysis of how attitudes are displayed in News Reporting”. She claimed that language is a mode of communication, a mean of presenting and reshaping the series of beliefs. Language is not something separate from the ideas it contains. Newspapers are dependent on the favour of their readers and are thus forced to make every possible effort towards catch their interests.


Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a type of discourse analytical research that primarily studies the way social power abuse, dominance, and inequality are enacted, reproduced, and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context. In such type of research, critical discourse analysts take explicit position, and thus want to understand, expose, and ultimately resist social inequality. According to Van Dijk (1998), critical research on discourse needs to satisfy a number of requirements in order to effectively realize its aims. In socio cognitive model, he focused on “power,” “dominance,” “hegemony,” “ideology,” “class,” “gender,” “race,” “discrimination,” “interests,” “reproduction,” “institutions,” “social structure,” and “social order,”. Van Dijk (1998) mentioned that language use, discourse, verbal interaction, and communication belong to the micro level of the social order. Power, dominance, and inequality between social groups are typically terms that belong to a macro level of analysis.

In everyday communication and experience the macro and micro level (and intermediary “meso levels”) form one unified whole. For example, a racist speech in parliament is a discourse at the micro level of social interaction in the specific situation of a debate, but at the same time may enact or be a constituent part of legislation or the reproduction of racism at the macro level. Van Dijk (1998) also paved the way to understand the different types of controls through discourse, like: “Power as Control”, “Control of a public discourse” and “Mind Control”. A number of researches have been conducted on Critical Discourse Analysis. Shojai (2013) argued in his research on “A CDA Approach to the Biased Interpretation and Representation of Ideologically Conflicting Ideas in Western Printed Media”. He claimed that journalists play an important role in representing and interpreting the news stories.

He used Van Dijk’s (1998) socio-cognitive approach and Fairclough’s (1995) approach of intertextual analysis of news discourse. He examined that how ideologically conflicting ideas are interpreted and represented in western printed media. He also noticed that how newspapers columnists used linguistic tools for misinterpreting the news stories. Bob (2012) also enlightened the issue ideology, interaction and identity with CDA prespective. He pointed out this phenomenan in his study about “Ideology, Identity, Interaction: Contradictions and Challenges for Critical Discourse Analysis”. In his article, he emphisized the importance of CDA and suggested that study of ‘Critical Discourse Analysis” is very helpful to understand hidden identity and ideology of the people. He also remarked that CDA facilitates people to understand the subjective approach. He discussed each and every espect of ideology, identity and interaction.

He also used CDA toolkit for indepth analysis of ideology, identity and interaction. Perez (2013) also talked about discourses and frame in his research paper, “Peace Journalism Case Study: US Media Coverage of the War in Iraq”. According to him, “discourses and frames are mental instruments by which we organize our thoughts, ideas and world views. Any new information is based on pre-existing frames or discourses which help us to make sense of the world. Generally, we use these mechanisms unconsciously, yet they critically colour the reality we see in the world. For media, especially in journalism, it is very important to bring our discourses and frames to the light of consciousness.

Post (2009) also examined the nature of political discourse. In his research about “Representations of Meaning with in Textual Personas: An Analysis of 2008 US Presidential Campaign Speeches”, he revealed that mental thought constructs our social structure. Representations of social actors and action are not only constructed through mental approach but also the power of choice. The choice of word indicated that how the production of words is used portray one’s reality over another. The choice of images is also used to reshape the reality. With the help of “Critical Discourse Analysis” he analyzed six campaign speeches of Barack Obama and John McCain from 2008 US election to address the different questions: how do Obama and McCain each use textual personas to frame ideological positions for representations of social actors and social actions? In this question, Obama is marked with contemporary case and McCain is marked with traditional case. Wenden (2005) identified the nature of political representation through “Critical Discourse Analysis” in his research paper about “The Politics of Representation: A Critical Discourse Analysis of An Aljazeera Special Report”. According to his view “linguistic study, including discourse analysis, critical discourse analysis is explicitly socio-political in purpose.” In order to understand the role of discourse in the reproduction of social inequality and ultimately, its success is measured by its effectiveness and relevance.

3. Methodology

In the present research, a mixed method approach was employed for data analysis. A special corpus of 200000 words was made and compiled through Antconc 3.2.4 software. The data were collected from the articles of Pakistani English newspapers for the period of three months (August, September, and October). The population of the current study was all the Pakistani English Newspapers. The sampling was made representative by selecting the articles of editorial pages of four Pakistani English Newspapers: “Dawn, The News, The Nation and The Daily Times”. The current research was delimited by gathering the data only from the articles of editorial pages of Pakistani English Newspapers for the period of three months from 1st August, 2014 to 31st October, 2014. Lexicalization is an important tool of Antconc, it was used to find negative and positive connotation of the data. Frequency of the key words determined which newspaper gave much importance to Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Inqilab March. Antconc has a linguistic concordance which was employed to find actual context of different words. Van Dijk’s (1998) “Socio Cognitive Model” was applied for the qualitative interpretations of the findings at micro and macro level. Relevant key words related to Inqilab March were interpreted at micro level and related sentences of Inqilab March were interpreted at Macro level. Semantic macro structure was employed at macro level and local meanings were employed at micro level.

4.Discussion

The objectives of the present research were to find the language manipulation through framing and to investigate the depiction of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri in the articles of Pakistani English Newspapers. To materialize these objectives, a special corpus was made from the online opinion pages of Pakistani English Newspapers. With the help of Antconc 3.2.4, certain keywords like; Canadian, Container, Democracy, Dharna, Inqilab March, Model Town, Qadri, Religion and State were critically examined. After analysis, it was found that the total frequency of the word ‘Qadri’ was 851, Dharna 107, Politics 298, Democracy 487, Inqilab March 34, State 352, Canadian 19, Model Town 134, Religion 30 and State 41. Their negative and positive connotations were interpreted with the help of Van Dijk’s (1998) Socio Cognitive model. The keyword “Canadian” is very significant in the construction of reality about Dr. Tahirul-Qadri. Preacher is very significant to reform the society religiously and morally. But Dr. Tahirul-Qadri has been depicted as a ‘Canadian Preacher’ to target his religious identity.

This specific choice of word at micro level had been used negatively by the newspaper columnist to frame the orientation of the reader about Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri (Van Dijk, 1998). The word ‘Canadian Citizen’ plays a significant role for the construction of social reality about Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri. Because Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri has a dual nationality of Pakistan as well as Canada. At micro level, the opinion makers directly targeted the nationality of Qadri by attaching the label of ‘Canadian Citizen’. In the light of Van Dijk’s (1998) model, such lexical choices were purposefully used by the journalist to make or orientation of the reader. Similarly, the phrase ‘climate controlled container’ had a negative connotation for reshaping the reader’s ideology about Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’ at micro. Container is usually used for carrying goods as a mode of transportation. But the container which was used for Inqilab March by Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, was quite different. According to Van Dijk (1998), such linguistics choices were used to reshape the reader’s ideology about particular phenomena.There were many keywords which had positive and negative connotations about Dr. Tahir Qadri’s Inqilab March.

Democracy was one of them. At micro level, typical phrase such as ‘Strengthening of Democracy’ was used by the newspaper columnists as positive meaning. Inqilab March and Azadi March showed a great effort to strengthen the democracy of Pakistan. Likewise, ‘real democracy, genuine democracy and true democracy’ were also positively used in the editorial pages. This is the right of people to demand their rights and criticize the government openly (Van Dijk, 1998). The word, ‘democracy’ had also negative connotations about Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Inqilab March. Specific keywords like; crush democracy, damage democracy, derail democracy, hurt democracy, disrupt democracy, establishment vs democracy, mobocracy vs democracy and subvert democracy were negatively used by the newspaper opinion makers at micro level. Similarly, “there is no real democracy in Pakistan” had been negatively used at macro level. According to Van Dijk (1998), “particular linguistics choices are used to frame the image of any person about a particular phenomenon”.

Similarly, the word ‘Dharna’ played an important role in Pakistani Politics. Dharna means to sit in front of the government and to demand legitimate rights which have been snubbed by the government. At micro level, specifics words like; ‘Dharna coverage, Dharna episode and Dharna Concert’ had been negatively used to minimize the importance of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Inqilab March. Van Dijk (1998) argued that particular linguistic choices are used to portray image of anybody about a particular movement. Typical linguistic choices like, ‘funded Inqilab March’ and ‘Paid Inqilab March’ were negatively used to target Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Inqilab March campaign. The newspaper opinion makers tried to give the impression to the reader that Qadri’s Inqilab March was a funded March. According to Van Dijk’s (1998) local meanings analysis, certain words choices are used to control the reader mind about specific phenomena. At micro level, specific phrase like; ‘Inqilab March deaths due to hunger and floods’ had been negatively used about Qadri’s Inqilab March. They tried to hit Qadri’s moto to destabilize the government. Such type of phrases play an important to reshape the reader’s ideology (Van Dijk, 1998).


Typical word choices like; ‘Model Tragedy, Dead bodies in Model Town, Bloodshed in Model’ were negatively used at micro level about Inqilab March. Tragedy means something which is quite unpleasant. According to Van Dijk (1998), ‘specific lexical items help the journalist to interpret an incident in an unpleasant way’. Specific binary supposition words like; ‘War between Raiwind and Model Town’ were negatively used by the newspaper columnists about Dr. Tahir-ulQadri’s Inqilab March. According to Van Dijk’s (1998) binary supposition, ‘War between Raiwind and Model Town’ indicated that both PML (N) and PAT tried overcome to each other. A micro level, different words like, ‘dirty politics, poor politics, ‘heavy dose of politics’, ‘violent politics’ and ‘localized politics’ had been negatively used about Qadri’s Inqilab March. The newspapers columnists associated these certain lexical items with Qadri to frame Qadri’s image as negative. Specific lexical items help the journalist to reshape reader’s knowledge of particular phenomena (Van Dijk, 1998).


Typical linguistic choices such as; ‘Qadri as a cartoon, blockade Qadri, dismiss Qadri, denounced Qadri and Joker Qadri’ had been negatively used by the newspaper columnists at micro level. They targeted Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s personality by abusing him an indirect way. Van Dijk (1998) argued that journalists use myths and satire to target the personality of a specific person. Specific context based sentence like; ‘Eid prayer behind Qadri was invalid’ and ‘Qadri is the Barelvi horde commander’, had been negatively used at macro to represent Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Inqilab March. They directly targeted Qadri’s religious identity. Similarly, ‘Qadri’s sit-in leaves Imran Khan political orphan’ was negatively used by the newspaper columnists at macro level to demoralize Qadri’s politics. They tried to blame Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri that he left Imran Khan as a political orphan. According to Van Dijk’s (1998), certain lexical choices are used to portray the image of somebody in the mind of the reader.


On the other hand, different context based sentences such as; ‘Mix of religion in politics and divesting religion and exploitation through religion’ had been purposefully used for the representation of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Inqilab March. They targeted Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s religious identity and tried to defame him religiously. By using specific linguistic choices, they blamed Dr. Qadri that he has mixed religion with politics. This specific choice of word at micro level had been used negatively by the newspaper columnist to frame the orientation of the reader about Dr. Tahirul-Qadri (Van Dijk, 1998). State had also negative connotations. Specific word like, ‘state polorisation, long term bitterness with the state, internal enemy of the state and economic crises of the state’ had been negatively used by the newspaper columnists at micro level. They targeted Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri campaign to defame him by giving an impression to the reader that Qadri’s Inqilab March was harmful for the state both economically as well as socially. In the light of Van Dijk’s (1998), “journalists use certain linguistic choices to give negative impression to the reader about the particular phenomena.

Conclusion

The current research was an attempt about the ‘Framing of Good vs Bad image of Dr. Tahir-ulQadri in Pakistani English Newspapers’. A special-corpora was made from the online opinion pages of Pakistani English Newspapers. The findings were interpreted through Van Dijk’s socio cognitive model (1998). The newspaper columnists used specific lexical choices to frame positive and negative image of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri. The frequency of keywords such as; ‘Qadri, Dharna, Inqilab March, Model Town, Democracy, Canadian, Politics, Religion, Container and State’ played an important role in this study. The study also revealed that the newspaper columnists were much aggressive about Qadri’s Inqilab March. They used specific linguistics choices to frame negative image of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri religiously, politically, nationally and personally. With the help of certain linguistic choices, they tried to make reader’s ideology about this specific phenomenon. Positive and negative connotations of specific words indicated that the newspaper columnists had very subjective approach about Qadri’s Inqilab March. They clearly knew what to include or what to exclude in the newspaper columns. The study also exposed that the newspaper columnists used more negative connotations than positive connotations to frame the image of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Inqilab March. The current research will be quite significant for the future researcher understand the newspaper language for the depiction of political leaders. The study will also pave the way for the future research to conduct research in those similar areas related language and politics.

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