Frenemy in Media: Maritime Sovereignty and Propaganda on South China Sea

Lupita Wijaya(1*)

(1) Universitas Multimedia Nusantara
(*) Corresponding Author


When Indonesia struggles to fight illegal fishing in 2016, Indonesian Navy has caught several Chinese fishing boats in its 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Natuna Island. Although, many have trespassed Indonesia’s EEZ, conducted illegal fishing and been scuttled, China is the only country that backs up their fishermen with military forces. After Indonesia officially sent diplomatic protest note over the incident, China replied that the seizing had no official grounded as the area was actually claimed as traditional fishing ground by China. This position may leave Indonesia in frenemy position with China. Regional conflict such as South China Sea has been diligently highlighted in international coverage. If it’s about involvement of home country conflict, the concept of objectivity journalism has been under questioned. This embodied-concept has raised because of broad range of contextualization in international coverage. Interdependency between media systems and political systems interprets how propaganda influences on the media within the national interest frames of ideology, particularly when the global issue involving their home countries. There are nine propaganda techniques including name calling, glittering generalities, transfer, testimonial, plain folks, card stacking, bandwagon, frustration of scapegoat and fear. Applying comparative content analysis of Indonesian and Chinese state-run wire services of ANTARA and Xinhua, and three most popular news websites: China Daily, People’s Daily and Kompas this study identifies types of national interest frames including common, conflict, and threat interest frames. It is found out that media perform propaganda techniques which later depict the frenemy position according to their national interest frames.


South China Sea, Media Studies, Frenemy, Propaganda, National Interests

Full Text:



Akhavan-Majid, R., & Ramaprasad, J. (2000). Framing Beijing: Dominant Ideological Influences on the American Press Coverage of the Fourth UN Conference on Women and the NGO Forum. International Communication Gazette, 62(1), 45–59.

Bensa, C. P., & Wijaya, L. (2017). Media Propaganda Techniques in the South China Sea Dispute. Jurnal Komunikasi Ikatan Sarjana Komunikasi Indonesia, 2(1), 331-336.

Bier, L. M., Park, S., & Palenchar, M. J. (2017). Framing the Flight MH370 Mystery: A Content Analysis of Malaysian, Chinese, and US Media. International Communication Gazette, 1748048517707440.

Brewer, P. R. (2006). National Interest Frames and Public opinion about World Affairs. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 11(4), 89–102.

Carruthers, A.M. (2016, August 30). Developing Indonesia’s Maritime Infrastructure: The View from Makassar. Retrieved from

Chin, G. T. (2016). Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Governance Innovation and Prospects. Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations, 22(1), 11–25.

Connelly, A.L. (2015). Sovereignty and the Sea: President Joko Widodo's Foreign Policy Challenges. Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs, 37(1), 1–28.

Cook, T. E. (1998). Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution. University of Chicago Press.

Cunningham, S.B. (2002). The Idea of Propaganda: A Reconstruction. Greenwood Publishing Group.

Ekawati, J.D. (2016, May 19). Indonesia’s Global Maritime Axis Askew. Retrieved from

Engesser, S., & Franzetti, A. (2011). Media Systems and Political Systems: Dimensions of Comparison. International Communication Gazette, 73(4), 273-301.

Essays, UK. (November 2013). The Role of China Press Media Essay. Retrieved from

Hanggarini, P. (April 18, 2015). The Quest of Friends—or ‘Frenemies’? Retrieved from (2 June, 2017)

Herman, E. S., & Chomsky, N. (2002). Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon Books.

Hobbs, R., & McGee, S. (2014). Teaching about Propaganda: An Examination of the Historical Roots of Media Literacy. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 6(2), 5.

Iskandar, A. & El-Nawawy, M. (2004) Al-Jazeera and War Coverage in Iraq. In Allan, S., & Zelizer, B. (Eds.), Reporting War: Journalism in Wartime (pp. 315–332). NY: Routledge.

Jang, W. Y. (2013). News as Propaganda: A Comparative Analysis of US and Korean Press Coverage of the Six-Party Talks, 2003–2007. International Communication Gazette, 75(2), 188–204.

Kaid, L. L., & Holtz-Bacha, C. (Eds.). (2008). Encyclopedia of Political Communication. SAGE Publications.

Kamalipour, Y. R., & Snow, N. (2004). War, Media, and Propaganda: A Global Perspective. Rowman & Littlefield.

Kerlinger, N. F. (1973). Foundations of Behavioral Research. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Mullen, A., & Klaehn, J. (2010). The Herman–Chomsky Propaganda Model: A Critical Approach to Analysing Mass Media Behaviour. Sociology Compass, 4(4), 215–229.

Murphy, A.M. (2017). ASEAN’s External Policy. China, The United States, and the Future of Southeast Asia: US-China Relations, 2, 50.

Novais, R. A. (2007). National Influences in Foreign News: British and Portuguese Press Coverage of the Dili Massacre in East Timor. International Communication Gazette, 69(6), 553–573.

Priyonggo, A. & Wijaya, L. (2013, June 4–5). Press as an Agent of Restraint: The Political Roles of Indonesian Press against Corruption. Paper presented at the Fifth Conference of Communication Industry and Journalism Education in the Digital Age, Taiwan. Taipei: Chinese Culture University.

Snow, N., & Taylor, P. M. (2006). The Revival of the Propaganda State: US Propaganda at Home and Abroad since 9/11. International Communication Gazette, 68(5–6), 389–407.

The Jakarta Post (January 20, 2017). China’s Investment Reaches US$1.6 Billion in Indonesia. Retrieved from (2 June, 2017)

The Jakarta Post (April 18, 2015). The Quest of Friends or ‘Frenemies’? Retrieved from (9 July, 2017)

Wijaya, L., & Bensa, C. P. (2017). Indonesian Mainstream News Coverage of the South China Sea Disputes: A Comparative Content Analysis. Asian Politics & Policy, 9(2), 331–336.


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 3090 | views : 3189


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Lupita Wijaya

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

View My Stats