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Newspaper representation and power relations in infrastructure projects: a case study of Hong Kong’s Express Rail Link

Lee, AHY and Silva, EA Newspaper representation and power relations in infrastructure projects: a case study of Hong Kong’s Express Rail Link. International Planning Studies, 22. pp. 256-272. (Unpublished)

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This paper explores newspapers’ representation of different actors in infrastructure projects, and analyses the power relations between them through a case study in Hong Kong. The case in question is the highly controversial Express Rail Link, which connects Hong Kong to the extensive high-speed railway network in mainland China. It finds that under an immature democratic system, opponents’ political power and free press play important roles in forcing the government to make concessions outside the formal framework. The methodological framework employs a concept that takes media representation as a reflection of power [Van Dijk, Teun A. 1996. “Discourse, Power and Access.” In Texts and Practices: Readings in Critical Discourse Analysis, edited by Carmen Caldas-Coulthard and Malcolm Coulthard, 84–104. London: Routledge], and three theories seldom used in the planning field – Indexing Theory [Bennett, W. Lance. 1990. “Toward a Theory of Press-State Relations in the United States.” Journal of Communication 40 (2): 103–127. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.1990.tb02265.x], Agenda Setting Theory [McCombs, Maxwell E., and Donald L. Shaw. 1972. “The Agenda-Setting Function of Mass Media.” Public Opinion Quarterly 36 (2): 176–187] and Law of Anticipated Reactions [Zelditch, Morris, and John Ford. 1994. “Uncertainty, Potential Power, and Nondecisions.” Social Psychology Quarterly 57 (1): 64]. A new method for Critical Discourse Analysis, in the form of colour charts, is developed to portray the competition for representation in newspapers of different actors, paying special attention to power inequalities and which actors gain access to newspaper discourse and how they use it to convey specific messages. In this study, 500 newspaper articles (from two key newspapers – SCMP and Apple Daily) and 75 government publications in Hong Kong are analysed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: infrastructure high-speed railway media newspaper urban planning
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 18:58
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2018 02:10