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Taking the crime out of sex workNew Zealand sex workers' fight for decriminalisation$
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Gillian Abel, Lisa Fitzgerald, and Catherine Healy

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781847423344

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847423344.001.0001

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The media and the Prostitution Reform Act

The media and the Prostitution Reform Act

Chapter:
(p.197) twelve The media and the Prostitution Reform Act
Source:
Taking the crime out of sex work
Author(s):

Lisa Fitzgerald

Gillian Abel

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847423344.003.0012

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

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