Frame Analysis of Selected Kenyan Newspaper Headlines on Kenyan Cases at the International Criminal Court (2011-2016)
Chepkwony, Philip Kipkoech
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This study undertook a frame analysis of selected Kenyan newspaper headlines on Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court. Specifically, the study investigated lexical strategies syntactic strategies that were employed to construct these cases in the headlines of The Daily Nation and The Standard newspapers. In addition, this study also looked at the linguistic frames used to give portrayal of the event and the subject groups. To study these objectives, the study adopted a descriptive design. Therefore, qualitative methods were used in sampling and data analysis. Purposeful sampling was used to select the headlines that were included in the sample. The research used a purposively sampled corpus of 24 newspaper headlines produced in two periods: the pre-confirmation of charges period of June to September 2011and post-confirmation of charges period covering the pre-election period of December 2012 to February 2013. The data was collected by retrieving the newspapers sampled from the archives and culling the headlines that qualified for inclusion in the sample. The newspaper headlines selected were close-read and coded. The coded headlines were analyzed for the various lexical and strategies, and the possible frames used. The results formed the basis of the discussion in the analysis chapters. The study adopted an eclectic theoretical framework in which Frame Analysis (FA) and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) informed the analysis of data. FA holds that we make sense of our experience by actively classifying, organizing and interpreting. This theory holds that news texts constitute organized symbolic devices that vital in meaning construction. CDA views discourse as a social practice that constitutes the social world and is constituted by other social practices. According to this theory, studying lexical choices and syntactic forms in any context leads to an understanding of the discourse social structures like ideology. The analysis shows that the two dailies favored the use of active verbs. This, in turn, had the effect of sensationalizing the cases. The study reveals three dominant frames; political propaganda, justice and credibility of evidence. It recommends that the media operators should be more conscious in their linguistic choices in framing sensitive issues to avoid polarization through sensationalizing issues.