Mass Media and the Construction of the Environment: A Discourse Analysis of Environmental News in Orissa’s Newspapers

Mishra, Maitreyee (2012) Mass Media and the Construction of the Environment: A Discourse Analysis of Environmental News in Orissa’s Newspapers. In: 21th AMIC Annual Conference on “Forty Years of Media and Communication in Asia: Retrospect, Introspect and Prospects.” , 11th-14th July 2012,, Concorde hotel,Shah Alam, Malaysia.. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The East Indian state of Orissa (Odisha) has witnessed several changes to its environment in the last few decades, with frequented natural disasters such as droughts, cyclones and floods, widespread agricultural decline, coastal erosion and rising temperatures. While the government’s policies have been bent on opening the state’s rich natural resources to national and international industrial houses, the state’s natural environment continues to deteriorate as a result of rapid industrial development, resulting in massive deforestation, destruction of the traditional homes of its tribal people, contamination of water bodies and other forms of ecological destruction. The mainstream and entertainment media are the most important sources of information on the environment (Cox, 2006). The mass media play a pivotal role in the creation of our understanding of the natural world and the environment through their representations of ecological change, environmental risks and disasters. Studies by Mishra (2010) show a general lack of interest in environmental reporting in Orissa’s newspapers, and mass media leanings towards government policies on industrial development. Given on-going environmental challenges in the state, the media have a greater responsibility in spreading awareness and shaping public opinion towards environmental issues. There are 41 known newspapers published in Orissa in the Oriya language (Mahapatra, 2004) (this figure is likely to have gone up as of 2012), one Orissa-based English newspaper and four national dailies with an Orissa edition. This paper analyses the construction of Orissa’s environment in two national dailies, Times of India and New Indian Express in order to understand how the mass media create notions of nature (construct/reconstruct the natural environment) and how they deal with ecological destruction, environmental risk and disasters. Times of India is the most-read English newspaper in the country with a readership of 7.47 million (Indian Readership Survey, 2011). Both the Orissa editions of New Indian Express and Times of India each dedicate four pages to news and features from Orissa. This paper uses discourse analytic methods to explore how nature, the environment, in specific Orissa’s environment and ecological changes are represented in the above mentioned newspapers, thus looking to provide a deeper understanding of India’s and Orissa’s relationship with its environment. The paper thus analyses and looks at the creation, construction and representation of nature, ecological spaces and socio-political identities of those who are dependent on a given natural environment, while also looking at the depiction of ecological change, including climatic change, in the state’s newspapers and national dailies.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: environmental change, discourse analysis, mass media in Odisha/Orissa, indigenous people,
Subjects: Communication > MIC Manipal
Depositing User: MIC Library
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2012 09:44
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2012 09:44
URI: http://eprints.manipal.edu/id/eprint/77024

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