Religious Assertion and Media Polarization in Indian News Media

By: Subhajit Paul   Uttam Kr. Pegu  

This discourse emphasizes the political economy of the news media in India. The election of the National Democratic Alliance spearheaded by the Bharatiya Janata Party to the center in the 2014 general elections led to an indisputable shift in the middle ground of public opinion in favor of the majoritarian pro-Hindutva sentiment in India. The idea of the Nation that the Rashtriya Samaj Sevak, a right-wing organization, of which the Bharatiya Janata Party is a political arm, is based on the pretext of the othering of certain communities whom they consider unfit to be part of the cultural identity of India. Drawing on inferences from the literature it will not be wrong to comment that the news media in India owing to the influences of the present Ideological State Apparatus has been contributing to the divisive politics of the respective parties in and out of power. This study investigates the dominant discourses in the prime time debates of two English News Channels with highest Television Rating Points (TRPs) across eight weeks before the elections. The content of the debates is analyzed through the frame of Van Dijk’s Ideological Square in order to understand the process of the ‘othering’ of specific communities. The timeliness of this study is particularly significant as the 2019 general elections are scheduled in the first quarter of the year and as such vote-bank politics, innate nature of Indian politics is going to play out with political parties using the media extensively for political gains.

Secularism, Media, Pluralism, Religion, Nation
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Subhajit Paul

Research Scholar, Department of Mass Communication, Tezpur University, India

Uttam Kr. Pegu

Associate Professor, Tezpur University, India