Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Humphrey A. Regis.

Keywords

mass media framing, Pakistan, sources, India, Kashmir

Abstract

This study examined the frames used by the U.S. print media -- The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times -- in their coverage of the Kashmir conflict and the parties involved in it from 1989 to 2003. It divided the 15-year period of coverage into four phases -- 1989-1990, 1991-1998, 1999-2001, and 2002-2003 -- and focused on the coverage of seven subjects. It then identified sources and keywords from 180 news reports and placed them into categories from which it isolated thematic clusters or frames. The study found that in the first two phases, the conflict was described as a violent Kashmiri separatist movement, a frame that changed to one depicting it as ongoing violent conflict between India and Pakistan. In all phases, Kashmiris were predominantly identified as armed militants fighting for secession of Kashmir from India, a goal that decreased in prominence in the last two phases.

India was depicted initially as a country suppressing the rebellion in Kashmir through violent means with the help of its armed forces, a frame that shifted later to a military force fighting Pakistani troops and non-Kashmiri Islamic fighters. Pakistan was consistently identified as a country supporting the Kashmiri separatist movement with arms and training,and later as a country itself participating in the conflict through its military. The United States was consistently described as a country concerned with peace and security in South Asia. The dominant frames in all periods were found to be portraying the conflict as a war and in the last two phases, a potential nuclear war. The Indians, Pakistanis and Kashmiris were always characterized through their religious identities -- Indians as Hindu, and Pakistanis and Kashmiris as Muslim or Islamic.

Official sources were consistently greater in number than unofficial sources for India, Pakistan and the United States but for Kashmiris, unofficial sources scored over official ones in all four periods.

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