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COVERAGE FRAMING HAZE ON ONLINE MEDIA SELECTED

IN INDONESIA, MALAYSIA AND SINGAPORE

Junaidi1
Lancang Kuning University Pekanbaru-Indonesia
email: drjunaidi@yahoo.com, Phone: +628127600095, 62761 53536

This study examines the way selected online media in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore framing the
haze news reports in Indonesia which spreads across border to Malaysia and Singapore. The news
were taken from Kompas.com, Utusan Malaysia Online, and The Straits Times.com in June 2013
during the haze happening. The news was examined using framing model analysis by Robert M.
Entman. The elements discussed in this model were; problem identification, causal interpretation,
moral evaluation, and treatment recommendation. The findings showed the media from Indonesia,
Malaysia, and Singapore doing the framing analysis in different ways. Media from Indonesia mainly
framed from the aspects of; haze causation which is natural factors rather than human factors, the
involvement of Malaysian and Singapore companies in the cause of fires, also the needs for apologize
from Indonesian government to Malaysia and Singapore. While the Malaysian media framed on the
objections on the news who blame their company as the reasons on the fires and also framed that
Malaysia was offering help to Indonesia. Meanwhile, Singapore media framed the pressure from
Singapore to Indonesian government in order to solve the haze immediately. It also framed that fires
was caused by Indonesian people themselves and framed about Singapore offering help to solve the
haze issues. The framing employ by the media from Indonesian, Malaysian and Singapore on the haze
problems tend to defend on the interests of their own country. The news clearly display that each of
the media attempts to show a positive image of their country, and save their face by blaming others.
However the media from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore agreed to recommend a joint
cooperation among the countries to solve the haze problem together.
Keywords: Haze, news, framing

Introduction
Indonesia was bordered with Malaysia and Singapore. The relation between Indonesia and Malaysia,
and between Indonesia and Singapore were built nicely. Certain issues which have arise so far could
be solved peacefully. One of the crucial issues involving Indonesia - Malaysia and Indonesia Singapore is about the haze. Moreover, the relationship between Indonesia and Malaysia in several
issues caused disharmonies among these nations, such as; Borders issues on Malaysia successfully
won the islands of Sipadan and Ligitan, Indonesian workers in Malaysia, illegal logging, the claim on
Indonesian culture by Malaysia, and the haze from Indonesian. Meanwhile, Indonesia and Singapore
relationship was often disturbing by the border issue in the Strait of Malacca, criminals and corruptors
from Indonesia hide in Singapore, and the haze which spreads into Singapore.

Universitas Lancang Kuning Pekanbaru-Indonesia. Email: drjunaidi@yahoo.com, Phone: +628127600095, 62761 53536

The haze issue from forest fire in Indonesias regions, especially in Riau Province, seems appears
every year. Even though, various ways have been used to resolve the haze but the fires continuously
happen. The situation becomes worse if the rain didnt fall for a long time. Although the fires happen
in Indonesia but the wind fled the haze to Malaysia and Singapore. This is the reality of relationship
occurs among these three neighboring countries. Indonesia's forests are on fire but the haze invading
into Malaysia and Singapore.
The issue of the haze will continue to disrupt the relationship between Indonesia and Malaysia, and
Indonesia - Singapore if the fire still happen in Indonesian territory. When this issue about the haze
arises, arguing among Indonesia-Malaysia and Singapore-Indonesia usually take place. The
Indonesian people definitely will be the most affected by the haze since the fire occurs in Indonesia.
Indonesian citizens assume the haze only happened in their own country. Unfortunately, the problem
becomes complex when Malaysian and Singapore and also suffered because of the haze from their
neighboring country. The haze spreading into their country certainly led to a protest from of Malaysia
and Singapore. Malaysian and Singaporean became upset since the haze has disturbing their activities.
Therefore, the Government of Malaysia and Singapore stand their right to defend the citizens from
the haze which causes potential harmful for the citizens life especially on their health matter.
The haze issue becomes more complex because it involves inter- state interests. Whenever, the
situation getting worst Malaysia and Singapore protested by sending official notice to Indonesia
government to take precautions on the issue or offering help to solve the haze in Indonesia. Then
Indonesian government reply with a statement that Indonesia already doing many acts to solve the
problems and the government diplomatically rejected the offering from their neighbors. The reason of
the rejection is certainly because of the sovereignty and the pride as independent that can handle their
own domestic affairs, so Indonesia does not need help from other countries. However, for a
diplomatic reason among countries, the Indonesian government formally apologized to Malaysia and
Singapore over the spread of haze from Indonesia. This phenomenon has been a huge debate among
Indonesians. In one side, they argued that Indonesia has to apologize to Malaysia and Singapore since
the haze came from Indonesia and it has been disturbing the people in both countries. On the other
side, some people stated that Indonesia does not need to apologize to their neighbors because it will
decrease the Indonesian nations self esteem in front them. Yet, some people extremely said that the
fires caused by the burning of the forests by Malaysian and Singaporean palm oil companies so
Malaysian and Singaporean should felt then same.
The complexity of the haze problems involving Indonesia-Malaysia and Indonesia - Singapore
became more interesting when the news appeared and the media from each countries tend to defend
the interests of its own and blame other. The reality of haze issues which involving inter-state
relations were framed differently by the media from these three countries. Therefore, the aims of this
study tries to examine how the haze news framing on media in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore

The published news of the haze issue has been framed by media through certain process. In short,
media have built their own perceptions about the issue. As a result, the issue or the same reality can be
framed differently by different media. Reality is not displayed as it is, but the reality has been
constructed with a particular perception by the media. Framing is defined as a way of giving some
interpretation to isolated items of fact 2. While Todd Gitlin stated "frames are principles of selection,
emphasis , and presentation composed of little tacit theories about what exist , what happens , and
what matters3 ". The two main things that are in the process of framing are selection and salience 4.
That is why the media do the screening of the facts or reality and then give prominence to certain
aspects or parts. Protrusion on a particular part aims to emphasize that the section more easily
accepted by the reader5.
In the framing, media do an election against a perceived reality and make it appear more prominent
than other aspects through defining the problem, determining the cause of the problem, doing moral
evaluation, and recommending to the explained issues. Framing is also related with media frames of
reference, context, theme, and a new angle 6. Furthermore, the framing is seen as "Placing information
in a unique context so that certain elements of the issue get a greater allocation of an individual 's
cognitive resources7."
The research data were taken from the news about the haze in three online media from three countries,
namely Kompas.com (Indonesia), Utusan Malaysia Online (Malaysia), The StraitsTimes.com
(Singapore). The selected news published in June 2013, just in time when the haze problem arises in
Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The research took three selected news from each media which
means nine news were examine in this research. Frame analysis methods employ to observe news
framing by the media in these three countries. The analysis model used is the model proposed by
Robert M. Entman8. The elements discussed in this model are problem identification, causal
interpretation, moral evaluation, and treatment recommendation. Robert M. Entman models had been
chosen with consideration of Robert M. Entman was recognized expert who laid the foundation for
the study of media frame analysis 9.

Research Findings and Analysis


2

McQuail, Denis, McQuails Mass Communication Theory, (London: Publication Ltd, 2000), hlm 343
Todd Gitlin, The Whole World is Waching : Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left.
(california: University of California Press, 1980), hlm. 6
4
Robert M. Entman , Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured paradigm, Journal of Communication
Vol. 43 No. 4, 1993, hlm. 51-8,
5
Robert M. Entman, . Framing US Coverage of Internastional News: Contrast in Narrative of the KAL and
Iran Air Incident. Journal of Communication, Vol. 41.No 4, 1991, hlm. 7
6
Robert N. Entman: Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm, Journal of Communication,
Vol. 43, No.4, 1993, hlm. 51-8 ,
7
Zhongdang Pan dan Gerald M. Kosicki. Framing Analysis: An Approach to News Discourse. Political
Communication. Vol. 10. No. 1, 1993, hlm 55-75
8
Robert N. Entman: Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm, dalam Journal of
Communication, Vol. 43, No.4,1993, hlm 519
Eriyanto, Analisis Framing: Konstruksi Ideologi, dan Politik Media, (Yogyakarta: LkiS, 2012), hlm 75
3

A.

News Framing of Kompas.com


Kompas.com news which were studied are, This is how the Riau haze invading to Singapore

(K1), About the haze resolving, Indonesia must straight forward (K2), and Golkar supports SBY
apologizes to Singapore and Malaysia (K3). In the main frame K1 is a haze problem arising in
Indonesia and spread to Malaysia and Singapore due to natural factors. In this news clearly stated that
the haze caused by natural factors, which is Indonesia's weather anomalies that cause the wind
direction changed from normal.
A change in wind direction also causes the haze from forest fires in Indonesia to Malaysia and
Singapore region. To strengthen the fact, the statement of the National Agency for Disaster
Management (BNPB) quoted. In this news, there is no human factor or Indonesian people who do
forest fires. This means there is an attempt to conceal from human errors into nature cause. In this
statement, it was explained that the haze was disturbing residents of Malaysia and Singapore. In the
completion of haze, in the news is delivered that the Indonesian side has made concrete steps for the
completion of haze, by extinguishing forest fires with water bombing and artificial rain. The
Indonesian side also socialized forest fire prevention and law enforcement efforts on the part of the
forest burning. This confirms that the Indonesian side has made serious strides in preventing haze.
In K2, the haze issue is framed from the need Indonesian government firmness against the
involvement of foreign companies in Indonesias forests fire. The foreign parties is framed as the
main cause of haze in Indonesia. Indonesian parties claimed there are several large-scale oil palm
plantation companies from Malaysia were burning forests to build land for new plantation. To support
the statement, it cited the Kompas.com Zenszi from Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi).
Moreover, he also stated that the one who the most severely felt the effects of the haze is Indonesians
themselves; it was four times more than residents of Malaysia and Singapore felt. Further, it stated
that the completion of haze is not only through the environment efforts but also the political approach
involving bilateral sector between Indonesia-Malaysia - Singapore and Indonesia.
The news of K3 framed the issue in terms of the need to apology from the President of
Indonesia to Malaysia and Singapore government because of the haze which has affected citizens in
those countries. Indonesia's President Apology at the time of haze crisis to their neighbors, has risen
pro and contra supporters in Indonesia. The pro group argues that Indonesia needs to make an apology
for disturbing their neighboring countries. While the contra supporters considered that an apology was
not necessary because it would weaken the position of Indonesia from their neighbour. Some even
said that the extreme haze worth up to Malaysia and Singapore since fire made by palm plantations
companies from Malaysia and Singapore. Further, in the news supporting statement also came from
Siswono Yudhohusodo a senior politician from Golkar party to justify the Indonesian presidents
apology. When viewed from a relationship party , Golkar party is included in the coalition parties in
the government , so it is natural for Golkar to defend the president. Precisely, Within the analysis in
this news, revealed the presence of disharmony between the statement of the Minister of Environment
of Indonesia with the President. President rebuke the minister for being reckless by stating there are

eight Mayasian and Singaporean Palm companies suspected caused the fires. The ministerial
statement is considered to disrupt bilateral relations between Indonesia and Malaysia , also Indonesia
and Singapore .

Tabel 1: Ringkasan Pembingkaian Berita Kompas.com


No
1

News Headline

This is how
the Riau haze
invading
Singapore (21
June)

About the haze


resolving,
Indonesia
must straight
forward (21

Problem
Identification
The haze is
considered as a
result of nature
phenomena not
human factor

Elements
Causal
Moral
Interpretation
Evaluation
The weather
Indonesia has
anomaly is the
done a good
cause of the haze
action to
matter
overcome the
haze phenomenon

There is a foreign
party involving in
the forest fire but it
does not
investigated yet

The foreign
parties are the
cause of the haze
occurred in
Indonesia

The Indonesias
president apology is
considered as a
right decision

Indonesia has to
be responsible for
the haze
spreading into
neighboring
countries.

June)
3

Golkar
supports SBY
apologizes to
Singapore and
Malaysia (25
June)

B.

The foreign
parties are guilty
but Indonesian
government has
no powerful to
take action on
them
The Indonesias
President has
done a right
action yet, the
Environmental
Minister was
wrong.

Treatment
Recommendation
Resolving the forest
fires has been done
by
Indonesian
government
There should be a
bilateral
political
approach
among
Indonesia,
Malaysia,
and
Singapore
to
anticipate the haze
There should be a
honest
statement
among
the
countries
government
to
anticipate
the
conflict

News Framing of Utusan Malaysia Online


The three news of Utusan Malaysia Online were examine including: The TH Plantation does

not involved (U1), Malaysia - Indonesia agreed to solve the haze problem (U2), and The three
countries talk about the haze issues (U3). The main frame is displayed in U1 rejection of Malaysia on
the Malaysian company involvement in the burning of forests in Indonesia. At the time of the haze,
there was an accusation from Indonesian to the Malaysian company that has been doing the forest fire
to open new palm oil plantation in Indonesia. This news confirms that the fires around oil palm estates
Malaysian companies caused by local people itself. Hot spots detected by satellite are adjacent to the
company's area of Malaysia. Malaysian side firmly stated that Malaysian companies have done the
right thing in conducting land clearing palm and never do forest fires. Malaysian companies always
keep the environment in the management of oil palm plantations in Indonesia.
In the main frame U2 showing willingness of Malaysia to help Indonesia to overcome haze.
The haze issues put Malaysian in disadvantages positions so it will be fine to include Malaysia to
solve the haze issues . Similarly to U1 , this news also confirms that the haze was not caused by
Indonesian and Malaysian palm companies. Although the cause of the haze is not the company of
Malaysia, the Malaysian side has shown good attitude in dealing with haze, by offering help to

Indonesia. Malaysia hopes Indonesia showing appreciation by accepting the offer in order to
overcome this problem to not getting worse.
News U3 perform frame shows the cooperation of three countries, namely Indonesia,
Malaysia , and Singapore in tackling the haze problem that plagued all three countries. Malaysia has
claimed the need for cooperation initiated by three countries. In this news is not confirmed that the
cause of the occurrence of smog over because discuss this news on the completion of a cooperative
effort involving smog three countries. The haze issue cannot be resolved solely by the Indonesian
though the haze caused by forest fires in Indonesia. The issue has become a huge matter between
countries because the haze has spread to areas of Malaysia and Singapore. Hence, in this news, it is
suggested to make an agreement about the handling of the haze that involves three countries.

Tabel 2: Ringkasan Pembingkaian Berita Utusan Online


No
1

News Headline

The TH
Plantation
does not
involved (28
June)

Malaysia Indonesia
agreed to solve
the haze
problem (27

Problem
Identification
Malaysian
companies were
accused as the
cause of forest
fire which rising
the haze
phenomena in
Indonesia

Elements
Causal
Moral Evaluation
Interpretation
Indonesian people The Malaysian
is the main cause
companies have
of the haze
done a good
management in
palm oil plantation
and the accusation
as the main cause of
the haze is wrong

Malaysia is ready
to help
Indonesians to
overcome the
haze

The haze is
caused by
Indonesian people
not Malaysian
companies

Malaysia initiated
the resolving of
the haze problem
with Indonesia
and Singapore

It is not clear yet


the side which
causes the haze

June)
3

The three
countries talk
about the haze
issues (30 June)

Malaysia has done


a right action and
work together to
overcome the haze,
the accusation as
the main cause of
the haze is wrong
Malaysia has shown
a good participation

Treatment
Recommendation
The Malaysian
companies are still
consistent to open a
new land for palm
oil plantations

There should be a
corporation and
Indonesia was
willing to receive
Malaysias hand
There should be an
agreement among
Indonesia,
Malaysia, and
Singapore in
resolving the haze

C. News Framing of The Straits Times.com


The News from The Straits Time.com reveals about Singapore urges Indonesia to take
immediate measure over worsening haze (S1), PM Lee says Singapore urging Indonesia to take action

to reduce haze (S2), and Singapore urges Indonesia to act against errant firms (S3). The main frame
displayed in S1 is about the Indonesian is slow in overcoming the haze so that Singapore urges
Indonesia to tackle the issue. The Singaporean stated that the haze that spread to their yard have
disrupted them. The cause of haze is clearly stated made by Indonesian.

Singaporeans argue,

Indonesia seems act to slow in this problem. However, Singapore government is ready to help if
Indonesia asking for it. Recommendation displayed in this news, mentions that Indonesia received a
proposal from Singapore to overcome the haze.
In the news S2, Singapore urged once more Indonesia goverment to act immediately, this
pressure came from the Prime Minister of Singapore to solving the haze problem. The urgent request
from of the Prime Minister of Singapore shows the haze problem has really been threatening the
health of the citizens of Singapore. It is clearly says that the cause of haze is Indonesians, while
Singapore citizens have become victims of the forest fires that occurred in Indonesia. Singapore
government has shown good intentions to help Indonesia to solve the haze issues. The solution offered
in this news is that given Singapore can help speed up the settlement of haze. So the Indonesian
parties are advised to accept the offer of Singapore.
News of S3 confirms Singapore government has warned Indonesian to do strict action against
companies that have made fires that cause haze. Singapore clearly noted that the fire was not caused
by natural factors but due to the human factor. In short, the companies who caused the fires need to be
given a punishment. Singapore seems very serious dealing in this haze issues. Further, Singapore
advised concrete steps to overcome haze namely Joint cooperation Singapore - Indonesian, the need
for conducting meeting among ministers, the need for outages, artificial rain and law enforcement for
forest burning in Indonesia.

Tabel 3: Ringkasan Pembingkaian Berita The Straits Times.com


No

News Headline

Elements
Problem
Identification

Singapore urges
Indonesia to
take immediate

The haze from


Indonesia has
disturb

Causal
Interpretation

Moral Evaluation

Indonesians are
the cause of the
haze and the

Indonesian
government could not
overcome the haze

Treatment
Recommendation.
There should be a
serious treatment
from Indonesian

measure over
worsening haze
(17 June)

Singaporean
people

Singapore
people are
harmed people

and the Singapore


government offered
help for that

government and
Singapore
government was
ready to help
Indonesia

PM Lee says
Singapore
urging
Indonesia to
take action to
reduce haze (18
June)

The haze from


Indonesia has
disserved
Singaporean
people

The haze is
caused by
Indonesian

The Indonesian
government was slow
in overcoming the
haze and Singapore
government showed
its kindness through
offering a help to
Indonesia

Singapore
government is
ready to help
Indonesia in
resolving the haze

Singapore urges
Indonesia
to act
against
errant
firms
(20 June)

The forest fires


were not because
of nature factor
but because of
human actions

The Indonesian
people are the
cause of the
forest fire not
Singapore
people

The Indonesian
government was slow
in overcoming the
haze and Singapore
government was
ready to help
Indonesia

Singapore
government is
ready to corporate,
to hold a meeting
among ministers,
in order to
overcome the
forest fire and to
make artificial rain
and also a law
enforcement by
Indonesian side

Conclusion
Based on analysis of the news framing in media from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore the
finding reveals that media from these three countries framed the haze issue in different interpretations.
Consequently, this led to a different framing of reality. The main frame which was displayed in
Indonesian media was the haze problems caused more by natural factors rather than human factors,
the involves of Malaysia and Singapore palm company in the fire, and the needs to apologize to
Malaysia and Singapore. While the Malaysian media framed the issue of haze by; showing rejection
on statement accused Malaysian palm companies has made fires, and accused the fires caused by local
people themselves, and the importance of joint cooperation among countries. Specifically this means
Malaysia helps Indonesia to overcome haze issues. Furthermore, the Singapore media framed in this
issues the needs of joint cooperation between Singapore-Indonesia to overcome the haze, cause of the
fire, and Singapore offers a concrete solutions to solve the haze.
Nevertheless. in term of causation aspect, Indonesian media claimed that haze caused by
natural factors and foreign companies. While the Malaysian media explicitly states that forest fires
conducted by the Indonesian. Meanwhile, Singapore media obviously states that the cause of the
forest fire is local people and not because ofnatural factors. This data shows efforts of the media in

defending their own nation so that makes the differences in framing the causes of forest fires in
Indonesia.
Related to the aspect of moral evaluation, Indonesian media stated Indonesian government
has tried to overcome the haze but seems there is no strict action against foreign companies which
suspect involves in forest fire. The apology of Indonesias President to Malaysia and Singapore is
considered as a correct action by the Indonesian government. Malaysian media confirms that
Malaysian companies have done the right thing in a forest clearing and the Malaysia has shown
kindness by offering help to overcome the haze. Singapore media also showed good intentions by
offering help due to their assumption that Indonesia was slow in dealing with haze issues.
Related to the aspects of the treatment recommendation for the haze, the selected online
media in the three countries expressed the need for joint cooperation among these three countries,
Malaysia and Singapore are willing to provide direct assistance in overcoming haze. However, the
Indonesian not ready yet to accept the offer. media

in Indonesian prefer law enforcement in

combating suspected foreign company .


Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore Media have done the framing on the haze issues that hit
these three countries. Each of this media tend to defend the interests of its own. It also shows that each
of the media attempt to show a positive image of their country, and blame other country. Yet, the
media in the three countries agreed to recommend the need for joint cooperation among countries to
overcome the haze.

References

Entman, Robert M. 1991. Framing US Coverage of Internastional News: Contrast in


Narrative of the KAL and Iran Air Incident. Journal of Communication, Vol. 41.No 4
Entman, Robert M. 1993. Freezing Out the Public: Elite and Media Framing of the US Anti
Nuclear Movement. Political Communication, Vol. 10, No.1
Entman, Robert M. 1993. Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm.
Journal of Communication, Vol. 43, No.4
Eriyanto. 2012. Analisis Framing: Konstruksi Ideologi, dan Politik Media. Yogyakarta:
LkiS.
Gitlin, Todd. 1980. The Whole World is Waching: Mass Media in the Making and
Unmaking of the New Left. California: University of California Press.
McQuail, Denis. 2000. McQuails Mass Communication Theory. London: SAGE
Publication Ltd

Pan, Zhongdang dan Gerald M. Kosicki. 1993. Framing Analysis: An Approach to News
Discourse. Political Communication. Vol. 10. No. 1
www.kompas.com
www.utusan.com.my
www.straitstimes.com