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Deliberative Reporting by the Alternative Media and Mainstream Media: The Example of“One Fixed Day Off and One Flexible Rest Day”
deliberative democracy,public sphere,deliberative reporting,alternative media,One Fixed Day Off and One Flexible Rest Day,Labor Standards Act,
|Publication Year :||2019|
In Taiwan, of the nearly 8 million employees, most are subject to the provisions of the Labor Standards Act ; therefore, the impacts of the amendment to the Act are immense. In 2016, the Democratic Progressive Party pushed forward its amendment, which was also known as the 'One Fixed Day Off and One Flexible Rest Day' bill. It triggered conflicts between workers and employers, and between members of Legislative Yuan of the ruling and opposition parties. In 2017, it again pushed forward a second amendment that conditionally added more flexibility to the working hours of the workers, which however failed to resolve the dispute; instead, it was considered by the workers as a 'bad' amendment.
When there are divergent views on public policy in society, it is the responsibility of the media to provide sufficient information, sort out the issues, and facilitate the exchange of diverse opinions. Habermas's public sphere theory and political scholars Gutmann and Thompsons' deliberative democracy theory propose a conceptual foundation of procedural democracy for the decision-making in democratic countries. Later, communication scholars also applied this concept to media reports. Therefore, the question of this study is to examine the performance of the media in their deliberative reporting on the public policy of 'One Fixed Day Off and One Flexible Rest Day.'
Based on the study, five major principles of deliberative reporting have been sorted out: 'pluralistic participation', 'deep contextualization', 'responses to issues', 'discourse basis' and 'proposing solutions.' At the same time, content analysis and textual analysis were also used to conduct the research.
The research subjects included mainstream media, the United Daily News and Liberty Times, and alternative media Coolloud and Events in Focus. Past communication studies viewed alternative media as advocates of anti-master discourses; by including alternative media as the subject of analysis, it could help observe their contributions and value in public deliberation.
The research results find that alternative media performed the best in the areas of 'deep contextualization' and 'discourse basis.' For the rest of principles, they retained the anti-discourse characteristic of speaking for the workers and supporting labor groups. Although Coolloud and Events in Focus are both alternative media, Events in Focus incorporated more opinions and comments of non-labor groups on the bill, whereas Coolloud made labor groups' demands more visible.
By comparison, the overall deliberative performance of the mainstream media was not as good as that of alternative media, as the former mostly rely on corporations as one of their main sources of information, and neglect the labor situation in Taiwan. The Liberty Times did better in “proposal of solutions', while there was room for improvement for the United Daily News in every principle.
|Appears in Collections:||新聞研究所|
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