Putting ‘Nation’ Back into Media Coverage of the State of the Nation Address (SONA): A Discourse Analysis on Print Media Framing of the Concept of Public Through Six-Year Reportage of PNoy’s SONAs
Agua, J. & Bautista, J. (2016). Putting ‘Nation’ Back into Media Coverage of the State of the Nation Address (SONA): A Discourse Analysis on Print Media Framing of the Concept of Public Through Six-Year Reportage of PNoy’s SONAs. Unpublished thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.
Every year, the President of the Philippines report on the status of the country and future plans of action through the State of the Nation Address (SONA). SONA, too, has been an annual gathering of the members of the House and Senate who sit together to listen to the President speak. Yet, meters away from Batasang Pambansa walls, another version of the state of the nation is being delivered, this time by the very people the President speaks of – the masses which constitute the nation.
This research examines media production of discourse and representation of the public in their coverage of President Benigno Aquino III’s six SONA occasions. This would look at media portrayal of non-state actors vis-à-vis their representation of state actors during the various events taking place during SONA, and three days before and after it.
The study looks at the extent to which interest groups, social movement organizations, and ordinary people are cited, referred to, and represented in news reports about particular issues compared to government actors. It scrutinizes SONA-related reports to unveil recurring themes and frames used by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), Philippine Star (PStar), and Manila Bulletin (MB), and how they ultimately serve, in the end, to either challenge, or maintain the existing societal power relations.
The study points out that (a) political controversy theme and corruption issues prevailed in the news reports of the three broadsheets, while discussion of basic sectors’ issues has been far and in between, (b) the publications greatly relied on state actors as official sources of information, while non-state actors tend to be backgrounded in the lower half of reports, (c) MB had the strongest anti-progressive groups and pro-administration stance among the three publications, but privileging of state actors and backgrounding of non-state actors ruled in every broadsheet, (d) progressive groups were negatively portrayed as disorganized, disorderly and violent mob while state actor representation had been more positive; police forces, particularly, were represented as exuding authority and power, and finally (e) media’s lack or misrepresentation of the public/non-state actors in their coverage of SONA is reflexive of the inner workings of societal power relations that the media have supported and continue to maintain.
KEYWORDS: State of the Nation Address, Social Movement Organizations, Critical Discourse Analysis, Propaganda Model, Media Framing, Lexical Analysis