A study by Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) of 31 primetime television news and talk shows in 12 languages including English, found aggression in more than 50% of all news shows and in 85% of talk shows.
The focus of this study was not on news bias or framing but on the performance of the reporter or the anchor.
The study also found the biggest expression of aggression was in tone of voice (76.76%), while sound and visual effects came in at 60%. The number of male anchors with an aggressive tone of voice (78.13 %) was only marginally higher than that of their female counterparts (75.28%); panels moderated by male anchors showed far higher (54.55%) aggressive behaviour on several metrics than those moderated by women (12.07%).Further, panels moderated by male anchors revealed relatively more (54.55%) aggressive masculinist behaviour on several metrics than those moderated by female anchors (12.07%).
More shouting by speakers over one another was also observed in male-moderated panels (48.75%) as compared to female-moderated panels (15.52%).
The NWMI has recommended that the News Broadcasters Association or other media bodies could develop an Ethical Editorial Handbook that can be distributed to all news channels. The channels could also be advised to create a checklist to score journalistic performance and programming on a toxic masculinity scale. The report also urges news channels to ensure more diverse panels during the talk shows.
“Greater diversity of guests on panels and talk shows is crucial. It is particularly important to include members of groups that have historically been marginalised on the basis of gender, caste, creed and other identities, class, occupation, location, disability, sexual orientation and so on,” the NWMI suggests.