Mediated Publics And Machines Of Democracy

Project Overview


This research project aims at explaining differences in news content with regard to factors inherent in the political system, political culture, media system and media culture of a country. To that end, the proposed project will develop a new model for explaining news content from a cross-regional perspective. The underlying assumption is that differing structural conditions favour different patterns of journalistic behaviour and values. Based on the results of this analysis, the project also aims at assessing the quality of news coverage in selected regions in India with regard to normative standards for democratic quality of news. Do leading regional news organizations offer a broader range of viewpoints than the metro? Do leading regional news organizations adopt a more critical, or even adversarial, stance to government than in metro channels? Do they present political news in a more dramatized, sensational fashion than in metro? Have news organizations in regions become more similar over time because of commercial pressure? This analysis is a challenging task, since there is no uniform consensus on the meaning of democracy across the countries. While the various models have important features in common, each of them carries different normative expectations on citizens, politicians and the news media. Which model of democracy a country ‘realizes’ within its political communication arrangements is not dependent only on the behaviour of its citizens or elected representatives. Of equal, or greater, importance is what kind of democracy the news media contribute to in their daily political affairs coverage. The question of what model of democracy a national media system assists and endorses lies at the heart of this study.

  • Media Pluralism in India : In the first phase effort will be made to study the media contents in the reselected regions of the country through studying Television News. The idea is to assess plurality of sources, plurality of voices, plurality of carriage. By studying plurality of voices, we can decipher the nature of publics shown and heard, the way they are shown and heard and finally, how the issues of such community are framed. Plurality of sources will demystify the monopoly of source. Finally, rigorous content analysis will reveal the way these voices are shown and heard in a Democracy.
  • Media and Diversity Index : Since the first stage of the research will collect various informations, some of them might not be useful in the first stage of the report. These data and informations across the regions will be useful in the second stage to build an index. Through pilot study the index will be experimented and verifiability may be assessed. The Idea is to develop Media as a marker of Democracy.
  • Media Regulation and Democratisation in India : In this phase we would discuss issues of inclusions and exclusions that have to do with media power and access, of how media opens itself to some groups and publics and is closed to certain others. This then would imply that we study the existing media scenario, media ecology, legal and regulatory frameworks which are instrumental to such exclusions and exclusions in an attempt to suggest/ recommend democratic possibilities that can make media more open to groups formerly in the periphery of media representation. This involves issues of not just media and its role in a democracy but a felt need for greater media democratization.