- freely available
Religions 2018, 9(9), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9090283
- RQ1: Are there differences between the presentation of issues related to Muslims, and those concerning other communities? Are “Muslim issues” specifically framed in terms of the religion and its problems, as opposed to other issues?
- RQ2: Are there specific meanings intended to be created in the presentation of Muslims and Islam?
- RQ3: What are the tropes that emerge in these representations?
- RQ4: What stereotypes do these tropes play into?
- Who are the anchors/hosts and what do they say? What is the vocabulary, tone and tenor they use?
- What does the accompanying text tell us? What do the vocabulary, font size, highlights, and other visual cues tell us?
- Who are the guest speakers invited onto prime-time news panels? Who is chosen to represent the stakeholders?
- What do the headlines say? Do they have an inherent bias?
- Is all news covered with equal ferocity? What do the inclusions and omissions tell us?
Objectivity and Representations
3. Headlines: What Is the Agenda Set and How Is the Audience Primed?
- Hindu—mentioned 31 times
- Hindu is accompanied by the following words: Congdivideshindu, jobless Hindus, Hindu haters, asli Hindu [real Hindu], being Hindu a disadvantage, don’t Hindu girls have rights, Hindu’s don’t count, Hindu Rashtra [Hindu Nation], minority Hindus denied home, Hindu refugees, training to saving Hindus, Hindu Swabhiman [Hindu Pride]: Train kids to fight and shoot.
- Islam—mentioned 14 times
- In each of these cases “Islam” is accompanied by the following words: Islamist Hate, Islamophobia, stop giving “Islamists” a free run, Islamist radicals, brutality, sickening depravity, Islamic Caliphate, Islamic rage, Terror in the name of Islam, Islamists threaten.
- Triple Talaq BANNED—Celebrations For Indian Women (Republic TV)
- Arnab Goswami EXPOSES Love Jihad (Republic TV)
- BAN “Nikah” Sex Racket in Hyderabad (Republic TV)
- CAUGHT: ISIS Converting Hindu Girls For 5 Lakh Rupees (Times Now)
- END Triple Talaq—Most Cruel And Demeaning Form Of Divorce (Times Now)
- Oppose Triple Talaq—23-Year-Old Nasrin Was UNILATERALLY Divorced (Times Now)
- Triple Talaq ban: What’s bad in theology is bad in law? (India Today)
- Banning Triple Talaq: Votebank Politics or Righting A Wrong? (NDTV 24x7)
- Triple Talaq Banned: One Step Closer to Uniform Civil Code? (NDTV 24x7)
- #AbolishTripleTalaq: Closing in On The Quest For Equality? (Times Now)
- Women Allowed in Haji Ali—Big VICTORY, Next Triple Talaq Issue on their Agenda (Times Now)
- Don’t Hindu Girls Have Rights?
4. Semiotics, Discourse, and Semantics: How the Episodes Are Framed
4.1. Trope 1: The Victim Muslim Woman Who Needs to Be Saved from the Muslim Man
- “Primitive. Fake. False unjust religious practices.”
- “[This is the] biggest slap in the face of the likes of All-India Muslim Personal Law Board who have been expecting Indian Muslim women to tolerate triple talaq in 2017. In a secular country like India, horrible practices like this will be put to an end.”
- “I’m not going to be politically correct or communally correct. You must accept defeat. Tomorrow this farcical religious argument you have built to squander the rights of women […].”
- “Join the team that fought for Muslim women’s rights”
- “Why was being anti-women, pro-Muslim?”
- “Is it a Muslim right to burn your wife alive?”
- “Muslims need to be protected from not having a Uniform Civil Code.”
- “1400-year-old regressive practice of triple talaq has been thrown away into the dustbin.”
- “All is not lost, these misogynists say, these sexists, chauvinists say, ‘There is still some hope we can still crush women. Only we’ll take 100 days to crush women.’”
Another strategy that accentuated the stereotype of Muslim women as passive and submissive women is that whenever the issue of “women in Islam” is discussed or reported, women are hardly ever given the chance to express their opinions; hence, they are deprived of preferential access to this discourse, a source of power comparable to social resources.
- “Are women human beings for you or are they a flock of cattle that you do as you please?”
- “A man can gather all the wives he possibly can and reduce them to domestic help but why can’t a Muslim woman do the same?”
- “Why don’t you give Muslim women the freedom of movement?”
- “See, this is what she [a Muslim woman] is having to face to stand up for dignity and equality. She was called every conceivable derogatory term that you can think of by these Muslim patriarchs.”
- “Bohot sahi keh rahin hain aap. Kijye, aapko support karne wale bohot hai” [You are saying the right thing. Do it, do it. There are many to support you.]
- “Doesn’t your blood boil? Islam iski ijazat kaise deta hai?” [How does Islam allow this?]
- “They are for the regressive practice of triple talaq”
- “Viewers, I have a very arrogant man here. Let’s start on a basic premise—men and women are equal.”
- “Why do you [clergymen on the show] get very, very worried when there is a progressive Muslim woman who comes ups and challenges views?”
- “You will not talk to them like that. You treat them like a joke. You will apologize to those women. Take off the mike and leave the show. You either apologize or leave the show. Don’t shamelessly sit. Don’t insult my panelists.”
- “48.1% of Muslim women cannot even read or write their names.”
- “Aap log pareshan kyun hain? Kyunki aapko pata hai ki Shazia, Saba aur Zeenat Shaukat Ali jaisi auratein samne ayengi” [Why are you people worried? Is it because women like Shazia, Saba and Zeenat Shaukat Ali will come forth?]
- “The most archaic law. Most archaic Islamic law, politicians under the garb of secularism have nothing to question it”
- “Islam is discriminating against Muslim women”
- “What Muslim women are enduring in the name of religion”
- “Regressive practices as a result of Muslim personal law. How can that be supported?”
- “Massive victory for gender justice—supreme court strikes down triple talaq in landmark judgment”
- “Who is the one who speaks for Muslim women in India? Is it the women’s groups backed by progressive men or is it these community leaders who see every suggestion for change as an attack on the Muslim community?”
- “It is about gender justice, equality”
- “20 countries abolish triple talaq”
- “Triple talaq unconstitutional”
- “Using triple talaq as a poll plank BJP”
4.2. Trope 2: The Hindu Woman Needs to Be Saved from the Muslim Man
- “When jihadis are going for these girls they do not go with their beards and skull caps and ‘bade bhai ka kurta’ and ‘chote bhai ka pyjama’ [elder brother’s shirt and younger brother’s pants], they go as perfect—as you and me.”
- “Are Hindu women, or non-Muslim women being forcefully converted, radicalized and a fraction of them pushed towards terrorist groups?”
- “Forcefully converted. Lure them into marriage. Pack them off to the Middle East.”
- “Those who survived speak up.”
- “Love jihad is for real and there is a pattern to lure Hindu women to marry Muslim men”
- “Forced, lured, enticed, at conversion centers.”
- “Lured, converted and packed off to Syria”
- “How is this innocent conversion? This is illegal conversion with a jihadi agenda.”
- “Brainwashed! Preaching hate on Hindu gods and Hinduism.”
- “Something dangerous is going on and we need to investigate it.”
- “She accidentally said ‘Inshallah’ at the workplace and she was hounded, lured and consumed by these love jihadis to convert to Islam to be sent to Yemen. Is that consensual conversion or forced conversion?”
- “Lured, thrown into illegal conversion centers”
- “How innocent women were lured and converted”
- “Exposed love jihad-terror link”
- “Hadiya’s father has been fighting a battle against psychological kidnapping.”
- “She confesses she was taught to cut head, ear, eye and nose.”
- “Love or psychological kidnapping?”
- “Was told real Islam is in Saudi and Yemen”
- “Incited hate against Hindus”
- “Taught the idea of jihad and darul Islam”
- “Personal affair vs larger plot”
- “Not everything that Hadiya says can be taken at face value”
- “Where does coercion stop and consent begin”
- “She was getting indoctrinated or brainwashed”
- “Look at the story of Patty Hurst (…) see what the case of Stockholm syndrome can actually mean and see whether there are similarities or not.”
- “Confinement and coercion”
- “NIA Exposes hypnotic conversion”
- “Who runs conversion centers?”
- “Hadiya paraded for photo op”
- “Intensive hypnotic counseling”
- “PFI uses hate to hypnotize”
- “What is actually love jihad? I actually find love jihad most offensive. It’s crass, derogatory.”
- “Kerala Interfaith Marriage”
- “SC: Girls consent is of prime importance”
- “Love Jihad a political gimmick”
4.3. Trope 3: Us vs. Them—Muslims as Not Fully Indian
- “National Song, national anthem insulted”
- “Incited hate against Hindus”
- “Wanted me to leave the country”
- “Taught jihad”
- “Do you think our faith is for sale? Us Hindus?”
- “Are we really going to allow this in our country?”
- “Caught: ISIS Converting Hindus”
- “Survivor Recalls Nightmare”
- “My daughter was told to learn to Quran”
- “My daughter was told to learn Syrian”
- “Radicalization hub exposed”
- “Inside ISIS conversion zone”
- “Young minds poisoned here”
- “ISIS terror recruiters befriend Hindu girls.”
- “Don’t you ever use the word Islamic Law in the context of India, stop dreaming about it.”
- “This gentleman is unhappy in India, he wants the laws to be changed.”
- “I don’t care about your Muslim personal law. No Muslim personal law.”
- “Boodhe, gande, Arab sheikh—ameer, sexually frustrated, perverted, Arab sheikh” [Old, dirty, Arab sheikhs—rich, sexually frustrated, perverted, Arab Sheikhs.].
- “Is it bothering you if I say something about Arab sheikhs. Are you an Arab sheikh? Why do you have a problem? Are you getting tickled if I say something about them?”
- “Boodhe, gande, Arab sheikh. They come from Islamic states. They take them [Indian women] to Saudi and Oman where Islamic law works.”
- “To hell with people like you who say we want Islamic law in this country. Islamic personal law has allowed selling off of little children for short term sex-packages to Arab men.”
- “This is a secular country. Say you want sharia, then you go to one of those Arabic countries where you get a legal sanction to flog women in public. You go join the ISIS where sex slavery is legal. Go to Syria.”
- “I have a huge problem with Islamic personal law and I have a problem with those that don’t have a problem with Islamic personal law because it is this Islamic personal law that has sanctioned the selling off of little girls to old and perverted Arab men.”
5. Hashtags: What Is Guiding the Conversation Flow?
6. Discussion and Conclusions
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. List of Headlines
- From Attacks on Muslims to Christmas: No Country for Minorities?
- Tough Talaq Law: Will It Empower Women?
- Top Court Sends Hadiya to College
- Triple Talaq Banned: One Step Closer to Uniform Civil Code?
- India’s Obsession with Cow: Are We Losing Sight of Real Issues?
- Banning Triple Talaq: Votebank Politics or Righting a Wrong?
- Muslim Body Dares Government: Personal Law vs. Rights?
- From Haji Ali to Shani Temple: Shouldn’t Women Have Equal Rights?
- Does India Need a Uniform Civil Code?
- Kasganj violence: No punishment for communal Katiyar?
- What really happened in Kasganj? BJP hints conspiracy
- Congress questions BJP’s hypocrisy on beef: Janeyu in Gujarat, beef in Karnataka?
- First talaq then mehram: Fight for rights or demonising Muslims?
- Why are patriarchs blocking Triple Talaq Bill?
- Love or Love Jihad in Hadiya case: Can consent have exceptions?
- Operation Conversion Factory: Islamic State a reality in Kerala?
- Zainaba exclusive: Love jihad an RSS-BJP bogey to polarise votes?
- Kerala love jihad ‘victim’ Hadiya first time on camera: Forced conversion or choice?
- Hadiya love jihad case: Politics, or sinister plot?
- Triple talaq ban: What’s bad in theology is bad in law?
- #TripleTalaqOrdinance—PM Modi’s Masterstroke Against Opposition | The Debate with Arnab Goswami
- Biggest Conspiracy to Break India EXPOSED | The Debate with Arnab Goswami
- Hindus Divided for Votes? | The Debate with Arnab Goswami
- Rahul Gandhi Attempts to Break the Hindu Vote? | The Debate with Arnab Goswami
- Why Congress against Triple Talaq Bill? | The Debate with Arnab Goswami
- Is Congress Leading the Anti Triple Talaq Bill Lobby? | The Debate with Arnab Goswami
- Why Did Congress, Owaisi Try Blocking the Triple Talaq Bill? | The Debate with Arnab Goswami
- Why Is India in Denial On “Love Jihad”? | The Debate with Arnab Goswami
- Why Silent on “Bakr Id & Azaan”—Hindus Targeted? | The Debate with Arnab Goswami
- BAN “Nikah” Sex Racket in Hyderabad | The Debate with Arnab Goswami
- Triple Talaq BANNED—Celebrations for Indian Women | The Debate with Arnab Goswami
- Arnab Goswami EXPOSES Love Jihad | The Debate
- Should Triple Talaq Brigade Apologize? | The Debate with Arnab Goswami
- After Triple Talaq, Nikah Halala Under Supreme Court Lens? I The Newshour Debate (27 March)
- Akhila To Hadiya Via ‘Hypnosis’? I The Newshour Debate (11 March)
- Triple Talaq Bill Blocked | The Newshour Debate (4 January)
- Big Face-Off Over Triple Talaq Bill | The Newshour Debate (3 January)
- Quran Above Constitution? | The Newshour Debate (28 December)
- Love Jehad Case: Why the Call to Kill for Hadiya? | The Newshour Debate (28 November)
- Love Jehad Case: ‘Consent’ Is Prime, But Is It ‘Independent’? | The Newshour Debate (27 November)
- ‘Secularists’ Want Muslim Quota, But Block Hindu Equality Push?
- Muslim Quota Threat to Unity? I The Newshour Debate (22 November)
- Triple Talaq: Why Oppose Law to Empower Women? | The Newshour Debate (21 November)
- Is Being Hindu a Disadvantage? | The Newshour Debate (1 November)
- Love Jihad’ Case: Why Oppose NIA Probe? | The Newshour Debate (8 October)
- Why Indulge A Love Jehadi? Kerala’s Shafin Jahan—The Newshour Debate (15 September)
- Refugees or Islamist ‘Radicals’? | The Newshour Debate (5 September 2017)
- Bakra Eid: ‘Belief’ Or ‘Barbarism’? | The Newshour Debate (1 September)
- Triple Talaq Petitioner Ishrat Shamed by Pack Of Patriarchs | The Newshour Debate (29 August)
- Who Will Stand Up for Aneesa? | The Newshour Debate (23 August)
- Don’t Hindu Girls Have Rights? | The Newshour Debate (16 August)
- CAUGHT: ISIS Converting Hindu Girls For 5 Lakh Rupees | The Newshour Debate (23 June)
- #IslamicCaliphateTape: Cowards Target Bharat | The Newshour Debate (13 May)
- #IslamicRageAppeased—Why Give Islamic Rage A Free Reign? | The Newshour Debate (12 May)
- #AbolishTripleTalaq: Closing in on the Quest for Equality? | The Morning Newshour (11 May)
- Khalid Speaks For ‘Traitor’, Shazia Can’t For “Triple Talaq’?: The Newshour Debate (1 March 2017)
- END Triple Talaq—Most Cruel and Demeaning Form of Divorce: The Newshour Debate (8 December)
- From Triple Talaq to Polygamy—Why Gender Discrimination?: The Newshour Debate (10 November)
- Oppose Triple Talaq—23 Year Old Nasrin Was UNILATERALLY Divorced: The Newshour Debate (2 November)
- Women Allowed In Haji Ali—Big VICTORY, Next Triple Talaq Issue?: The Newshour Debate (24 October)
- Government Officially Opposes Triple Talaq: The Newshour Debate (7 October)
- Triple Talaq Via Speed Post Legal in Islam?: The Newshour Debate (24 May 2016)
- Muslim Personal Law above the Constitution?: The Newshour Debate (25 March 2016)
- Should Muslim Personal Law Be Scrap? | One India One Law: The Newshour Debate (5 February 2016)
- Abu-Lughod, Lila. 2013. Do Muslim Women Need Saving? Boston: Harvard University Press, ISBN 9780674725164. [Google Scholar]
- De Saussure, Ferdinand. 1966. General Principles: Course in General Linguistics. New York: McGraw Hill Book Company. [Google Scholar]
- Desai, Meghnad. 2016. Hindu Nationalist History That Calls Muslims “Invaders” and Aryans “Our Own” Is Bogus. Quartz India. March 21. Available online: https://qz.com/643676/hindu-nationalist-history-that-calls-muslims-invaders-and-aryans-our-own-is-bogus/ (accessed on 30 July 2018).
- Entman, Robert M. 1993. Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm. Journal of Communication 43: 51–58. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Erum, Nazia. 2018. Mothering a Muslim. New Delhi: Juggernaut Books, ISBN 9789386228536. [Google Scholar]
- Fadil, Nadia. 2018. Taming the Muslim Woman. The Immanent Frame. Available online: https://tif.ssrc.org/2018/05/24/taming-the-muslim-woman/ (accessed on 31 May 2018).
- Fatmi, Mohammad B. 2016. Why Are Muslims so Backward in India? Is the Community Itself also to Blame? DailyO. February 14. Available online: https://www.dailyo.in/politics/indian-muslims-islam-hindutva-rss-congress-bjp-secularism-amu-jamia-millia-islamia/story/1/9000.html (accessed on 18 July 2018).
- Hall, Stuart. 1997. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: Sage Publishers, vol. 1, pp. 13–75. ISBN 0761954317. [Google Scholar]
- Hall, Stuart. 2003. The Whites of Their Eyes: Racist ideologies and the media. In Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text-Reader. Edited by Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publishing. [Google Scholar]
- Herman, Edward S., and Noam Chomsky. 1988. The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon Books. [Google Scholar]
- Iyengar, Shanto, and Donald R. Kinder. 1987. News That Matters: Television and American Opinion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [Google Scholar]
- Jhally, Sut, ed. 1997. Stuart Hall—Representation and the Media. Northampton: Media Education Foundation, Available online: http://sk.sagepub.com/video/representation-and-the-media-featuring-stuart-hall (accessed on 30 July 2018).
- Kakar, Sudhir. 2007. Indians: Portrait of a People. New Delhi: Penguin Books. [Google Scholar]
- Khalid, Saif. 2017. The Hadiya Case and the Myth of ‘Love Jihad’ in India. Al Jazeera. August 24. Available online: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/08/hadiya-case-myth-love-jihad-india-170823181612279.html (accessed on 30 July 2018).
- Kirmani, Nida. 2016. How Oppressed Are Indian Muslims, a Pakistan-Based Scholar Asks. Her Answer May Surprise You. TheWire.in. August 24. Available online: https://thewire.in/south-asia/how-oppressed-are-muslims-in-india-a-pakistani-scholar-asks-her-answer-may-surprise-you (accessed on 18 July 2018).
- McCombs, Maxwell E., and Donald L. Shaw. 1972. The agenda-setting function of mass media. The Public Opinion Quarterly 36: 176–87. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Mehdi, Zehra. 2017. Phobia of Religion, Religion as Islam: A political argument and a psychoanalytic inquiry of Islamophobia in India. International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 14: 222–44. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Navarro, Laura. 2010. Islamophobia and Sexism: Muslim women in the western mass media. Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge 8: 95–112. [Google Scholar]
- Pandalai, Shruti. 2013. Who Sets the Agenda? Does “Prime Time” Really Pace Policy? the Indian Experience. New Delhi: Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses. [Google Scholar]
- Rana, Munawwar. 2017. India’s Muslims Love Their Country, Those Who Question This Are Traitors. TheWire.in. February 25. Available online: https://thewire.in/culture/indias-muslims-love-their-country-those-who-question-this-are-traitors (accessed on 18 July 2018).
- Said, Edward W. 1981. Islam as News. In Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World. New York: Pantheon Books. [Google Scholar]
- Spivak, Gayatri Chakraborty. 1993. Can the subaltern speak? In Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader. Edited by Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 66–112. [Google Scholar]
- The Wire. 2018. Cobrapost Sting: Big Media Houses Say Yes to Hindutva, Black Money, Paid News. TheWire.in. May 26. Available online: https://thewire.in/media/cobrapost-sting-big-media-houses-say-yes-to-hindutva-black-money-paid-news (accessed on 30 July 2018).
- Van Dijk, Teun A. 1991a. Headlines. In Racism and the Press. London: Routledge, pp. 50–69. [Google Scholar]
- Van Dijk, Teun A. 1991b. Racism and the Press. New York: Routledge. [Google Scholar]
- Van Dijk, Teun A. 1993. Principles of critical discourse analysis. Discourse and Society 4: 249–83. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Van Dijk, Teun A. 1998. Ideology: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, ISBN 1446265099. [Google Scholar]
- Van Dijk, Teun A. 2000. Cognitive Discourse Analysis. Barcelona: Discursos Online, Available online: http://www.discursos.org/unpublished%20articles/cogn-dis-anal.htm (accessed on 30 July 2018).
- Van Dijk, Teun A. 2018. Socio-cognitive Discourse Studies. In The Routledge Handbook of Critical Discourse Studies. Edited by John Flowerdew and John E. Richardson. London: Routledge, ISBN 9781138826403. [Google Scholar]
- Westerståhl, Jörgen. 1983. Objective news reporting: General premises. Communication Research 10: 403–24. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
See Appendix A.
Times Now devoted eight episodes to triple talaq and eight to love jihad since 2017; Republic devoted seven and three, respectively. In comparison, NDTV 24x7 discussed triple talaq in three episodes and love jihad once, whereas India Today covered triple talaq three times and love jihad five times.
India Today—“People’s Court”, 22 August 2017.
NDTV 24x7—“Left Right and Center”, 13 October 2016.
NDTV 24x7—“Left, Right and Center”, 6 February 2017.
NDTV 24x7—Left, Right and Center, 30 October 2017.
The Cobrapost sting files can be found here: https://www.cobrapost.com/blog/Operation-136:-Part-1/1009 and the full story on the operation can be read on The Wire here: https://thewire.in/media/cobrapost-sting-big-media-houses-say-yes-to-hindutva-black-money-paid-news.
© 2018 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).