Liberty or death? The framing of hate speech in the printed press

Best, Stefanie
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University of Delaware
In spite of the journalistic ideals of objectivity, framing within the press influences public understanding of issues within the news. The influence of framing is apparent in media coverage of hate speech and the debate over hate speech regulation. Framing is the process by which public issues are set within linguistic boundaries, which determine how they will be discussed and thought about in the media and in the public. The United States and Canada have divergent legal approaches to the issue of hate speech, which was expected to be emulated in news media frames of hate speech. A content analysis method was developed in order to evaluate what framing is present within print news media of hate speech issues in the United States and Canada. The study found the freedom frame and regulation frame of hate speech in United States news coverage to have no significant difference in their prominence. The regulation frame was found to dominate Canadian news coverage of hate speech issues.