© Media Watch 9 (1) 37-51, 2018
ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818
Media Narratives from the Margins: A Framing Analysis of Press Coverage of Conflict-Induced Violence in Indian State Assam
SYED MURTAZA ALFARID HUSSAIN
Assam University, India
The northeastern state of Assam in India has witnessed long years of armed conflict waged by the ULFA and other militant outfits against the Indian state, and intermittent identity struggles by different ethnic groups and communities demanding greater autonomy and constitutionally guaranteed privileges. The 2000s political landscape of Assam saw several spectacular incidents of violence, of a scale and magnitude that attracted not only national, but also global media attention. This study examines the press coverage of three such spectacular conflict-induced violent events by four frontline English dailies, in order to draw definitive inferences about how the national and the regional press interpreted, constructed and presented these violent incidents in the country’s periphery, to their readers. The findings clearly establish the ways in which the press constructs issues from the nation’s margins in the way they define events, actors, causes and effects of violent political conflicts.
Keywords: Conflict, cumulative prominence score, media framing, Northeast India
Alali, A.O. & Eke, K.K. (Eds.) (1991). Media Coverage of Terrorism: Methods of Diffusion. USA: Sage Publications.
Baruah, S. (2006). Durable Disorder: Understanding the Politics of Northeast India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Bhaumik, S. (2007). Insurgencies in India’s North East: Conflict, Co-option and Change. East West Center, Washington Working Papers, Washington D.C.
Blum-Kulka, Shoshanna and Tamar Liebes (1993). Frame Ambiguities: Intifada Narrativization of the Experience by Israeli Soldier. In Akiba A. Cohen and Gadi Wolfsfeld (Eds.), Framing the Intifada: People and Media, 27-52. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.
D’Angelo, P. & Kuypers, J. A. Eds. (2010). Doing News Framing Analysis: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives. London: Routledge.
De Vreese, C. H. (2005). News Framing: Theory and Typology. Information Design Journal, 13(1): 51-62.
Druckman, J. N. (2010). Foreword. In P. D’Angelo & J. A. Kuypers (Eds.), Doing news framing analysis: Empirical and theoretical perspectives. New York: Routledge.
Entman, R.M. (2004). Projections of Power: Framing News, Public Opinion and US Foreign Policy. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London.
Entman, R. M., & Rojecki, A. (1993). Freezing out the Public: Elite and Media Framing of the U.S. Anti-Nuclear Movement. Political Communication, 10,155-173.
Gamson, W.A., et al. (1992). Media Images and the Social Construction of Reality. Annual Review of Sociology, 18: 373-93.
Goffman. E. (1974). Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Hertog, J. K., & McLeod D. M. (2001). A Multiperspectival Approach to Framing Analysis: A Field Guide. In Reese, S.D. et al. (Ed.), Framing Public Life: Perspectives on Media and Our Understanding of the Social World (pp.139-161). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Hester, B. & Gibson, R. (2003). The economy and second-level agenda setting: A time series analysis of economic news and public opinion about the economy. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 80(1), 73-90.
Holsti, O.R. (1969). Content Analysis for the Social Sciences and Humanities. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley Publishing.
Hussain, S.M.A (2016). Measuring Prominence through Cumulative Prominence Score: An analysis of media coverage of Assam Serial Blasts. Journal of Content, Community & Communication, 3(2):21-30.
Hussain, W. (2005). ULFA talks tough with bombings. South Asia Intelligence Review. IV/24.
Iyengar, S. (1991). Is Anyone Responsible? How Television Frames Political Issues. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kern, M., Just, M. & Norris, P. (2003). The Lessons in Framing Terrorism. In Norris, P., Kern, M. & Just, M. (Eds.) Framing Terrorism: The News Media, the Government, and the Public, pp. 281–302. New York: Routledge.
Matthes, J., & Kohring, M. (2008). The Content Analysis of Media Frames: Toward Improving Reliability and Validity. Journal of Communication, 58, 258-279.
Media Coverage of the Darfur Conflict in Sudanese and Non-Sudanese Media: A quantitative and qualitative analysis (2009). Report published by IMS & Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt.
Moeller, Susan D. (2009). Packaging Terrorism: Co-opting the News for Politics and Profit. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Misra, U. (2009). ULFA: Beginning of the End. Economic & Political Weekly, XLIV/52.
Nicole, Y.L.F. (2009). Framing Analysis of a Conflict: War/Peace Journalism. Journal of the South East Asia Research Centre for Communications and Humanities, 1(1): 17-32.
Ninan, S. (2009). The Ethics of Conflict Coverage. Infochange News & Features. Retrieved from http://infochangeindia.org/agenda/reporting-conflict/the-ethics-of-conflict-coverage.html
Ninan, S. (2009). Reporting Assam’s Ethnic Cauldron. Retrieved from http://www.thehoot.org/web/home/story.php?storyid=4118&mod=1&pg=1§ionId=22&valid=true
Nitz, M., & H. West. (2004). Framing of news stories during a presidential campaign cycle: The case of Bush-Gore in election 2000. In The Environmental Communication Yearbook, by S. L. Senecah, 99–134. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Norris, P., Kern, M. & Just, M. eds. (2003). Framing Terrorism: The News Media, the Government and the Public. London, New York: Routledge.
O’Keeffe, A. (2007). Media and Discourse Analysis. Retrieved from www.dspace.mic.ul.ie
Pan, Z. & Kosicki, G.M. (1993). Framing Analysis: An Approach to News Discourse. Political Communication. 10(1): 55-75.
Papacharissi, Z. & Oliviera, M. F. (2008). News frames terrorism: A Comparative Analysis of Frames Employed in Terrorism Coverage in US and UK newspapers. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 13(1): 52
Putnam, L. L. & Shoemaker, M. (2007). Changes in Conflict Framing in the News Coverage of an Environmental Conflict. Journal of Dispute Resolution. 1(10): 1-10.
Reese, S. D. (2007). The Framing Project: A Bridging Model for Media Research Revisited. Journal of Communication, 57, 148–154.
Riffe, D., Lacy, S., & Fico, F. (2005). Analyzing Media Messages: Using Quantitative Content Analysis in Research. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Rodriguez, L. & Dimitrova, D.V. (2011). The Levels of Visual Framing. Journal of Visual Literacy. 30(1): 48-65.
Scheufele, D. A., & Tewksbury, D. (2007). Framing, Agenda-setting, and Priming: The Evolution of Three Media Effects Models. Journal of Communication, 57(1), 9–20.
Semetko, H. A., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2000). Framing European Politics: A Content Analysis of Press and Television News. Journal of Communication, 50(2), 93–109.
Tankard, J. W. (2008). The Empirical Approach to the Study of Media Framing. In Reese, S. D. et al. (Eds.), Framing Public Life: Perspectives on Media and our Understanding of the Social World. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Tuchman, G. (1978). Making News: A Study in the Construction of Reality. New York: The Free Press.
Van Dijk, T.A., (1988). News Analysis: Case Studies of International and National News in the Press. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Verghese, B. G. (1996). India’s Northeast Resurgent: Ethnicity, Insurgency, Governance, Development. New Delhi: Konark.
Dr. Syed Murtaza Alfarid Hussain is a senior assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communication at Assam Central University, Silchar, India. In 2006, Dr. Hussain was awarded with a British Council Fellowship and attended a short-term training programme on conflict reporting at Cardiff University in Wales and Belfast in Northern Ireland. In 2008, he was selected as a Rotary scholar to attend a six-month course on Peace and Conflict Studies at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. His research interest is media framing research and is currently supervising scholar in the areas of social media and political communication, human-computer interaction for development (HCI4D), mediatization, media literacy, and film studies.