News for Consumer Citizens: Corporate Pressure, Political Criticism and Middle Class Assertion in the Indian Media

Ursula Rao


Abstract

Mass media have always played a crucial role for negotiating the image of the nation. This holds true also for India. My article reflects changes in the Indian media market and examines how reshaped media outlets contribute towards generating fresh images of the nation for public consumption. The focus is on English language newspapers which are consumed by the growing Indian middle classes. How do newspapers influence the relation between commerce and politics and shape its public images? The case study elaborates the role journalists play towards shaping a public culture that devalues politics and hails consumerism. I argue that in a high pressure corporate environment reporters find a new voice as political commentators while accommodating within a discursive formation that promotes positive thinking about corporations, markets and commodities. News articles are an uneasy compromise that implement companies’ directives, realise a critical political ethos and expresse a longing for a new India.

Keywords

News making practices; commercialisation of newspapers; political news; middle class professionals

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