ISSN: 1550-7521

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Research Article Open Access

Different Political Beliefs and Different Frame Building for an Inter-religious Conflict: A Comparative Analysis of the Star and Malaysiakini

Abstract

On August 28, 2009, a day during the Ramadan month and just three days before the National Independence Day of Malaysia, some 50 residents from Section 23 in Shah Alam marched from the state mosque after their Friday prayers to the secretariat building with a severed cow’s head. Some of the protesters were also seen spitting and stepping on the cow’s head, while at the same time threatening to “shed blood”. The march was aimed to protest against a proposed relocation of a 150-year Hindu temple to Section 23 in Shah Alam, Selangor. The protesters claimed that it was not appropriate to build a Hindu temple in a Muslim-majority area. The cow is considered sacred by Hindus, and the protest has evoked condemnation from various quarters while even making international news. By employing framing as the theoretical framework and content analysis as the research method, this study examines what pictures mainstream and alternative newspapers have created for readers’ understanding of the Cow-Head protest. It was found that conflict was the most salient frame in both the mainstream and alternative newspapers. However, the aspects of conflict highlighted by them were different. The dissimilar coverage of the same issue by the newspapers denoted the varied points of view held by them, which were rooted in different political beliefs and institutional practices.

Yang Lai Fong* and Leong Wai Kit

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