Newspaper Coverage of Sexual Assaults in South Korea: Before and after #MeToo Movement


  • Jooyeon Lee Macau University of Science and Technology, Macao



Sexual assault, framing analysis, Newspaper coverage, #MeToo


This study explores differences in South Korean newspaper coverage related to cases of
sexual assault on females before and after the #MeToo movement. To this end, a content analysis
was conducted to examine the framing of newspaper coverage of sexual assault by politicians in
2014 and 2018. In total, 755 news stories were analysed, revealing 10 times increase in the number
of articles dealing with sexual violence cases after the #MeToo movement. In addition, it was found
that the number of newspaper articles representing the voices of women who were victims of sexual
assault or representing the position of women's organizations calling for social change and the
protection of women's rights increased significantly after the #MeToo movement. In particular, a
significant increase in newspaper coverage discussing problems with the legal system and calling for
an urgent improvement to its dealings with sexual assault cases was found. Despite the #MeToo
movement, however, the examined newspaper coverage still used an episodic frame more often than
a thematic one in dealing with sexual violence against women and the articles still contained many
provocative words, such as ‘adultery’ and ‘infidelity’, aimed at arousing readers' curiosity and


Download data is not yet available.


Andelsman, V., & Mitchelstein, E., 2019, If it Bleeds it Leads: Coverage of violence against women and sexual

and reproductive health in Argentina from 1995 to 2015. Journalism Practice, 13(4), 458-475.

Berkowitz, Daniel, ed. 1997, Social Meanings of News: A Text-Reader. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage)

Entman, R. M. 1991. Framing U.S. Coverage of International News. Journal of Communication, 41(4), 6-27.

Flum, M., 2018, A year ago, Alyssa Milano started a conversation about #MeToo. These women replied. NBC

News, October 16.

Frye, J., 2018, From politics to policy: Turning the corner on sexual Harassment-Center for American Progress.

Center for American Progress, January 31.

Gamson, W. A., & Modigliani, A. 1989, Media Discourse and Public Opinion on Nuclear Power: A

Constructionist Approach. American Journal of Sociology, 95(1), 1-37.

Gitlin, T., 1980, The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left,

Berkeley (CA: University of California Press).

Goffman, E., 1974, Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard

University Press).

Gross, K., & Brewer, P. R., 2007, Sore losers: News frames, policy debates, and emotions. Harvard

International Journal of Press/Politics, 12(1), 122-133.

Hasunuma, L., & Shin, K. Y., 2019, # MeToo in Japan and South Korea:# WeToo,# WithYou. Journal of

Women, Politics & Policy, 40(1), 97-111.

Hindes, S., & Fileborn, B., 2019, Girl power gone wrong:# MeToo, Aziz Ansari, and media reporting of (grey

area) sexual violence. Feminist Media Studies, 1-18

Hust, Stacey J.T., Emily Garrigues Marret, Chunbo Ren, Paula M. Adams, Jessica F. Willoughby, Lei Ming,

Weina Ran, and Cassie Norman., 2014, Establishing and Adhering to Sexual Consent: The Association between

Reading Magazines and College Students‘ Sexual Consent Negotiation. Journal of Sex Research, 51(3), 280–

Hong, J. A., 2009, The constitution of meaning of sexual violence: Frame analysis of JoogAng Daily Newspaper

and Hankyoreh, Korean Journal of Broadcasting and Telecommunication Studies, 23(5), 458-498.

Iyengar, S., & Peters, M. D., & Kinder, D. R., 1982, Experimental Demonstrations of the "Not-So-Minimal"

Consequences of Television News Programs. American Political Science Review, 76, 848-858.

Iyengar, S., & Simon, A., 1993, News coverage of the Gulf crisis and public opinion: A study of agenda-setting,

priming, and framing. Communication research, 20(3), 365-383.

Jeong, H. J., 2018, Gender Society and #MeToo, Munhakdongne, 25(2), 348-366. [In Korean]

Kim, H. M., 2018, Me Too Movement, Why, Now and After, Gender Review, 49, 4-13. [In Korean]

Kim, J. S., 2018, After the disclosures: a year of # sexual_violence_in_the_film_industry in South Korea.

Feminist Media Studies, 18(3), 505-508.

Kim, L., 2011, Media framing of stem cell research: A cross-national analysis of political representation of

science between the UK and South Korea. Journal of Science Communication, 10(3), 1-16.

Kim, S. N., 2002, An analysis of prostitution related TV news frame, Korean Journal of Broadcasting and

Telecommunication, 16(2), 41-76. [In Korean]

Kim, S. N. and Jang, H. S., 2011, A study on the characteristic features shown by Korean newspapers in

reporting sexual violence. Journal of Political Communication, 22, 5-36. [In Korean]

Kim Y. H., 2002, Fundamental Understanding of the Media Reform, Politics on the Film Source Book: Political

Power and Media Power 10. (Seoul: Press Reform Civil Solidarity) [In Korean]

Kim Y. K, Kim J. H., and Kim, Y. S., 2013, A study on sexual violence news frame in personal perception: The

mediation effect of discrete emotion, Korean Journal of Journalims & Communication Studies, 57(1), 245-271.

[In Korean]

Kosicki, G. M., 1993, Problems and Opportunities in Agenda-Setting Research. Journal of Communication,

(2), 100-127.

Lee, H. C., Gross, M. J., & Lee, S. H., 2010, A Comparison of Reporting Tendency Between Conservative and

Progressive Korean Newspapers Towards Travel to Australia. In New Zealand Tourism and Hospitality

Research Conference, 2010, 51-68.

Price, V., & Tewksbury, D., & Powers, E., 1997, Switching Trains of Thought. Communication Research,

(5), 481-506.

Ryall, J., 2018, South Korean actor’s suicide triggers backlash against #MeToo. The Telegraph, March 12.

Scheufele, D. A., 1999, Framing as a Theory of Media Effects. International Communication Association, 49(1),


Shen, F., 2004, Effects of news frames and schemas on individuals' issue interpretations and

attitudes. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 81(2), 400-416.

Tuchmann. G.,1978. Making News: A Study in the Construction of Reality (New York: the Free Press)

Yang, J. H., 2001, Media framing of a social conflict: (a) case study of medical doctors' strike in Korea, Korean

journal of journalism & communication studies, 45(2), 284-31. [In Korean]




How to Cite

Lee, J. (2020). Newspaper Coverage of Sexual Assaults in South Korea: Before and after #MeToo Movement. Proceedings of the International Conference on Future of Women, 3(1), 1–11.