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An explorative study of the encoding/decoding model in respect to television news in Papua New Guinea

Television in Papua New Guinea strives to exist in a pluralistic society characterised by diverse local cultures and traditions that blend with Western influences. It is important to understand the role of television and its influence on such a pluralistic country as it continues to go through the process of nation building. Global advances in media and technology that will one day penetrate deep into such societies will need to be understood; however, this may not be possible without first setting the context for television, which is tied into the country’s post-colonial history. This study looks at television news producers and audiences in regard to the encoding/decoding model, in order to understand the role television has played in Papua New Guinea in terms of nation building. There is, however, very little literature on television news producers and audiences in PNG. As such, an explorative approach was taken to look into the encoding and decoding of EMTV news by journalists and student audiences. The main questions addressed in this thesis are: Why do journalists make/report/produce news? How do journalist make/report/produce news? Why do student audiences watch news? How do student audiences watch news? What meanings are encoded by journalists onto the news discourse? What implications can be drawn from the news discourse? What meanings do student audiences decode from the news discourse? The theoretical frameworks that inform this research include the “encoding/decoding” model of active audiences and the De-Westernizing Media model. A mixed method approach was taken, where four research methods were employed to look into encoding and decoding of EMTV news throughout its circuit of communication. In-depth interviews were carried out with four journalists, to understand their encoding roles, their personal motivations for the job, their perception of newsworthiness and the meanings they encode onto the news discourse. A total of 135 questionnaires were completed by student audiences, and a focus group was held with eight students. These were to understand audience encoding roles and experiences, their personal motivations for watching, their perception of newsworthiness, the meanings they decode and their overall perception of EMTV news. To further understand meanings within news discourse, a discourse analysis was carried out on a representative news sample to identify the implications embedded in the representative news bulletin. By the end of the research, and after collating and analysing the data it was concluded that EMTV news has contributed negatively to nation building because of its focus on Western news values. Through its coverage of bad news or negative stories, it has created a negative image of the country and its people. EMTV news reports are biased in their choice of cultural representation, rather than blending the country’s rich and diverse cultures into creating a unified hegemonic identity. As a result, provincial identities emerge among student audiences, rather than a national identity.
Type of thesis
Lagdom, N. (2014). An explorative study of the encoding/decoding model in respect to television news in Papua New Guinea (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8988
University of Waikato
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