It is not enough to locate the issue of exclusion and marginalization in the classic binaries of class, caste and religious majority-minority framework. Given the high level of mediation in our social world, media are deeply implicated in the creation, dissemination and perpetuation of these categories. More specifically, news media in producing, organizing and controlling the sense-making aspect of events that structure the world we live in, not only effect our understanding of reality but play a decisive role in generating levels of political, social and cultural exclusions and new forms of marginalization in allowing certain groups greater representation while denying similar media access to others. Indeed, many of these excluded populations remain on the fringes of society as much as they do of the media lens with each feeding into the other. This proposed project looks at this as not a matter of mere coincidence but a major area of social enquiry that needs to be calibrated and analysed if we are to address issues of inclusion, equal citizenship rights and social justice to all sections of society. The fact that the media images are so powerful in structuring social reality makes media an ideological and a highly political force in contemporary society.
The project has a three-fold objective:
a) To examine the portrayal of minorities in the Press to study the relationship between media, minorities and their exclusion and marginalization
b) To investigate into the reasons for such stereotypical, distorted and under-representation of minorities in the media as made empirically evident from the data so collected
c) To make policy recommendations to make the Press more plural and diverse.
The following methods have been used:
a) Content analysis of newspapers from the two regions
b) Discourse analysis of editorials from the selected papers as in a) above
c) Focus Group Discussions conducted in the two regions