As the world becomes more globalized, mass media also become instruments for many people to empower and distort the minds of billion people across the world. It is a surprise that we lived in the most interconnected era where communication could occur in less than a millisecond but there are still conflicts everywhere. The problem could be the result of the failure in encoding and decoding process from either sender and receivers, media creator encode a message with a unique style while mass audiences interpret the message from the creator vastly depends on variables.

   The main issue that causes miscommunication controversy is mostly from the decoding process, a process which text, picture, or any media translate into a personal form of the message, from the receiver. However, the Encoding process from sender could potentially make interpreting vastly impossible to control the exact message from the sender with various factors from a sender that might cause ambiguity to the audience. Still, it could be referred from the encoding and decoding model by Stuart Hall, the receiver might not have the same background or knowledge as a sender causing different connotation towards the same media content. Knowledge framework from either sender and receiver could affect sender message formation process, encoding, as well as receiver message, interpret process, decoding, also varies on the receiver’s background and status in society.

Encoding/ Decoding Communication Model, Stuart Hall.

As we proceed to the next factors, political correctness, language, and action that could be offensive to others especially those relating to gender and races should be avoided,  plays a big role in many online controversial drama topics. Either way, it is still programme as ‘meaningful’ discourse, it is widely controversial talking topics regardless of the positivity and negativity on comments from the online community.

Moreover,  cases studies will be not also a guideline to illustrate how it happens and why but also shows how the issues widen people perspective.

Case studies (Thailand)

Talk-with-toey Tonight show, a comedy talk show.
EP.22 from Talk-with-toey ONE NIGHT cause outrage internet criticism.

The Thai variety talk show, Talk-with-Toey Tonight (now rebranded as Talk-with-Toey ONE NIGHT), was recently attacked from audiences those who interpret the message that sender wanted to mock up and stereotyping various English accents.  In one of the episode, Pru paiya and Nat Sakdatorn has been a special guest. Pru paiya is women role model and a Thai ambassador for UNCHR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Nat Sakdatorn is a singer graduated from Havard University, Cambridge, Massachusett. The problem occurs in a part of a show that is called international news which got deleted when the drama occurred, an activity that let the show host and the guest to speak English in different accents; American, British, Japanese, Singaporean, Thai, to name a few. Those issues are effective when speaking Thai accent which make some people furious since they mocking Thai accent up. Some group understands the message that the host intended to send. Still, it is not the first time that the show had decided to the television producer choose to present.  

Nicole Theriault reading news in various English accent.

However, in 2015, a section of the show, International News read by a 46-year-old Thai singer Nicole Theriault, trying to read a news in English in various accent along with the show host, Niti Chaichitatorn. That episode received many positive feedbacks from audiences, commenting about how expert she is by speaking various accents and sound so similar to the original accent.

Although, the latest episode in 2018 that try the similar approach of the International news section turn out an opposite side, viewers attack the show host, Prupaiya, and the male-singer Nat Sakdatorn. Negatives comment were spread through all platform of social media especially Twitter.

Extremely negative comment, showing disappointment towards two celebrities of unresponsive action

“ปู ไปรยา-ณัฐ ศักดาทร” เจอดราม่า ชาวเน็ตไม่ขำล้อเลียนสำเนียงอังกฤษคนเอเชีย

โดยผู้ใช้ทวิตเตอร์รายหนึ่งระบุว่า “ผิดหวังกับ ณัฐ ศักดาทร ปู ไปรยา (ทูตunhcr) ป๋อมแป๋มและรายการที่ดูถูกสำเนียงภาษาอังกฤษชาติอื่น …


After receive a backlash, the TV host gave a press conference clarifies the actual message from the TV host is that accent does not matter when it comes to communication in other countries, people don’t mind about sender accents as long as it communicable and receiver understand what sender is trying to convey. Some people might believe that people that can speak in different accent are competent. In terms of Political correctness view, it has been infringed since the video itself might offend to groups of people who tend to take this issue seriously.

Niti chaichitathorn, TV host, apologize on behalf of the show towards the outrage section.

Because different countries have different accents. Thais don’t believe it that way, they tend to have a certain picture of how people should speak and interact, which is why some attackers didn’t saw it as a joke but as a racist content that the host is making fun of other nation accents.

To throw back in 2015 with Nicole case and Pu priya in 2018 case while the different feedback was perceived it can be related to the generation gap of people in the society of different beliefs and thoughts between the young and the elder as well as the background they were accustomed to has also greatly influence on a person judgement.

The content is meaningful discourse because it has been controversially talked across social platforms negatively. The problem occurred from decoding part since the encoder clearly stated that the section that has been controversially criticized is for a joke and don’t take it seriously, the decoder might missed the notice before watching the show.

Case Studies (International Perspective, Dolce & Gabbana)

Even in the Thai talk showcase ended up with only online dramas showing disappointment towards the host. In another case, China, the dramas is not only stopped with online criticism but it also triggers the brand loyal customer and ordinary people to easily despise the brand itself, sparks a number of celebrity and customers to throw their product away.

The case occurred last year, a luxury Italian fashion brand, Dolce & Gabbana, displayed on how significant role on Mass Media Miscommunication could potentially destroy the whole brand reputation. The case occurred when Dolce & Gabbana launch a fashion advertising which mocking up Chinese girl trying to eat Italian food with a chopstick clumsy gesture, the advertisement is primarily targeted to Chinese customers, create massive discomfort among Chinese consumers towards the brand. The advertisement has been controversially criticized in terms of creating stereotype towards Chinese people on various Chinese social media, most noticeably on Instagram.

The advertisement angered thousand of Chinese from racism

The situation was intensified by the brand co-owner Stefano Gabbana private text on Instagram, the message critically emphasizes the stereotypical comment about eating a meal with only chopsticks, dog meat as a meal towards, also insult China and the people of China of being ignorant dirty smelling mafia.

Direct message from Dolce&Gabbana co-founder intensified the situation.

Later the viral, Stefano Gabbana posted the screenshot picture with the text “not me” and posted on Instagram with a caption claiming his account has been hacked. Additionally, the official Instagram account posted the picture sincerely apologize towards the people of China and make a statement that Stefano’s account, brand co-founder, has been hacked. As well as the youtube video posted by the Dolce Gabbana account.

official announcement from Dolce&Gabbana instagram account that it has been hacked so as the co-founder Stefano account.
Apologize vdieo from Dolce Gabbana

Subsequently, the advertisement and the co-founder message cause numbers of celebrity and people to boycott Dolce and Gabbana. Overall, The damage is catastrophe towards the brand;  a fashion event that will be held in Shanghai has to be canceled, online shopping website removed all Dolce & Gabbana products from its website among the backlash over the advertisement on social media.

Even though the apologize message has been published in a various platform, particularly online. Still, the Chinese still not buy an apology from the two brand co-founder. Moreover, the incident sparks a more intense situation across all platform of online and offline. One case is that people printed the screenshot with the text “not me” and stick it in front of Dolce & Gabbana stores across China. Other cases, people made a parody version of the advertisement that mock western people eating Chinese with a knife and fork with the caption “don’t buy Dolce & Gabbana”.      


There are two perspectives towards the communication problem; encoding process, a sender, Dolce & Gabbana, form an advertisement without looking at the customer demographics causes ambiguous message to interpret, decoding process, framework of knowledge plays a big role on how people should judge the advertisement, without any the notice before watching an advertisement, receiver come up with their own assumption towards the interpretation. The content is meaningful discourse since Chinese take it seriously towards the racist advertisement.

Case study(International Perspective, Air Asia)

Air Asia Billboard Advertisement promote a direct flight from Brisbane to Bangkok on The bus in Australia. This action was have been posted on the twitter account name @MelLiszewski. She has been posted on her personal Twitter account as about #SEXUALISATION, and #SEXUALTOURLISM. Melinda, she also works as a member of the campaign about sexualization.

Regarding to Melinda’s decode, the message base on her framework knowledge. The meaningful discourse of this advertisement gets to interpret in different ways. In her perspective, she said that this Get off things are likely to be mean as a sexual thing. Besides that Thailand got research in 2016 that 250,000 of people were traveling to Thailand for buying women that are a sex worker.

From the sender message formation view, Air Asia is a popular airline in Thailand, they just promote this advertising for Australia people that they already have a flight that can fly from Brisbane to Bangkok.

However, Australian decoded the message that this “Get off in Thailand” are mean to intercourse. According to the foreigner point of view that Thailand has a lot of prostitute women because some part of Thailand is very open about this job. Out of 250,000 people, about 35,000 are Australian people that buying these women in Thailand. So, the framework of knowledge made they see our country as a sex tourism country because the media and the information that they have been given.  

In Thai people opinion they didn’t think about the vocabulary that can be mean as bad as that because in our knowledge, “Get off” means to leave that place, we didn’t think that it can be mean in that sexual ways. In the political correctness it offense Thai people as it is using language, and cause other people to misunderstand.

Some people that have been comment on @MelLiszewski twitter account, they have various different aspects about toward the vocabulary. Such as Jon Mack have a comment about this action just only a mistaking in English, but on the other hand, twitter account name Open Kitchen Chiang Rai said sarcastically about the Ethic Airline.

 People were starting to digging a language mistake in this airline company. As we have decode by those pictures we also truly understand why they think like that. Some content, words, or picture is inappropriate to just promote the flight. Maybe the airline content creator isn’t carefully thought about the effect that will cause this huge problem.

The company has apologised for the mistake that they made, and also quickly put down all the billboard away. But still, people think that it not unsuitable. By a power of media that polarization the angle of people that have toward this situation.


Various communication controversy occurred in many form, cross-culture communication is one of them which could potentially causes misunderstood between cultures. Framework of knowledge, Political Correctness, and Background are some of the factors that influence the media which cause different judgement towards the same media pieces. Media literacy has become a big factors that dictates judgement on media more than ever, people need to be open minded towards comment from people with different backgrounds, accept the variety cultures and perspective could improve our understanding in certain issue or conflict. From the article, it is certainly clear that sender needs to learn about receivers demographics, in order to encode the message correctly in media and avoid dramas or backlash from the receivers. Sender has to be carefully thought before encoding the message before causing a catastrophe event towards society.


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