IDSA MONOGRAPH SERIES

Who Sets the Agenda? Does 'Prime Time' Really Pace Policy?

IDSA Monograph Series No. 13
2013

This monograph has tried to demonstrate the dynamics of the growing interface between diplomacy and the news media within the Indian context. The focus has been broadcast media, specifically television and the change it has ushered in bureaucratic and political responses to crises. TV news coverage in India seems to have a higher impact in the realm of domestic policy vis-à-vis foreign policy. Its exponential growth in a competitive ratings driven market has given it the image of a pressure group that has not yet attained the political maturity to be taken seriously by policymakers. However the “real time response” and accountability component introduced into the arena of diplomacy has proved to be a vital pressure point in many foreign policy considerations.

Recent foreign policy crises episodes - The immediate fall out on Indo-Pak relations post the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks; the Indo-US Nuclear Deal (2005-2008); the border relations with China after incursion reports, and the 'race row attacks' in Australia in 2009 are studied in detail. The media's agency has been versatile in the case studies examined: pressure group, track II platform, international political broker, critical observer and feedback mechanism.

Unpacking this “perceived influence” of the media specifically in the area of foreign policy and its multifaceted agency in the Indian context is the dominant theme of this monograph which examines three basic issues: Does the Indian media influence and shape the policy agendas? If it does, then what is the role and extent of this influence? Is the influence independent or contingent upon conditions?

Contents

CONTENTS
ACKNOLWEDGEMENTS
ABBREVIATIONS AND TERMINOLOGIES

I INTRODUCTION

II AGENCY, AGENDA AND IMPACT (A Review of Literature)
2.1 Agenda Setting Theory: Gatekeeping, Framing and Priming
2.2 Manufacturing Consent and the CNN Effect model
2.3 The Al Jazeera Phenomenon and The New Media Revolution
2.4 Media Mood setting in Foreign Policy
2.5 Conditionality for Media influence and Agency

III THE MEA, THE QUOTE AND THE SOUND BYTE
3.1 The story till the 90s
3.2 The 90s: Liberalisation and Media Revolution
3.3 Public Opinion matters in Indian Foreign Policy
3.4 Media's map of the world: Myopic?

IV THE BATTLE FOR INFLUENCE
4.1 Television or Print : Which is more credible?
4.2 Domestic vs Foreign Policy: Who influences who?

V TV AND FOREIGN POLICY: THE INDIAN EXPERIENCE
5.1 Indo-Pak relations post 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks
5.2 Aman ki Asha (Hope for Peace): A Track II Initiative
5.3 The Indo-US Nuclear Deal (2005-2008)
5.4 The Race Row in Australia
5.5 Indo-China Border Dispute (2006-2009)
5.6 Humanitarian Crises and Media Triggered Responses

VI CONCLUSION AND POLICY RECOMENDATIONS

VII BIBLIOGRAPHY

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