Aggressive masculinity dominates Indian journalistic performance: Study

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Aggressive masculinity dominates the Indian news shows and talk shows, according to researchers at the Hyderabad University. The study monitored prime time news and talk shows across 31 television channels in 12 Indian languages including English.

A team from the university’s Department of Communication, comprising Prof. Usha Raman and two of her research scholars, Amritha Mohan and Anuja Premika, collaborated with the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) to conduct a study exploring the presence of aggressive masculinity in journalistic performance and social media discourse.

According to the study, aggression was observed in more than 50 per cent of all news shows sampled, with the percentage rising to 85 per cent for talk shows.

At 76.8 per cent, tone of voice was the most common expression of aggression observed in the study. Elements that increased stridency such as sound and visual effects occurred as frequently as 60 per cent.

Panels moderated by male anchors revealed relatively more aggressive masculinist behavior (54.55 per cent) on several metrics than those moderated by female anchors (12.07 per cent).

Using a scale developed by the Hyderabad University team to identify and catalogue aggressive, dominant and sexist verbal and non-verbal behaviours associated with hegemonic masculinities, a team of coders from the NWMI membership analysed the television content.

The study also conducted a limited analysis of trending social media posts, as were a set of case studies of specific news stories and channels.

It was prompted by the increasing polarisation in news performance, characterised by high-decibel confrontational behavior on many shows, which often carries over into social media as well.

The researchers also looked for instances of gender positive behaviours and offered guidelines on how channels can move towards a more dialoguic, civil mode of television news presentation.

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