Authors: Se Jin Kim and Dong Hoon Ma
Abstract: Though there has been a wave of warming up of relations in Northeast Asia in the recent months, the second half of 2017 was marked by tension and fear of possible war due to saber rattling accompanied by nuclear and missile tests by North Korea. The broadcasters of the related states also reflected such mood, dealing with the Korean Peninsula Crisis as a major topic in their primetime news programs. Based on the constructivist perspective that security is a construct, this study assumes the media to be an actor in the process of securitization—creation of the idea of security by presenting a relevant object as being threatened. While there has been recent literature on the very role of the media in security—the media-security nexus—this study aims to study securitization by the media and its implications by looking at the case of late 2017 (July 1 ~ September 30) of the Korean Peninsula Crisis as presented in the primetime news programs of the broadcasters in six major countries (KBS, CNN, BBC, NHK, CCTV, Channel 1). It begins by observing how the news is presented by broadcasters in terms of importance and highlighted content. Then, using four dominant frames on security and diplomacy (containment, engagement, neutral, indifferent) and seven sub-frames on media (conflict, threat, human interest, economic, attribution of responsibility, morality, and dialogue-partner), it goes on to analyze the news items and observe the implications of the frames for securitization. The results are then compared to the official positions of each state to assess the role of media in securitization and difference in securitization—if any—is explained for a better understanding of the media’s role.
Keywords: news frame, Korean peninsula crisis, security, securitization