Media framing of the Cayman Turtle Farm: implications for conservation conflicts
Walker, JMM; Godley, BJ; Nuno, A
Date: 3 January 2019
Journal for Nature Conservation
Conflicts over natural resource use and management often arise where groups have different goals or priorities. The media can play an important dual role in these conflicts; article content might offer insights about public opinion, whilst media may shape debates and how issues are perceived by the public and decision-makers. Wildlife ...
Conflicts over natural resource use and management often arise where groups have different goals or priorities. The media can play an important dual role in these conflicts; article content might offer insights about public opinion, whilst media may shape debates and how issues are perceived by the public and decision-makers. Wildlife farming is a contentious conservation tool attracting the attention of worldwide media, and associated conflicts among different interest groups may undermine its applicability. We investigated the media’s portrayal of the Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF), a facility in the Cayman Islands which breeds green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) for human consumption, to investigate how the media presents information about wildlife farming (i.e. framing), consider its potential roles influencing conflicts and explore how it can be used for conservation conflict management. Content analysis was used to compare framing, article valence, and stakeholder representation in 634 newspaper articles from the international and local media. These media stories were framed in terms of: tourism, conflict, conservation, culture/community, management, and utilisation. International articles most often described CTF as a tourism facility. However, during a media campaign by an international animal welfare group, CTF was also often depicted as a source of controversy. Trade in turtle products was mostly debated in older articles. Local media mainly had a financial focus. Conflict framing was associated with a negative article valence, and conflict framed articles were significantly more likely to contain no conservation information. Mentions of environmental interest groups were significantly associated with negative articles, whereas academics were significantly more likely to be mentioned in positive articles. Conservationists must consider stakeholder objectives from the outset of interventions and be aware of the multiple roles the media might play. Media analysis and effectively harnessing the potential of media outlets should be considered as tools for managing conservation conflicts.
College of Life and Environmental Sciences
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