Media International Australia
School of Arts and Humanities
Edith Cowan University
This article investigates the differences and similarities between the news frames used by online mainstream media in Vietnam and Australia when reporting COVID-19 in the early waves of the pandemic. The project uses constant comparative analysis to interrogate data gathered from two online news sources: ABC Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) in Australia, and Tuoi Tre Online in Vietnam. The article concludes that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation coverage focuses more on social, political and economic factors than is the case with Tuoi Tre Online, which foregrounds civic responsibility in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation highlights how COVID-19 amplifies the long-term consequences of social disadvantage while Tuoi Tre Online, in contrast, emphasises the short-term, acute community impacts of outbreaks, given that these require rapid identification and control. It is argued that differences between the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's and Tuoi Tre Online's framings of the pandemic reflect national differences in governance of disasters. Tuoi Tre Online perceives healthy citizenry as soldiers, and constructs the vulnerable and infected as challenges to the biological safety of the whole: the majority social collective. In contrast, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation frames vulnerable and infected individuals as important, focussing on their rights and on the responsibilities of mainstream society towards those who are at risk. © The Author(s) 2023.
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