Comparative Coverage of women Issues in Elite Press of Pakistan, India & Bangladesh
Key Words: Mass Media, Print Media, portrayal, Women, Issues, treatment, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Elite Press, Visual, Textual, Analysis
We are living in the twenty-first century and it is a heart-throbbing fact that still most of the sections of our society do not realize the importance of women in the socio-economic fabric. It would be deplorable if the status and the role of women were not appropriately perceived, since women are a part of society and share work and responsibility. Therefore, it is indispensable to upgrade the depiction of women and to strengthen the informational role of the media. Butt & Mourion (1996) says that media are one of the modern ways to maintain and promote ideology and to relate it to the national needs, but also adds that to do this promotion, a grand number of projects and actions are required constantly by the state and the people as well. Media is playing vital role in dissemination of information, shaping and reshaping the perception and public views. The mass media have an essential role reporting wrong doing following up remedial action, mobilizing public opinion, brining about social change and highlighting positive developments. In fact, media and women issues coverage important topic in every era.
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The study is focused to analyze the visual and textual presentation of the women related news regarding social, economical and political issues in the elite press of major countries of South Asia which includes Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. The study is important because before partition of the subcontinent these three countries enjoyed the status of united India. So these countries are having similar roots sharing common norms, values and society. In this study researcher is going to analyze the women issues in major newspapers of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh which include topics of news stories, tone of covered news, location of news stories in newspaper and amount of space is given to news. Through these aspects researcher will analyze whether the print media portrayal women image positive, negative or neutrally
The life styles, socialization patterns, participation levels, cultural boundaries, political maneuverings, religious manifestations, educational standards, social hierarchy, and images of society these all sectors that influence by the media content (Sharma, 2005). The media is a vehicle used to inform as well as entertain the public. The media is a carrier of information, ideas, thoughts and opinions. It is a powerful force in influencing people perceptions on a variety of issues. Print media is oldest medium that educate, inform and entertain the people. In modern society is mass media responsible for construction and consumption of social knowledge and their meanings that use people make a sense abut world and act as social reality accordingly. Print media plays an important role in influencing public opinions and setting agenda for what is constructed as news. The print media which include newspapers, periodicals, newsletters and other channels are relied upon by the people as credible source of information, education and entertainment. The print media are known for fearless criticism and service. The print media or newspaper is consists of current affairs news, articles, features, advertising. Newspaper normally publishes stories on local, national and international politics issues, entertainment, society, business, technology, education, agriculture, sports etc. Also editorials, columns and letter to editors on current issues publish in newspaper on particular pages. Print media started in these three countries with the Independence Day but some news papers were running before the partition such as Dawn, Nawa I Waqt and Jang (Pakistan) The Hindustan Times, The Times of India and Dainik Jagran (India) and The Daily Star.
Women are an integral part of our society, and cannot be ignored due to less power and authority. They are created using the need for men and men, presenting them with a companion in the course of life. Although women are significantly in all areas of life, the long list of people in the treatment seems to be never ending. There is no denying the fact that in today’s society, where women are still mostly male, is dominated by pine from the inferior place to put side-by-side with men because of social and stick are typically held social values. In fact, women’s position in any of the countries varies according to the categories, regions, and rural and urban distribution unequal socio-economic development and the impact of tribal, feudal, and capitalist social formations on women’s lives.
Today Pakistani women have a better position than most of other Muslim women. However, on an average, the women’s situation vis-à-vis men are one of systemicgender subordination. However, awareness among Pakistani women to expand the educational opportunities increased from past few years. According to the United Nations development index, Pakistani women are better in gender equality, as women in India and Bangladesh.
However women condition in India is worst as compared to other development countries majority of Indian population consist of female. Today average female life expectancy today in India in contrast to many others countries is below the standard line (Nautiyal & Dabral, 2012). Majority of women deprived the basic facility of life such as food, health and education in India and also socially women life in India very terrible. Indian society gives the more dominancy and importance to male in any walk of life as well as male social development.
The status of women in Bangladesh is defined as an ongoing gender battle, the prevailing political tide, who favors restricting the rights of women in the Islamic patriarchal patterns, and activism. The Bangladesh socio-cultural environment provides comprehensive gender inequity so that girls and women face many obstacles in their development. The girls are often considered the financial burden on the family, and since birth, they receive less investment in health, health care and education (UNICEF, 2007). In Bangladesh, women have made huge gains since the country gained independence in 1971. In the past four decades have seen increased political influence for women, better employment prospects, improving training and new laws protect their rights. Many of the women working in the States and other key positions but in issues like family violence, acid burning and rape are still persist.
Media and Women
The media portrayal both positive as well as negative issues of women as well as a powerful mechanism. Although the media has played an important role in highlighting women’s issues, it has also had negative impact, in terms of perpetrating violence against women through pornography and images of women as a female body that can be bought and sold. (Sharma, 2005) the trend is increasing in media to represent women as victims are more alarming. Media reflects in its content the pattern of value in any society. According to (Sharma, 2005) for the purpose of promoting and disseminating information media play an important role and also it is main role in development of women in social and economic sectors. The way subjects dealing with women are treated indicated to a great extent the prevailing attitude of the society towards women. Everywhere the potential exists for the media to make a far greater contribution to the advancement of women. More women are involved in careers in the communications sector, but few have attained positions at the decision-making level or serve on governing boards and bodies that influence media policy. Women’s appearance in sensational news stories such as glamour, sex, domestic violence and other forms of violence are still prominent (Nautiyal & Dabral, 2012).
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Portrayal of women in the media is mostly unfair and imbalanced. They are under-represented which falsely implies that men are the cultural standard and women’s role in the social life is unimportant or negligible. Women are portrayed stereotypically that reflect and sustain socially endorsed views of gender. Their presentation in the media does not conform to their real role in the society. According to Patel (1995) the mainstream media like print more highlight the women physical body image side by side along stereotyped sexist images and the back page pin ups. She observed that one of the reasons for projection of patriarchal image of the society is disproportionate number of men in the key positions in media. As to the qualitative aspect of portrayal of women in the media that they are generally portrayed as unthinking, dependent and submissive beings with reproduction as their fundamental role. Women are either portrayed as ideal or deviant. Their real life feelings and behaviors are rarely depicted on screen. She is shown more in fantasy roles than her real life. Common woman in the society finds it hard to relate herself to the depiction of females in the media. The negative portrayal of women in the media not only does not correspond with the reality but also leads to promote unhealthy and harmful traits among the public.
Statement of the Problem
Press is prognostic the women in a totally immoral way according to society values in news. While these types of news became the sources of spreading obscenity, western style, trends and personalities are being highlighted quite indecently. The news about scandals, rapes, pregnancy, fashion shows, show-biz and private matters of wife and husband are being over played instead of the women development and social progress. The photographs related to these news are nude, and below the standards of morality. Newspapers are more focusing the sexual crimes are being highlighted in which women are badly humiliated. In fact, film stars and celebrities’ news are being accommodated as commodities.
- Whether or not Pakistani, Indian and Bangladesh press portray women as commodities?
- Whether or not Pakistani, Indian and Bangladesh press treating women issues in real sense and focusing social development?
- Whether or not Pakistani, Indian and Bangladesh press portray women issues as sensational news?
Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this research, which can be specified on the spot to find the answer the following questions as below:
- To analyze representation of women in selected newspaper of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
- To examine the quality of the women related news published in selected newspapers.
- To find out the selected issues related to women that are discussed subject matter or not.
- To understand whether or not women related news are treated as traditional approach in selected newspapers.
- To check the nature/style of news related to women issues in selected newspapers.
- To understand print media reporting patterns are favorable/ unfavorable towards women
- Printmediaportraystereotypicalimageof womeninnewsstories
Nautiyal & Dabral (2012) The journals are mostly qualified for modern society and could be said to be positively harmful to the development of women as conscious individuals aware of themselves and aware of the society around them. If a woman wins a beauty contest, magazines or newspapers in particular give much importance to the news and even take her photographs on cover page but, at the same time if a woman gets the Nobel Prize she gets limited coverage. Here the difference of judgment in women’s issues is quite marked in our media. Similarly the daily newspapers rarely put women’s news and their development. Rather they prefer reporting on rape, atrocities, crime, sexual harassment and abuse of women prominently in their columns.
UNICEF, State of the World’s Children: The Double Dividend of Gender Equality, 2007
“Pakistan: Status of Women & the Women’s Movement”. Womenshistory.about.com. 28 July 2001. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
“Women Education in Pakistan”. Pakcitizen.com. 17 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
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