ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Popular Culture and Caste: The Three Indias

Mainstream media content in India tends to reflect the dominant character of the people who own, work in and consume it, and either by default or design tend to invisiblise the sizeable number of Dalit, minority, Other backward castes and indigenous population who together make the overwhelming numerical majority in the country. These sections do figure in the media but are stereotypically depicted as poor, as victims, villains, ugly, etc. However, the marginalised sections constitute a large and diverse group which in recent years has found its voice in the aftermath of traumatic experiences like the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula. The advent of social media, falling prices of smartphones and data also disrupted the gatekeeping of content by traditional media houses and enabled the Dalits and OBC young people to access technology and access audiences which consumed content – music, news, entertainment – to which mainstream media did not cater, thus democratising access to media and lowering thresholds and bringing fresh talent to create content and give voice to a large but invisiblised marginalised audience.

Artists and Critical Presence: Beyond Dalit as a Representation

The article attempts to examine the idea of critical presence in opposition to representational realm by examining the presence of two Dalit actors from Malayalam film industry: (the late) Kalabhavan Mani and Vinayakan, in Indian media. Instead of focusing on their characters and films, this article seeks to explore the possibilities opened up by these actors through their critical presence in the industry though they differ in their approach.

The Central Media Accreditation Guidelines, 2022

Asserting control on journalists is aimed at fostering a pliant press and diminishing accountability.

A Crisis of Identity

Current media reportage of sexual assault cases in India not only violates journalistic norms but also gravely impacts the victim’s right to privacy. Against the backdrop of the Kathua gang rape and the #MeToo movement, this paper argues that the law surrounding the identification of sexual assault victims must be amended to help better secure justice for victims, while also ensuring that their dignity is safeguarded. Adult victims ought to be granted statutory agency to speak out regarding instances of sexual violence they have faced although separate guidelines are required for the reporting of child sexual assault. Additionally, the ethical guidelines governing media reportage of sexual violence must be revisited. With respect to #MeToo, while media houses should report accusations, they are also required to ensure that pronouncements of guilt are not being made

Charisma Through Communication: Comparing Modi's Media Strategy to Nehru and Indira

This paper looks at how Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi used traditional media–radio and print–and their communication styles. It then goes on to examine Narendra Modi’s use of media and his ways of communication, drawing comparisons with the Congress when it was dominant. The paper concludes by arguing that though there are certain continuities in the use of mass media in the two eras, the changes are equally significant.

Upper-caste Domination in India’s Mainstream Media and Its Extension in Digital Media

Empirical data from the last two-and-a-half decades tells stories of upper-caste hegemony and lack of lower-caste representation in Indian media. After the advent of digital media, and especially after the proliferation of social media and content-sharing platforms, Dalit–Bahujan professionals and many amateur journalists started their own websites and video channels, and Dalit–Bahujan intellectuals have their footprints on social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The rising phenomenon of Dalit–Bahujan media in the digital space and their success or failure in democratising Indian media is examined.

Problematic Ownership Patterns: The Evolution of the Television Distribution Networks in India

TV distribution is riddled with political ownership and the emergence of near-monopolies in the languages, states, and metros’ markets. There are instances of cross-media ownership among the national cable companies. Such information is either deeply embedded, or available in a non-transparent manner.

Mapping and Measuring Media Ownership and Control

A response to the paper “Mapping the Power of Major Media Companies in India” (EPW, 21 July 2018) by Anuradha Bhattacharjee and Anushi Agrawal highlights its inability to analytically explain the construct of “media market,” the consequent mischaracterisation of the extant scholarship on the Indian media industry, and engages with the gaps and inconsistencies in collating empirical details in the paper.

Ghoul: Challenging the Category of the ‘Nationalist Muslim’

The Netflix web series Ghoul provides an alternative to the stereotypical representation of the Muslim figure in Hindi cinema through its central protagonist and her dilemmas.

Selling the Fourth Estate: How Free is Indian Media?

A reading list examining the state of freedom of press in contemporary times through EPW’s archives.

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