Monday, 14 January 2013

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

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?

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