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The Changing Relationship Between the Government and the Media in Vietnam with Respect to Reporting on the Environment in the Period 2000–2013

posted on 14.02.2017, 06:00 by Binh Duong Pham
The idea of this research is to look at a very rapid change in the relationship between the government and the media in Vietnam in the context of the post-Doi Moi (Renovation). The development of policies in the transition period has provided an opportunity for the development of the media in Vietnam, especially the reporting on environmental issues. The media- government situation in Vietnam is very heterogeneous and dynamic. The relationship is becoming more flexible but there are also internal contradictions and the key factor is the unity or division of government.

   In detail, I examine case studies from four areas of environmental degradation and each case study shows a different angle in the relationship between the media and the government in Vietnam. The four case studies relate to Vedan industrial pollution, bauxite mining in Vietnam, de-forestation and climate change in Vietnam. I also examine examples of journalism about these areas from four major national media outlets, including Vietnam Television (VTV), VnExpress, Tuoi Tre Newspaper, and Nhan Dan Newspaper.
   As the framework, I choose Bourdieu's theories on fields and relationships of fields, capital and habitus, supplemented by Benson’s analysis of journalistic field, in order to explain how the environmental issues were framed and to find evidence for the shifts and influences among the fields. The power, position and influence of players in the field, will be examined as well as the boundaries, parameters, rules and regulations of a field or sub-field created by players in the field. The thesis will identify the problems that the field of journalism in Vietnam is suffering in relation to other sectors, especially the political field. In my research, I chose text analysis method and look at a varied number of documents from the government and private sector corporations where relevant and NGOs where relevant. From media coverage, I identify themes and subject areas to examine content and source analysis of media reporting of the four issues. By ‘triangulating’ the documentation from above sources with the media reporting, the research produces a field analysis of the contemporary environmental relationships in Vietnam amongst the government, the economic sector, the NGOs and the media. The primary focus is on the relationship between political and symbolic fields represented by official government sources on the one hand and the four media outlets on the others.
   It is clear that journalism in Vietnam has become much more complex and textured in the relationship between the media and the government. The increasingly flexible relationship between the government and the media in Vietnam is interesting because it can contribute to the understanding of media’s development in the transitional context. I hope this study will contribute significantly to the understanding of the role of journalism in Vietnam.


Principal supervisor

Christopher Nash

Additional supervisor 1

Ruth Lane

Additional supervisor 2

Andrew Johnson

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Film, Media and Communications

Campus location



Faculty of Arts

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