The media and the Prostitution Reform Act

Lisa Fitzgerald and Gillian Abel

in Taking the crime out of sex work

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9781847423344
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303664 | DOI:
The media and the Prostitution Reform Act

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This chapter examines the role of the media in the context of the implementation of the 2003 Prostitution Reform Act (PRA). It determines whether the media coverage of the PRA reinforced existing moral discourses of sex work or developed original ones within the new policy context. To determine the role played by the media, a content analysis of the print-media reporting on the PRA is provided. The chapter also explores messages communicated in and by the print media in New Zealand from 2003 to 2006. It furthermore employs a qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with 58 sex workers concerning their media-coverage experiences. The main emphasis of the chapter is on the moral discourses of sex work, which dominated print media in spite of the media's attempts to maintain a neutral stand on prostitution. Reporting that focused on the morality of prostitution was particularly acknowledged by the sex workers, and was believed to be a tool for the reinforcement of the existing stigmatisation of sex work. Apart from highlighting the type of media reporting that reinforced stigmatisation, the chapter also highlights the manner in which sex workers resisted dominant discourses in their everyday practices.

Keywords: media; Prostitution Reform Act; media coverage; moral discourses; print media; media reporting; stigmatisation

Chapter.  8513 words.  Illustrated.

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