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Title: Unlikely bedfellows? : the media and government relations in West Bengal (1977-2011)
Author: Lahiri, Indrani
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 5351
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines the relationship between the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front Government and the media in the provincial state of West Bengal, India, during the thirty four years (1977-2011) period when the party was in government. The main aim of the thesis is to investigate the relation between the CPI (M) led Left Front Government and the media in West Bengal (1977-2011), the role of the media in stabilising or destabilising the Left Front Government, the impact of neoliberalism on the Left Front Government and their relation with the media, the role of the media in communicating developmental policies of the LFG to the public and finally the role which the mainstream and the party controlled media played in the public sphere. These questions are addressed through document research of CPI (M)’s congress and conference reports, manifestos, press releases, pamphlets, leaflets, booklets; and interviews with the CPI (M) leadership and the Editors and Bureau Chiefs of the key newspapers and television channels in West Bengal. The findings are contextualised within a broader discussion of the political and historical transitions India and West Bengal have gone through in this period (chapter 4). This is the first study looking at the relationship between the media and the CPI (M) led Left Front Government over a period of thirty four years (1977-2011). The thesis finds that neoliberalism in India had considerable effects on the CPI (M), the media and their relationship. The research finds a continuous effort from the mainstream and the party-controlled media to dominate the public sphere leading debates in order to seek some form of political consensus in order to govern. The media in West Bengal were politically divided between the left and the opposition. The research finds that this generated a market for political advertisements and political news contributing to a politically polarised media market in West Bengal that assisted in generating revenue for the media. The findings also suggest that the media contributed to rather than played a determining role in destabilising the Left Front Government. Finally the research finds that the CPI (M) had an arduous relation with the media since 1977 when the party decided to participate in the parliamentary democracy. The LFG and the mainstream media entered into an antagonistic relationship post 1991 contributing to a politically polarised media market in West Bengal.
Supervisor: Hibberd, Matthew; Dekavalla, Marina Sponsor: Charles Wallace Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political Communication ; Media Relations ; Government Relations ; Postcolonialism ; Left Front Government ; Communist Parties ; Party-controlled media ; The policies of the CPI (M) ; Historiography ; Historical narrative ; Politically polarised media ; Liberal Pluralism ; Globalisation ; Cultural Imperialism ; Caste ; Class ; Mass media India Political aspects ; Mass media Bengal Political aspects ; Communication in politics India ; Communication in politics Bengal ; Communist Party of India (Marxist)