The including 28 on-land fields and 16 offshore

The government of India
announced the award of contract for development and extraction of hydrocarbons
from 44 contract areas across the country including 28 on-land fields and 16
offshore on February 15, 2017. Within a day of the announcement, protests broke
out in Neduvasal, a small village of Pudukottai district, Tamil Nadu
(Jayaraman, 2017.)  Much like the
Jallikattu protest, the agitation strengthened with the backing of the youth
and celebrities, mobilized through social media (Ganesan, 2017.)

The unsettling action made by
a popular protest directly aims at stimulating public opinion against its
opponents. It can be called as a lifeline of an ordinary citizen, who lacks regular
access to the social, political, organisational and financial resources;
including the media support. Neduvasal Hydrocarbon Protest has set such an
example by taking the officials to their toe. Protesters’ success in achieving
their goals does not depend on the direct use of power, but on indirect influence
mediated by the news media. By acting upon their shared interests, ordinary
people gather consensus through intensely deep-rooted feelings of solidarity or
identity (Della Porta and Diani, 1999; Tarrow, 2011.)

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The media coverage of a
movement also grants it credibility which is essential to have an impact and
helps to expand the visibility of the conflict. In turn, popular protests offer
drama, conflict, action and photo opportunities (Gamson and Wolfsfeld, 1993). Social
movements rely on the media to know about the position of officials and the public
on the concerned issue. Therefore, movements depend on the media for strategic
information to develop and assess their action tactics. It has been followed by
their opponents and allies as well (Koopmans, 2004).

As the format of portraying popular
protest have an impact on the reader’s perception and the agrarian crisis and
people’s protest have a trans-national outlook, this study analyses the framing
pattern of the 2017 Neduvasal Hydrocarbon Protest reportage of three national
English Newspapers namely The Times of India, The Hindu and The New Indian Express.
They are chosen to analyse the selection of frames and tones of the reportage
over a period of eight months from February 16 to September 30, 2017.

Media have certain ways to set
the agenda of an issue in reader’s mind. The salient effect of the mass media
is its capacity to order the world before the audience. The news media may not
be successful in telling us what to think; but they are stunningly successful
in telling us what to think about (McCombs and Shaw, 1977). The present study
through analysing framing patterns is trying to find out the agenda-setting
attitude of newspaper on Neduvasal Hydrocarbon Protest. Attribution of
Responsibility, Human Interest, Conflict, Morality, Economic, and Diagnostic
are the frames are used to find out the framing pattern. It also study the
usage of political frames and tones with regard to the chosen three English
language newspapers, to estimate the difference in framing pattern of conflict
and the newspaper’s inclination while covering the conflict.