Media coverage of violence against women in India: a systematic study of a high profile rape case
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BACKGROUND: On December 16, 2012 a 23 year old female was gang-raped on a bus in Delhi. We systematically reviewed professional online media sources used to inform the timing, breadth of coverage, opinions and consistency in the depiction of events surrounding the gang-rape. METHODS: We searched two news databases (LexisNexis Academic and Factivia) and individual newspapers for English-language published media reports covering the gang-rape. Two reviewers screened the media reports and extracted data regarding the time, location and content of each report. Results were summarized qualitatively. RESULTS: We identified 534 published media reports. Of these, 351 met our eligibility criteria. Based on a time chart, the total number of reports published increased steadily through December, but plateaued to a steady rate of articles per day by the first week of January. Content analysis revealed significant discrepancies between various media reports. From the 57 articles which discussed opinions about the victim, 56% applauded her bravery, 40% discussed outrage over the events and 11% discussed cases of victim-blaming. CONCLUSIONS: The global media response of the December 16th gang-rape in India resulted in highly inconsistent depiction of the events. These findings suggest that although the spread of information through media is fast, it has major limitations.
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