A Report on Sexual Violence Journalism in Four Leading Indian English Language Publications Before and After the Delhi Bus Rape
28 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2013 Last revised: 18 Oct 2013
Date Written: June 10, 2013
The Delhi Rape is the most extensively covered rape case in recent Indian history. This report chronicles a media monitoring exercise of rape reporting between January 1, 2012 and August 31, 2012 (See figure 2). The report also examines the three-month period after the Delhi Rape in an empirical analysis of four leading Indian English language publications with a combined circulation of 2,946,340: The Hindu, India Today, The Indian Express, and Tehelka. Rape reporting increased by roughly 30% after the Delhi Rape, with the Delhi Rape taking between 10-20% of the share of rape stories across varying story-lines. Sex crime reporting is best understood by identifying story-lines. Monitoring the Delhi Rape, five story-lines emerged: personal, public outcry, women’s safety, police handling, and legislative. These story-lines enabled us to probe the reporting of rape and sexual violence more deeply with respect to the context under which gender justice was addressed.
In the case of crime reporting, the news agenda is highly impacted by the amount of public attention, both locally and globally, an incident receives. The globalization of the Delhi bus rape intensified the press coverage, and it created a large public space for debate and the venting of anger. Further still, the attention granted by other sources such as news-wire, independent journalists, social media, and civil society organizations also brings fresh perspective to bear on gender justice. To this end, this report works to understand both how the press covers stories of rape, and also asks whether the press provides a corridor to discuss gender justice. Strictly speaking, the Delhi Rape is more than just a gruesome crime; it needs to be understood as a matter of gender justice. Gender justice situates crimes against women within the larger structure of power. The structure of patriarchal power has worked against the interests of women in the way sexual crimes are reported in India and other societies. We have developed a methodological yardstick to better understand the progress the press has made with respect to crimes of gender violence.
Keywords: social media, social justice, media monitoring
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