Screening the Public Sphere
Media and Democracy in India
By Saima Saeed
Routledge India – 2013 – 448 pages
Routledge India – 2013 – 448 pages
For centuries, democracy and development have steered the imagination of governments, citizens, intelligentsia and policymakers alike. Democracy without free media is a contradiction, while development without democracy is futile. Highlighting the power and significance of contemporary media, this book deconstructs news and news-making on Indian television. In exploring the concepts of ‘sense-making’ and ‘meaning-generation’, it examines how news and the dissemination of information and opinion influence the public sphere, participatory democracy, citizenship and civil society. Providing an original interpretation of the paradigmatic shifts in news content and newsroom practices, this book focuses on changing ownership patterns, increasing ‘entertainmentalization’ of news and the resultant ‘developmental reportage deficit’. At the same time, it confronts the uneasy and critical consequences of commercialization and rising sensationalism in news media. Finally, it discusses the role of Public Service Broadcasting, journalistic ethics, objectivity, and the politics of language and ideology in the media today, pointing to the need for greater diversity of content on the one hand and an emphasis on public interest in media policy-making, on the other.
Drawing upon comprehensive empirical data, the democracy–media–development relationship is demonstrated through critical analyses of the media’s coverage of recent news events. This includes exhaustive content examination of news programmes on all major news channels of India, surveys with media experts and news professionals by way of questionnaires, and interviews with the audience to gauge the impact of media content on their understanding of social, political and economic issues. This volume will be especially useful to those in journalism, media and communication studies, as also to students of political science, sociology and economics.
List of Tables. List of Figures. List of Abbreviations. Preface. Acknowledgements. Part I. Social Theory and Contours of Media: Designing News as a Body of Knowledge Introduction: Four Elements Towards a Social Theory of the Media. 1. Citizenship and the Right to Communicate 2. Public Knowledge: Dialectics of Constructivism and Realism 3. Criticality, Truth-telling and Accountability: The Question of Legitimacy 4. Power, Ideology and the Production of Meaning 5. Cataloguing the News Media: Notes on Research Design. Part II. Political Economy of Television News in India: Ownership Patterns and Content 6. Broadcasting History in India 7. A Political Economy Tradition of Television News 8. TV News Ownership Patterns in India: 1991–2012 9. Ownership Patterns and Its Impact on News Values and Content 10. From the UK Phone Hacking Scandal to the Radia Tapes: Professional Practices, Objectivity and Truthiness in the Newsroom 11. Breaking on Anna: How TV News Lost out on Criticality. Part III. Broadcasting in the Service of the Public: Televising Bharat 12. Public Service Broadcasting as Value and the Value of Public Service Broadcasting 13. The Politics of Public Service Broadcasting in India: Media Policy Ad Hocism and Its Pitfalls 14. The Privatization of Public Good: Auditing the Developmental Reportage Deficit on Indian Television. Part IV. Television News and Civic Engagement: Implications for Democracy and Development 15. News Consumption and Public Knowledge 16. Television News, Political Participation and Development 17. News as if Citizens Matter: Paradigmatic Shifts in the Four Elements of a Social Theory of the Media. Notes. Select Bibliography. Appendix. About the Author. Index
Saima Saeed is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.