Korea has been one of the most aggressive countries pursuing nuclear power expansion, ranking in the top five nations globally for the installation capacity of nuclear power plants, nuclear power generation, and the number of reactors in operation. Even after the Fukushima accident, the Korean government has made no policy changes in regards to nuclear power, and public support for nuclear power remains relatively high. This study focuses on the role of the mass media in representing the Korean government’s benefit-oriented nuclear frame and the persistence of public support in the country for nuclear power. The study further aims to answer the following questions: What kind of frame was mobilized by the mass media? What kinds of speakers were chosen by the media to represent a particular side to the issue? A total of three conservative, progressive, and business newspapers were analyzed. The benefits and/or risks of nuclear power in the context of climate change were major topics in the three newspapers. The benefit and risk frame constructed in these three newspapers was characterized as “slightly risky but significantly beneficial” in the conservative Chosun Daily and MK Business and “seemingly beneficial but intrinsically risky” in the progressive Hankyoreh. Different frames were contested in the three newspapers; however, because the influential power of Korean progressive newspapers is weak, arguments supporting the growth and benefits of nuclear power have become pervasive in Korea.

Yun, Sun-Jin
Nuclear power for climate mitigation? Contesting frames in Korean newspapers
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Date / Year
Apr 2012
Asia Europe Journal