Over the past few years, the electronic media, as represented by the internet version of print media and independent blogs of journalists, has become a major player in the coverage of incidents related to violence against women. While this has brought forward issues of violence and specifically rape prominently into the public sphere, the media portrayal of women has often been as victims or victims who are somehow responsible for the violence against them. Such portrayal has been repeatedly challenged by feminists. Using data from 572 national and international English media reports for a six-month period (from December 2012 to April 2013) the coverage of the protests about the 2012 case of gang rape and eventual death of Jyoti Singh Pandey in India’s capital city, New Delhi, is examined in this chapter. Drawing from past research, three main frames are discerned in the portrayal of women in the reports: mainstreaming gender, endangered woman, and the ungendered woman. Media portrayals of these three frames by three broadly categorized actors most prominently covered by the media reports are analyzed: activists, state representatives or political actors, and ordinary citizens. The findings suggest that while some reports allude to women’s agency and rights particularly when they cover feminist activists, women’s agency is marginalized in the debates around safety and protection for women when other actors (such as state representatives or political actors, and ordinary citizens) are considered. Indian women’s rights have been reduced to passive messages negating the broader politics of the contemporary women’s movement.
We thank the editors for their comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this chapter.
Chaudhuri, S., Krishnan, P. and Subramaniam, M. (2018), "Mainstreaming Gender, Endangered, Ungendered? Analysis of Media Reports of the 2012 Case of Rape in India*", Segal, M.T. and Demos, V. (Ed.) Gender and the Media: Women’s Places (Advances in Gender Research, Vol. 26), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 125-140. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1529-212620180000026009
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