Politics, Media, and Terrorism: Understanding the Discourse Surrounding the 2001 Attack on Indian Parliament

Shweta S. Suryawanshi,
Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Abstract

This study explores how the threat of terrorism was perceived and portrayed in the media in context of the 2001 attack on Indian Parliament. A close examination of speeches made by political leaders as perceived and portrayed in the print media articles via the lens of securitization theory has facilitated a richer understanding of the discourse around terrorism in the country. The 2001 attack led to the promulgation of important laws such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) which was designed to combat possible terrorist threats. To study how the Indian government justified its actions to the public, it is imperative to study how the terrorism discourse operates in society.  Furthermore, terrorism is a major threat to the stability of countries in South Asia and as acts of terrorism increase, debates about security have been brought to the forefront of the political landscape. In that context, this study is relevant because it explains how the threat of terrorism was portrayed in the Indian context by political leaders and the media in the aftermath of the 2001 attack on Parliament. Discourse analysis facilitates a deeper understanding of the securitization of issues related to terrorism and helps to contextualise the response of the Indian government to the 2001 attack based on the prevailing discourse surrounding terrorism in society.

Keywords: Terrorism, Securitization, 2001 Attack on Indian Parliament, Discourse Analysis, Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA)