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Research Article Open Access
This study examines the coverage of Muslim news and issues in Tamil dailies and hence the representation of Islam & Muslims with special reference to Tirunelveli district. The Muslim people are considered and treated as a minority community in our nation, India. The media play a large part in the formation of positive and negative images and self-images of minorities. In Tamil Nadu portrayal of Islam and Muslim by Tamil media since the post Coimbatore bomb blast, created some negative impact among people about Islam and Muslims, and Muslims are being looked as suspicious people and portrayed as terrorists. This research is being carried out to scientifically explore the frequency of occurrences of Muslim news and issues in Tamil dailies and what images of Muslims are portrayed in the news. To meet the objectives, this study tests by using content analysis of four Tamil dailies Dinakaran, Dinamalar, Dinamani and Dina Thanthi. And these were selected in view of their popularity and circulation. The reference period of the study was taken from 1st April 2009 to 30th April 2009 to keep the findings free from any impact of news. Newspaper content analysis results based on a 12-day sample would be quite similar to those available from a sample of more than 12 days . Keeping this in view, 12 issues of each newspaper drawn from the universe of 120 copies published during the reference period (a total of 48 newspapers) were selected randomly to make a representative sample. Ten variables were developed to test the hypothesis. Code sheets have been made to get the results in statistical form. Number of articles, Geographic Header, Page placement, visibility on the page, photographs and its size, column spread and number of words used for the article, and finally attitudes created towards Muslims i.e., positive, negative, mixed and neutral were the slants through which the contents analyzed. The word slant refers to the stance taken in the news articles. These slants show, whether the Tamil dailies portray Muslims as favorable, unfavorable and neutral. The overall results of these slants showed that out of 143 articles in all the four major newspapers, 47% of articles were given with negative attitude towards Muslims. Only 15% of articles were presented with positive attitude, 14% with mixed attitude and 24% of articles were given with neutral attitude towards Muslims .
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