Too Many Cheers and Not Enough Independence: Media Control through Government Advertisements in an Indian State

Discussion Papers

No.784

by Kazuki Minato

April 2020

ABSTRACT

In marked contrast to his frequent political flip-flops, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been quite consistent in his control of the media. This paper shows both qualitatively and quantitatively that the Nitish Kumar government has taken advantage of government advertisements and exerted enormous pressure on the media to report on the government’s version of the truth. Our analysis indicates that the state government has had the upper hand because the media lacks private commercial advertisements from local businesses. However, the chief minister also depends on government advertisements to survive, given that he lacks solid constituencies and effective party machinery.

Keywords: Media control, Government advertisements, Corruption, India, Bihar

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