Media Images of Pakistan’s Hostility toward India: A Study of Four Newspapers during 2001–2002

Date01 December 2015
Published date01 December 2015
Subject MatterArticles
1 Assistant Professor, Political Science, Panjab University Regional Centre, Ludhiana,
Punjab, India.
Corresponding author:
Dr. Gurinder Pal Singh, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Panjab University Regional
Centre, Ludhiana 141001, Punjab, India.
Media Images of
Pakistan’s Hostility
toward India: A Study
of Four Newspapers
during 2001–2002
Gurinder Pal Singh1
Hostility toward India remained perhaps the defining feature of
Pakistan’s foreign policy. The underlying factors have been widely
researched and debated. The present article seeks to explore the issue
through the lens of a cross section of the Indian media—the news-
paper press to be precise. The significance of the study derives from
the assumption that media projection of policy-relevant issues largely
shapes popular perceptions in a democracy and thereby exerts indirect
influence on the policy-making exercise as well. The general objective
has been broken down into two operative objectives: to identify the
various explanations offered by the press for the anti-Indian compo-
nent of Pakistan’s foreign policy and also to note if these perceptions/
explanations remained stable over a period of time. To attain these
goals, four English language dailies, namely, The Tribune, The Hindu,
The Telegraph, and The Times of India, have been examined in terms of
their editorials and opinion articles in relation to the Indo–Pak bilateral
engagements during 2001–2002. It was revealed that the newspapers
concentrated on a limited number of explanations for the antagonism
Jadavpur Journal of
International Relations
19(2) 106–136
2015 Jadavpur University
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0973598415627892
Singh 107
between India and Pakistan—pinning the responsibility generally on
Pakistan. Moreover, the emphasis they laid on respective explanations
varied considerably during the time frame indicated above.
Media images, Pakistan’s hostility, foreign policy, Kashmir, military
The theoretical underpinning of this article is the recognition that media
images of one country’s hostility toward another may engage students of
media studies per se, but these images are important also for the study of
foreign policy and International Relations (IR) (Dennis et al. 1991; Mintz
and Redd 2003). This is so primarily because media has considerable
influence in moulding public opinion and thereby manipulating foreign
policy-making processes (Albritton and Manheim 1983, 1985; Appadorai
1981: 58; Basu 2003; Brewer et al. 2003; Cohen 1963; Manheim and
Albritton 1984; Perry 1985, 1987; Rosenau 1967: 4; Soroka 2003; Zhang
2010: 237). Though among the domestic factors shaping foreign policy
the role played by media has been recognized, it has not been given due
importance perhaps because its impact is indirect and therefore relatively
less visible. Nonetheless, media impact on foreign policy is real and
undeniable (Hindell 1995; Kapur 2009: 288; Manheim 1994; Peffley
and Hurwitz 1992; Smith 1984).
Among different segments of media, the press has a significant role to
play in relation to foreign policy (Craig 1976: 322). It is true that television
news appears more penetrative, beamed as it is every day, repeatedly,
directly to homes. We must remember, however, that just watching inter-
national news on television screens immediately after the occurrence of an
event may make little sense to a viewer in the absence of “interpretive
or editorial framework” (Craig 1976: 322) which television channels are
incapable of providing.
Newspapers are clearly in a completely different category of narrating
and shaping events daily in the form of printed words, which wield special
power and leave lasting impressions on the human mind. Rather than
sensationalizing an event to attract more eyeballs, newspapers use their
editorial gaze in making sense of an event. Newspapers also provide a kind
of continuity to the passing events by long-term reporting, continuously

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