Heroes and Villains: a Discourse Analysis of Australian and Japanese Whaling Reports in Newspapers

Tets Kimura, Yvonne Egege

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Japan’s whaling in the Southern Ocean has been a contentious issue in Australia, typified by a systematic and widely supported anti-whaling campaign. This resistance came to a head on 15 January 2008 with the advent of two events; the boarding of a whaling ship by protestors, and the ruling of the Australian Federal Court that Japan’s whaling breached Australian Law. Our comparative discourse analysis of Australian and Japanese media reportage of these events illustrates how each country has constructed alternative realities reflective of their respective pro or anti-whaling agendas. The constructs in each discourse are distinct; the former full of heroes and villains, the latter filled with scientific researchers. Not only does this underscore the depth of the ideological divide, but it raises the issue of journalistic objectivity and the role that journalism plays in influencing public affairs. We suggest that journalists need to think carefully about the consequences of their (mis)-representations and either acknowledge their partisanship and be held to account, or strive for more balance in reporting events.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)322-334
    Number of pages13
    JournalContinuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2018


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