Factors influencing the strategic frame-building of para-athletes in Japan from the public relations perspective


Framing is used for strategic communication as a rhetorical tool by including and excluding certain elements to generate effective media messages to gain particular social attitudes. The frame-building process is affected by external and internal factors. Para-sports promoters have been struggling with the depiction of para-athletes, because the public seems to perceive messages about people with disabilities as unattractive or socially inappropriate. Public relations professionals involved in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics may very well face similar and other challenges, such as public censorship on the topic of disabilities, in Japan. This study investigates the external and internal factors that influenced the strategic frame-building process of para-athletes and sports at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics to achieve the objective of promoting an inclusive Japanese society. As this research was explorative, in-depth interviews were conducted according to the hierarchy of influences on media content with public relations practitioners engaged in this event. The findings suggest that multiple endogenous and exogenous factors, including the social circumstances and the COVID-19 pandemic, are likely to have influenced the public relations efforts supporting the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. The findings further contribute to exploring questions regarding the strategic frame-building process and a new direction of the strategic frames of its promotion for future research.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22840753n21p283

Keywords: strategic framing; frame-building; Paralympic Games; inclusive society; Paralympism; athletes with disabilities; public relations; COVID-19; pandemic

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