| || || Usman, Shazia Shareen Bi|
| || || Invisibility in the media : a comparative analysis of the coverage given to female election candidates in the 1999 and 2006 elections by the Fiji Times and Fiji Sun|
Author:Usman, Shazia Shareen Bi
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Call No.: pac In Process
Copyright:10-20% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: The main objective of the research was to determine the visibility of female election candidates and females in general in the Fiji Times and Fiji Sun during the 1999 and 2006 elections. The research also investigated whether the coverage that was accorded to women was stereotyped. After analysing the data collected quantitatively and qualitatively it can be concluded that female election candidates and females in general were virtually invisible in both newspapers and in both time periods. The few articles there were on women or quoted women were mostly clichéd, lacked critical analysis and stereotyped women. It can thus be said that by covering male and female candidates differently, Fiji’s two most prominent and widely read newspapers may have influenced the success or failure of female candidates in their bid to hold public office. An unexpected but equally important finding of the research sheds some light on why there may be a lack of visibility of female election candidate (as well as other development related issues) in the dailies during election times. The data shows the extensive prominence Fiji’s print media gives to race and coup-related issues as elections draw near, crowding out reportage of other major issues. For instance, the lack of women at the highest-level of decision-making is rarely ever covered in any in-depth and informed manner. The media have been so preoccupied with the supposed tension between the two major ethnicities (the indigenous Fijians, now known officially as i- Taukei, and the Indo-Fijians - Fijians of Indian origin) that they have overlooked the fact that in all elections since independence, women have only managed to secure less than 12 percent of the 71 seats in Parliament - yet women make-up nearly half of the total population of the country. The literature review shows that when racial and ethnic tensions and national security issues are at the forefront of discussions during election times, it is men who tend to dominate the news. Subsequently, studies have concluded that voters may vote a male into power (over a female) because they feel that a male might be able to handle a race-related issue or a national security issue better than a woman.