A Question of Representation

Anand, S.
March 2005
Nieman Reports;Spring2005, Vol. 59 Issue 1, p67
This article criticizes the insensitive reporting of the tsunami disaster both by the television and print media in India. This is due to the fact that print and visual media in the country do not believe in the principle of diversity. The Indian newspaper establishment does not even acknowledge the non-representation of certain communities as an issue. Correspondents who reported the tsunami had almost never stepped into the ghettoized fishing settlements affected by the natural disaster. The large presence of international and national nongovernmental organizations impacted the nature of media reporting in the country. However, the perception of urban nuclear families of an orphan as being a child without parents is at odds with the community care that such children tend to get in such fishing communities. For the media, the orphans were part of the human-interest angle. While covering many aspects of the tsunami, there are certain topics about which India's media have been almost silent. When India rejected offers of foreign aid, there was hardly any analysis done of such decision. There were muted reportage of the nuclear installations along the coasts not having tsunami-preparedness initiatives.


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