News Media Framing of Bill C-51: A Content Analysis

Title: News Media Framing of Bill C-51: A Content Analysis
Authors: Stewart, Ashley
Date: 2015-08-17
Abstract: The government introduced a controversial new Anti-Terrorism Act (Bill C-51) on January 30, 2015, in response to the changing nature of threats to Canadians. This study sets out to examine how the mainstream media framed the debate over Bill C-51 from the introduction of the bill to the government’s introduction of amendments on March 31, 2015. Using agenda setting and framing theories, this study looks at the relationship between the media agenda and the policy agenda. The bill received significant coverage over this period, dominating the media agenda. Using content analysis, this study conducts an in-depth analysis of the Globe and Mail’s coverage of the issue to examine which stakeholders and opinion leaders were most frequently cited, the major arguments for the legislation and the perceived shortcomings and risks associated with the legislation, and the number and nature of the suggested solutions (to make the legislation more acceptable) that found their way into the government’s proposed amendments. Key findings indicate that, although the government introduced amendments that addressed some of the concerns expressed, these amendments did not include the most frequently mentioned concern: the lack of parliamentary oversight. Evidence of strong message control by the government was displayed in their use of the “threats against Canada” theme, showing up in coverage 18% of the time. Other prominent frames used in the coverage included political posturing for the upcoming election campaign (16%) and critiques of the bill (14%).
CollectionCommunication - Mémoires // Communication - Research Papers