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Public interest television and social responsibility: The search for the missing person in Indian television

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This article maps the intricate ways televisual spaces build a sense of community and access to transnational networks of solidarity. Taking the programme Pravasalokam or ‘The World of Expatriates’ as a specific instance, this article tracks the imagination of ‘Gulf’ and the affective community who responds to such transnational television programmes. The show has been described as a ‘part-reality’ show on account of the fact that it hybridizes the formula for reality television by adding a component of investigative journalism. India has a substantial expatriate population in the Gulf countries, most from the state of Kerala. The show tracks down missing expatriate workers in the Gulf at the request of family members who have lost contact with them. Pravasalokam therefore acts surgically, as if to restore life to the previously geographically stable family. In effect, Pravasalokam, I argue, is a symptom of a larger condition of the transnational family, wherein the risk of disconnection always looms large despite the myriad possibilities of communication in the digital age.
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Keywords: Gulf; Kerala; investigation journalism; missing persons; reality TV; transnational family

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Southern California

Publication date: June 1, 2016

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  • The International Journal of Digital Television will describe and explain the transition to digital TV and wider trends in television. As switchover happens across the globe and television's operations and audiences are transformed, the International Journal of Digital Television will be at the forefront of efforts to understand the changes and developments.
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