Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - The Indian Media and the Rohingya Question

Saturday, July 7
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Cypress, New Building

Media is playing an important role in building consensus and shaping public mood in modern nation states. It is through the consensus making practices that the mass media has acquired the power of and control over the symbolic resources to manufacture consent and consensus especially in the realm of ethnic relations. It is through discriminatory portrayal and prejudiced reproduction of the public image of an ethnic group that influences the public perception of a nation. It helps to form an ideology of nationalism. Thus, the interplay of discourse and ideology dialectics help build images of refugees and migrants. Sometimes refugee issues are underplayed and others are disproportionately highlighted to build public perception on an ethnic community. The dynamics of construction of images of out-groups, as "us' vs "them", are shaped not only by the public mood in the domestic sphere but also the geopolitical processes currently in practice. This paper taking the case study of the Rohingyas, an ethnic minority group of Myanmar facing execution by a democratically elected government, seeks to explain the interplay of domestic politics, international relations and public representation of Rohingyas in the visual and print media when they are trying to seek asylum in the Indian territory. The paper also shows how the ruling dispensation with the help of media has been constructing images of Rohingyas and couching the discourse around the concept of nationalism and denying them asylum in the country. 


Biswajit Mohanty

University of Delhi, India

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1 - The Indian Media and the Rohingya Question



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