Accepted paper:

The Andaman nude video case: India's newspaper boom, media coverage on corruption and everyday office practice

Author:

Markus Schleiter (University of M√ľnster)

Paper short abstract:

In the paper I will (exemplarily) scrutinize how reports on the Andaman video case have impacted on everyday administrative affairs and forms of corruption within Indian governmental offices; and by doing so, hint at unintended results produced by the tremendously increasing news coverage on corruption.

Paper long abstract:

In January 2012, investigative reports on the existence of an illicit nude video of "indigenous" women shot by tourists, and the subsequent probe of officials' liability, hit the headlines in India for about four weeks. A police officer, on duty to protect the "indigenous" Jarawa people, took a bribe from a tour operator and eventually instructed the Jarawa women to dance bear-breasted. The outlook of the news coverage on the incident reflects an on-going trend towards news infotainment in India, which is part of the present newspaper boom there - namely, an immense increase of ad remunerations as well as of newspaper circulation. On the basis of participant observation I will analize in this paper how the Andaman's news event became embedded in the setting of governmental offices. In detail, I will show that everyday office life in India has been characterized by a prevalence of administrative supervision, which, however, conflates with the even-handedly presence of deviations. As a consequence, I regard secrecy and intimacy as essential parts of performing corruption. During reports on the Andaman case, however, the backdrop of an everyday maintenance of intimacy altered and resulted in a shift of strategies, for example practices of seclusion have emerged and have restrained administrative access for "indigenous" people. I will consequently argue, that the inflating of news coverage on corruption in India - against its possibly well-meant pedagogic intentions - has paradoxically become part of and sustains new forms of negotiating corruption.

panel P009
The intimacy of corruption as a conundrum of governance: secrecy vs inflated rhetoric