FRAMES, CLAIMS AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN ONLINE MEDIA COVERAGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN VIETNAM: EVALUATING EMERGING THEMES AND ACTION.
Nguyen, Hoa Thanh
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Vietnam is a country already being affected by the consequences of global warming and climate change. By 2030, the World Bank predicts that climate change will continue to impact Vietnam, with an estimated 400,000 to one million people living in poverty (Rozenberg & Hallegatte, 2016). Of the 84 coastal countries investigated, Vietnam ranked first in the predicted severity of sea-level rise and its GDP loss. The country also ranked second (to the Bahamas) in the magnitude of climate effects on the land and second to Egypt in the impact of agriculture (Duong, 2010). At the same time, Vietnam continues to depend on export and other labor-intensive industries, which consume the lion's share of the nation's energy and natural resources that are not yet environmentally friendly. This content analysis examines online media coverage of climate change in Vietnam through frames, claims, and public participation. The study explores the relationships between the Vietnamese media and their audiences through the lenses of public engagement and actions related to climate change issues. Results suggest that solutions, actions, and remedies were the dominant frames in news stories, supporting a blend of development journalism and a nation-building journalism model. The mainstream media in Vietnam determines, in part, the growth of the nation's public sphere because the media facilitates discussion and the dissemination of information among the stakeholders. However, public voices were represented only to a limited degree in mainstream media. Alternatively, self-funded and corporate-sponsored online media facilitated more public interaction and promoted the most public voices. This study contributes to the public sphere theory in a developing Asian country where climate change is being covered as a newly revived social issue. In that sense, climate change should increase the opportunities for - but challenges to - the governance of Vietnam’s administration.