Shoot to Kill: A Visual Semiotic Analysis of Humaneness in Online News Photographs of Drug-Related Killings in the Philippines from June 30 to December 31, 2016

Title: Shoot to Kill: A Visual Semiotic Analysis of Humaneness in Online News Photographs of Drug-Related Killings in the Philippines from June 30 to December 31, 2016

Abstract: Joven, D.M. & Villegas, K. (2017). Shoot to Kill: A Visual Semiotic Analysis of Humaneness in Online News Photographs of Drug-Related Killings in the Philippines from June 30 to December 31, 2016, Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

This study examines humaneness in the photographs of drug-related killings in the Philippines from June 30 to December 31, 2016, and focuses on selection and salience as applied to sensitivity to privacy and graphic information, particularly through photojournalistic techniques. The research was guided by Kress & van Leeuwen’s (2006) visual semiotics, Entman’s (1993) framing theory, and various metatheories regarding humaneness, particularly about authenticity and sensitivity. The photographs studied were taken from the news sites Inquirer.net, Philstar.com, Manila Bulletin, Manila Times, ABS-CBN News, GMA News Online, InterAksyon, CNN Philippines, and Rappler. Further data was gathered through interviews and research. The study found that although there was a lack of photographic coverage of drug-related killings compared to coverage in other forms of media, overall coverage was still considerably humane. Photojournalistic techniques were used to select which aspects of the photo, particularly identifiable features and graphic details, to leave out or at least de-emphasize.

Key Words: Photojournalism, Ethics, Humaneness, Semiotics, Framing, Philippine Drug War, Drug-Related Killings, Online News

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