“Virus Jihad”: The (Mis)Representation of Muslims during Covid 19 Outbreak in Indian Media

Anilesh Kumar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This study examined the media representations of Muslims during the first wave of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in India. The study conducted a thematic discourse analysis on TV debates in the aftermath of an Islamic congregation in Delhi whose attendees were tested positive with COVID-19 infection. The study found an overall negative representation of Muslims in the mainstream media which corroborates previous studies, albeit, in different contexts. Three key themes that emerged from media narratives were representing Muslims as: (i) carriers of the virus bomb (ii) ‘super spreaders’ and (iii) the uncivilized ‘Other’ with irreconcilable differences. These findings were situated in the wider (re)emerging field of Hindu nationalism to argue that the unsympathetic representation of Muslims in the media reflected their support for the ethno-nationalist ideology of the current ruling dispensation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-558
Number of pages21
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Issue number5
Early online date17 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Coronavirus
  • Hindu
  • India
  • Islam
  • jihad
  • media
  • nationalism


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