Media research on man vs. elephant conflict

06 March 2012 | News story

CEC member Dr. S. Nagarathinam and researcher Ms. Marianne De Nazareth will be studying how the media frames man-elephant conflict and the potential impact on policy and public attitudes.

Ms Marianne De Nazareth, a nature and environment journalist and former deputy editor of Deccan Herald, Bangalore, has been awarded a doctoral research position in the Department of Communication, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India, under the supervision of CEC member Dr.S.Nagarathinam to pursue Ph.D on the topic of “Man vs. Elephant Conflict: A Case Study on Print Media Framing of Public Discourse”.

The media plays a key role in communicating conservation issues with regard to human-elephant conflict. There are ongoing conflict situations happening in Karnataka, India, with elephants, which recently resulted in death in the city of Mysore due to conflict between man and beast. Man–Elephant conflict is serious in many areas in South India. The Asian elephant is listed as an endangered species and is restricted to fewer than 10 populations in the wild (International Union for the Conservation of Nature - IUCN, 2009), most of which occur in India. The population of the Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) has declined by 50% over the last three generations.

However it has been found that corresponding literature on how issues are represented on this conflict is limited. In order to research how the media tackles the ever growing problem, Marianne de Nazareth has begun research under the guidance of Dr. S. Nagarathinam, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Communication.

The focus of this research is on the depiction of human-elephant conflict in the media, by examining firstly how the conflict is framed in the story and also how secondly proximate and thirdly ultimate causes are communicated in Indian newspapers.The study hopes to uncover how policy decisions and the resultant attitudes of the masses, towards elephants, is framed by media reports.

Interested scholars and researchers in this topic and area can contact Dr. S. Nagarathinam at snagarathinam@gmail.com and Ms Marianne De Nazareth at mde.nazareth@gmail.com