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Representation of News Sources' Gender in Climate Change Reporting in Pakistani Press

Rashid Ali Khuhro1, Hamedi Mohd Adnan2*, Mohsin Hassan Khan2, Zaffar Iqbal Junejo3 and Haifa Aljiuaid4

1The Center for Rural Development Communication, University of Sindh, Jamshoro 76080, Pakistan

2Media and Communication Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia

3Department of History, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia

4Media and Communication Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Seri Kembangan, Selangor, Malaysia

*Corresponding Author:
Hamedi Mohd Adnan
Media and Communication Studies
University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603
Malaysia
Tel: +60133622010
E-mail:hamedi@um.edu.my

Received date: July 17, 2019 Accepted date: August 05, 2019 Published date: August 13, 2019

Citation: Khuhro RA, Adnan HM, Khan MH, Junejo ZI, Aljiuaid H. Representation of News Sources’ Gender in Climate Change Reporting in Pakistani Press. Global Media Journal 2019, 17:33.

Copyright: © 2019 Khuhro RA, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



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Abstract

The news stories’ formations and structures are based on solid reliable sources. The diverse news sources create different shades of perspectives; thus, news stories’ credibility is enhanced. The global studies have found that primary sources used in all sorts of news media are mostly official/government and elite. Journalists and media organizations compromise non-elite or marginalized sources. Furthermore, a few studies have explored gender as a source of news stories and concluded that female sources are insignificantly used in the news stories. This study aims to examine the use of female sources in climate change reporting in Pakistani Press. In this longitudinal study, the quantitative content analysis method is used. The data is collected from three highly circulated dailies issued in the different languages,’ namely Dawn (English), Jang (Urdu) and Kawish (Sindhi). The study has applied the systematic random sampling, and it is based on five significant global climate change events. These are Earth Summit (1992), Rio de Janerio, Kyoto Protocol (1997), Ratification of KyotoProtocol Globally (2005), COP15 (2009) Copenhagen and COP21 (2015) Paris. The findings show that in Pakistani Press use of female sources in climate change reporting at these five significant events was rare. This study recommends that studies of similar nature, extended to coverage of other societal issued should be conducted to know the application of female sources in the reporting.

Keywords

News Sources; Climate change; Gender sources; Dawn; Jang; Kawish

Introduction

The news stories formation and structure are based on reliable sources. One of the lead categories among an extensive list of the sources are the subjects from whom journalists get an opinion, quote them, and build perspective about a specific news item or event [1]. Thus, journalists are induced to come into contact with them as the witness or even gather facts [2]. The reason for doing so is the non-acceptance of the journalists’ own opinion in the reporting. However, induction of journalists own opinion is treated against ethics [3]. Additionally, the inclusion of diverse sources makes stories significant in the eyes of readers, listeners, and audience [4].

Further, previous studies suggest that journalists rely on official/government/elite sources studies [5-15]. The authority, trustworthiness, accessibility, and allied traits support elite sources in getting attention from the media, and it is also reciprocal for the journalists [16]. Consequently, citizen or marginalized sources become less priority for journalists and their organizations [17]. Many scholars have examined the representation of gender in the news sources and revealed that often reporters and media houses rely on male sources. The female sources are neglected and underrepresented [18-20].

The purpose of this study is to examine the gender representation of sources in climate change reporting of Pakistani Press during five significant global climate change events such as Earth Summit Rio de Janerio (1992), Kyoto Protocol (1997), Global Ratification of Kyoto Protocol (2005), COP15 (2009), Copenhagen and COP21 (2015), Paris, France.

Objectives and Research Questions

The primary objective of this study is to examine the gender representation of sources in climate change reporting in Pakistani Press. However specific objectives are a) determination of the representation of gender in climate change reporting in Pakistani Press; b) comparing the gender representation of sources in newspapers of different languages i.e., Dawn, Jang and Kawish and, c) comparing the representation of sources’ gender during significant global climate change events i.e., Earth Summit Rio de Janerio (1992), Kyoto Protocol (1997), Global Ratification of Kyoto Protocol (2005), COP15 (2009), Copenhagen and COP21 (2015), Paris, France.

Further, this study would analyze the specific research question such as (i) Which gender has been prioritized in the climate change coverage of Pakistani Press? (ii) Is there any difference of gender representation of sources in climate change reporting among newspaper of different language, i.e., Dawn (English), Jang (Urdu) and Kawish (Sindhi)? (iii) Does difference of gender representation of sources in climate change reporting during significant global climate change events, i.e., Earth Summit Rio de Janerio (1992), Kyoto Protocol (1997), Global Ratification of Kyoto Protocol (2005), COP15 (2009), Copenhagen and COP21 (2015), Paris, France exist?

Literature Review

Gans calls sources as the ‘actors whom journalists observe or interview, including... those who are quoted... and those who only supply background information or story suggestions [8]. For gathering facts for the stories, the reporters contact with witnesses of the events and experts [11]. It is done to gain impartiality in the news [2] because the inclusion of the reporter's version in the story makes it partial [3].

The diverse sources provide various perspectives to the news stories and make them credible and reliable in the eyes of readers and audience. In the context of usage of diverse sources in the news stories, Napoli calls it ‘marketplace of ideas’ means to give readers and audience information about happening from different perspectives [21]. Though, the practice of diverse sources increases the importance of the stories. The selection of sources affects the perception of readers about the story [4]. News sources become helpful to define the form of a news story [1]. The sources influence the framing of social problems and impacts on public and policy agenda about the same [22]. The variation in news sources about environment and health issues plays a crucial role to communicate with the public about risk.

The studies around the globe have found that primary sources used in all sorts of news media are official/government and elite [23]. The scholars have examined and concluded that the majority of news sources in the news content in the global media are official/government/elite sources. The researchers examine that news stories are dominated by institutional sources [24,25]. It is the outcome of journalists and government officials ’ engagement [25]. In many studies [5-15], it is elite source that dominates the news content. The traits like authority, trustworthiness, accessibility make it easier for elite sources to get attention from the media [16].

The journalists and media organization compromise the nonelite or marginalized sources. The non-elite sources category is the second potential type of news sources. It is also called the marginalized sources by the scholars. In a study, Gandy criticized that journalists are dependent on elite sources and pay undue attention towards the non-elite sources [26]. The scholars say that there is significant variation between the use of the elite and non-elite sources in the news content [17].

Regarding the scope of sources, there are specific patterns structured by the journalists that who should be a news source, it unpacks, who has power and who is marginal, who has power and who is under dominance, who is to be reliable and who is dubious, and who is suitable and who is nonstandard [27]. However, the female sources are considered as marginalized and powerless. Ross and Carter call it an impact of premeditated conditions created by the media structure, editorial privileges [28]. On the other hand, practicing female journalists do not have access to what their male counterparts have, thus involuntarily females fall into “secondary status.” Shor et al. also discusses that the news room’s gender preferences factors also pay to gender discrimination in the news [29]. In another study, Johnstonbaugh revealed that ‘ structural gender inequality ’ remains to be augmented through equal underrepresentation in the media, and the structural inequality between male and female [30]. The media houses formed structures such as the standing committees, lists of seniority, and committee members about the media reporting also exclude the females. Resultantly, female sources get less attention from journalists and media organizations [18-20,31,32].

Further, a few studies have explored the gender of sources and revealed that female sources are underrepresented in the news stories [18-20,31-37]. In a study about the Television’s political news stories regarding five democratic elections 1994-2014 in South Africa, Jones showed that male and female sources are 60 and 40 percent, respectively [38]. In another study about structural features of the depiction of female in the Norwegian media, Sjøvaag, Pedersen state that local and less circulated newspapers give better coverage to females’ opinions [39]. Nevertheless, Dan, Iorgoveanu revealed that women are featured less in broadsheets and more in tabloid newspapers [40]. The feminine appearance comes more in soft and light stories than in hard news [18]. According to Mudrick, Burton, Lin, no doubt women have better positions in sports and sports journalism, but still, females continue to be underrepresented in sports media Additional, females who have detained spots in sports media are frequently supposed as being less reliable than males in the same field [41].

According to the observation Aalberg, Van Aelst, Curran, women politicians look less for coverage in comparison to men [42]. The quotation of women is rephrased, while media presents direct quotes of men [43]. Further, Devitt [44] elaborates that media presents personalized images of women except for their politics and presents more scandals in compare of the men. Most often, their stereotypical images are depicted [45]. Tuchman called this underrepresentation of women in the media as “symbolic annihilation” [14].

Following the GMMP 20 years mapping study about women’s prominence in the news, Ross, Boyle, Carter, and Ging concluded that the relationship of women to media continues to be complicated, occasionally presentation advances over time and occasionally a cutback, identifying differences in females ’ practices of news media between genre and geography, between medium and mode [46]. While the data largely echo the European and global GMMP trends in demonstrating that the presence of women in news media in total has increased since the first GMMP in 1995, the study also pinpoints that women are now less present in specific categories of news (for example, politics) and certain media (for example, radio) than in 2010. Further, Shor, van de Rijt, Ward, Blank-Gomel, and Skiena has given a historical perspective of gender representation in news media since 1880 in thirteen daily newspapers [47]. The study elaborates that female sources ’ representation in the news remained comparatively low. It raised a little bit during 1930 and modestly updated during current decades. In a largescale data-driven study about gender representation in words and images in English language Jia, Lansdall-Welfare, Sudhahar, Carter, and Cristianini concluded that males get better representation than women both in words and images [48].

Though, previous studies suggested that females probably less appear in comparison to males in the news media [49]. Women are significantly underrepresented in the media in overall and in the print media in specifically [33-37]. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the gender representation of sources in climate change reporting of Pakistani Press during five significant global climate change events such as Earth Summit Rio de Janerio (1992), Kyoto Protocol (1997), Global Ratification of Kyoto Protocol (2005), COP15 (2009), Copenhagen and COP21 (2015), Paris, France.

Research Methodology

In this longitudinal study, quantitative content analysis technique is used to collect data from highly circulated diverse languages newspapers such as Dawn (English), Jang (Urdu) and Kawish (Sindhi). The study has inquired and confirmed circulation figures from their offices. The Dawn was initiated by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was the founder of Pakistan. It is one of the oldest and popular English newspaper having a circulation of more than eighty thousand.

Further, Jang, it is an Urdu language newspaper, it is one the oldest and highly circulated Urdu newspaper with a circulation of more than 0.8 million copies. The Dawn and Jang are mainstream national newspapers. However, Kawish is one of the highest circulated regional newspapers published in the Sindhi language; it has more than one hundred thousand circulations daily.

The systematic random sampling was adopted by the researchers to select each alternate day of newspapers – modus operandi was to pick up the newspapers one month before and one month later - after the happening of the climate change events such as Earth Summit Rio de Janerio (1992), Kyoto Protocol (1997), Global Ratification of Kyoto Protocol (2005), COP15 (2009), Copenhagen and COP21 (2015), Paris, France.

The researchers developed a coding sheet and engaged coders for manual processing. The coders were trained, and inter-coder reliability measured with Cohen Kappa. The interreliability for all items present in the coding sheet amid both coders remained between 80 to 100.

Findings

The present study has examined the representation of sources’ gender in climate change reporting in Pakistani Press during five significant global climate change events. Table 1 shows the diversity of sources; it reveals that 324 climate change stories in Pakistani Press reported during these five events. (2.60%) and Skeptics 29 (1.93%). Thus, the portrayed result reveals that officials/government/elite sources - the Federal, Provincial and Local Government Officials, Environmental Interest Groups, NGOs, Politician/Political Party, Educational or Research Institution, Business Interest Groups, Skeptics - represented the higher proportion in the climate change news stories in Pakistani Press. The entire amount of all official/ government/elite sources showed that total 960 (64.08%) mentions are found in the three newspapers i.e., Dawn, Jang and Kawish during the five-significant climate change-related events such as Earth Summit (1992), Rio de Janrio, KyotoProtocol (1997), Kyoto, Japan, Global Kyoto Protocol Ratification (2005), COP15 (2009) Copenhagen and COP21 (2015), Paris, France. Although, this study found another important finding that individually the higher number of sources mentions are about the Climate Change-Related Event/Incident, which is 288 (19.24%) of total 1498 sources mentions. However, the number of Citizens sources, which is also called the marginalized sources found is 133 (8.87%) only. It is a meager number in comparison to official/government/elite sources. Thus, findings revealed that official/government/elite sources are primary sources in the climate change reporting in Pakistani Press.

Table 1: Diversity of Sources Found in Climate Change Reporting in Pakistani Press.

News Source Frequency Percent
Climate Change Related Event/Incident 288 19.24
Federal, Provincial and Local Government Officials 270 18.04
Politician/Political Party 206 13.77
Environmental Interest Groups 183 12.21
Citizens 133 8.87
Educational or Research Institution 123 8.21
NGOs 81 5.40
News Agencies 78 5.20
Business Interest Groups 68 4.53
Journalists 39 2.60
Skeptics 29 1.93
Total 1498 100%

Table 2 reveals findings of the RO (i) RQ (i) that which gender dominates in the climate change reporting in Pakistani Press. Though, results given in Table 3, show the frequency of different gender sources appeared in the climate change reporting in Pakistani Press. The results show that out of 1498 sources, 324 climate change stories are reported in Pakistani Press during the five significant events. The male genders’ sources frequency is 889 (59.3%). However, female sources appear with a frequency of 46 (3.1%). Further, findings exhibited that male proportion is higher with the frequency of 346 (23.1%). Furthermore, the unspecified or undetermined sources found are 217 (14.5%).

Table 2: Gender Difference of Sources in Climate Change Reporting in Pakistani Press.

Gender Frequency Percent
Male 889 59.3
Female 46 3.1
Both 346 23.1
Unspecified 217 14.5
Total 1498 100.0

The findings given in Table 3 reveal the data about RO (ii) and RQ (ii) to compare the representation of sources ’ gender, according to Dawn, Jang, and Kawish. The results show that a total of 858 sources out of 1498 are found in the 181 climate change stories in Dawn. Though out of these 585 sources are the male 498 (58%). Likewise, female sources are 18 (2.2%). However, both male and female appeared together number is 202 (23.8%), and the unspecified or undetermined number is 140 (16%). The same table shows that out of total 1498 sources are 283 are found in 68 climate change related stories in Jang. However, out of a total of 283 sources, the main proportion is the male sources with the representation of 176 (61.8%). Although, the female sources are meager; it is merely 9 (2.9%) only. Nevertheless, both male-female sources came together are 44 (16.2%) and unspecified sources are also found in higher proportion with 54 (19.1%). It shows that the majority of sources represented in the climate change reporting in Jang are males in comparison to female sources.

Table 3: Comparison of Gender of News Sources’ According to Newspapers.

Newspaper Gender of Source Total
Male Female Both Unspecified
Dawn (181) 498 (58.0%) 18 (2.2%) 202 (23.8%) 140 (16.0%) 858 (100%)
Jang (68) 176 (61.8%) 9 (2.9%) 44 (16.2%) 54 (19.1%) 283 (100%)
Kawish (75) 215 (60.0%) 19 (5.3%) 100 (28.0%) 23 (6.7%) 357 (100%)
Total (324) 889 (59.3%) 46 (3.1%) 346 (23.1%) 217 (14.5%)  1498 (100%)

Similarly, in the above-referred table out of 1498 sources, 24 appear in climate change stories are found in Pakistani Press, out of it 357 sources are found in 75 stories in Kawish. Likewise, out of 357 sources, males ’ representation is 215 (60%), females share is 19 (5.3%), and both male and female make it 100 (28%). On the other hand, unspecified sources number is 23 (6.7%).

Table 4 shows findings of the RO (iii) and RQ (iii) that to compare sources’ gender in Pakistani Press during the significant climate change events. The results reveal that out of total 1498 sources found in the 324 climate change stories during five significant events, 400 sources are found in 79 climate stories during Earth Summit (1992), Rio de Janeiro. Though, out of total 400 sources male 218 (54.4%), female 5 (1.3%), both male and female 66 (16.5%) and 111 (27.8%) are found during Earth Summit (1992). The finding shows that the main proportion of sources found represent male gender in comparison to female. However, unspecified gender sources are also found in a significant amount.

Table 4: Comparison of Gender Representation of News According to Significant Events.

Climate Change Event Gender of Source Total
Male Female Both Unspecified
Earth Summit (1992) (79) 218 (54.4%) 5 (1.3%) 66 (16.5%) 111 (27.8%) 400(100%)
Kyoto Protocol (1997) (26) 88 (69.2%) 0 (0.0%) 29 (23.1%) 10 (7.7%) 127(100%)
Ratification of Kyoto Protocol (2005) (65) 133 (49.2%) 12 (4.6%) 91 (33.8%) 34 (12.3%) 270(100%)
COP15 (2009) (43) 135 (67%) 15 (7.4%) 38 (18.6%) 14 (7.0%) 202(100%)
COP21 (2015) (111) 315 (63.1%) 14 (2.7%) 117 (23.4%) 53 (10.8%) 499(100%)
Total (324) 889 (59.3%) 46 (3.1%) 346 (23.1%) 217 (14.5%) 1498(100%)

Further, out of total 127 sources found in 26 stories found during Kyoto Protocol (1997), male 88 (69.2%), both male and female 29 (23.1%) and unspecified 10 (7.7%) sources are represented. However, no female source has been found during the Kyoto Protocol (1997) in Pakistani Press.

Furthermore, Table 4 reveals that a total of 270 sources are found in 65 climate change stories during the Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol (2005). Though out of total 270 sources found in Pakistani Press during Ratification of Kyoto Protocol (2005), male sources number is 133 (49.6%), female sources representation is 12 (4.7%), both male and female make up 91 (33.8%) and unspecified number 34 (12.3%). The female sources during this event are also represented less in comparison to male. However, the number of both male and female sources represented together is significant.

Moreover, a total of 202 sources mentions is found in 43 climate change stories during COP15 (2009). Thus, out of 202 sources, male representation is 135 (67%), the females’ number is 15 (7.4%). However, both male and female make it 38 (18.6%), and the unspecified number is 14 (7%). The finding reveals that the majority of the sources found during COP15 (2009) are male gender origin in comparison to less representation of females.

Additionally, Table 4 further reveals a total of 499 sources in 111 climate change stories are found in Pakistani Press during COP21 (2015). Though out of total 499 sources, male 315 (63.1%), female 14 (2.7%), both male and female make it 117 (23.4%), and the unspecified number is 53 (10.8%). These findings reveal that female representation is meager again in comparison of the male.

Discussion

This study focuses on the representation of news sources’ gender in climate change reporting in Pakistani Press. The initial result regarding the diversity of sources shows that officials/ government/elite sources such as - Federal, Provincial and Local Government Officials, Environmental Interest Groups, NGOs, Politician/Political Party, Educational or Research Institution, Business Interest Groups and Skeptics - dominated the climate change news stories in Pakistani Press, and their presence as a group is 68.08 percent. Although, another significant finding that Climate Change Related Event/Incident reporting as an individual category has considerable representation, it is 19.24 percent. Hence, it is proved that official/government/elite sources dominate in climate change reporting in Pakistani Press. It is also an endorsement of the previous studies.

Further, in the response of RO(i) and RQ(i), findings showed that majority of the sources mentioned in the climate change stories in Pakistani Press are male with 59.3 percent in comparison to female mentions with the lowest 3.1 percent. However, the stories mentioning both male and female sources are 23.1 percent.

In previous studies, most of the scholars have mentioned the male and female sources ’ gender representations separately. This study takes this credit to reveal the representation of both - male and female - as the sources in a single study. Moreover, the number of sources unspecified or undetermined gender stands at 14.5 percent. This study also endorsed the findings of previous studies that male sources dominated and female sources are underrepresented.

Furthermore, findings of RO(ii) and RQ(ii) revealed that majority of the sources found in the three newspapers, i.e. Dawn (English) (58%), Jang (Urdu) (61.8%) and Kawish (60%) are males. In comparison to male sources, the ratio of female sources in three newspapers stands as, Dawn (English) (2.2%), Jang (Urdu) (2.9%) and Kawish (5.3%). The proportion of male sources found in three newspapers is more than fifty percent. The similarity in the finding of three newspapers proved that male sources dominated in the climate change coverage of these newspapers. Though, the finding of the mentions of both male and female sources together showed the sources ’ gender representation these papers namely Dawn (23.8%), Jang (16.2%) and Kawish (28%). There is a little bit variation in this result, but it also shows that the ratio is less than thirty. Kawish, a Sindhi language newspaper, has taken the lead in compare to Dawn and Jang. However, result about the unspecified gender of sources found in Dawn, Jang and Kawish are (16%), (19.1%) and (6.7%) respectively. There is a variation in unspecified or undetermined sources in the three newspapers. The Jang takes the lead in it. Resultantly, the comparison of climate change reporting in the three-different languages’ newspapers showed male sources’ dominance over the female sources.

In the response of RO(iii) and RQ(iii), findings showed that sources are having male gender dominated during all five events. On the one side, the frequency of results revealed that during the significant events male sources’ representation was the following Earth Summit, 1992 (54.4%), Kyoto Protocol 1997, (69.2%), Ratification of Kyoto Protocol 2005, (49.6%), COP15 2009, (67%), COP21 2015 (63.1%). However, the female sources are underrepresented about the Earth Summit 1992, (1.3%), Kyoto Protocol 1997, (0%), Ratification of Kyoto Protocol 2005, (4.7%), COP15 2009, (7.4%), COP21 2015, (2.7%) in climate change reporting in Pakistani Press. Though, the sources mentioning both genders male and female together during Earth Summit, 1992 (16.6%), Kyoto Protocol 1997 (23.1%), Ratification of Kyoto Protocol (2005 (33.8 %), COP15 2009 (18.6%), COP21 and 2015 (23.4%). However, the unspecified gender is found in between 7 to 27.8 percent. Thus, the finding showed that male dominated and female underrepresented in climate reporting in Pakistani Press happened in all five significant climate change events.

Conclusion

This longitudinal quantitative content analysis study endorsed the findings of previous international studies that official/ government/elite sources also dominate in climate change reporting in Pakistani Press. Further, this study analyzed the sources ’ gender difference in the sources presented in the climate change stories published during five significant events. It also supports the findings of former studies that male sources dominate and female sources are underrepresented. However, its novelty is a combination of male and female sources representation becomes 23.1 percent.

Furthermore, in comparison of the gender representation in three newspapers - Dawn, Jang, and Kawish - which have high circulation also underrepresented females. Moreover, the comparison of representation of sources’ gender during the five significant global climate events such as Earth Summit Rio de Janeiro 1992, Kyoto Protocol 1997, Global Ratification of Kyoto Protocol 2005, COP15 2009, Copenhagen and COP21 2015, Paris, France showed similar trend that male sources dominated, and females are underrepresented. This study recommends that studies of similar nature, extended to coverage of other societal issues should be conducted to know the application of female sources in the reporting.

References

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