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Political communication Modi style: A case study of the demonetization campaign on Twitter

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Abstract

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) is one of the world's most followed political leaders on Twitter. During the 2014 and 2019 election campaigns, he and his party used various social media networking and the Internet services to engage with young, educated, middle-class voters in India. Since his first sweeping win in the 2014 elections, Modi's political communication strategy has been to neglect the mainstream news media, and instead use social media and government websites to keep followers informed of his day-to-day engagements and government policies. This strategy of direct communication was followed even during a critical policy change, when in a politically risky move half-way through his five-year prime ministership, Modi's government scrapped more than 85 per cent of Indian currency notes in November 2016. He continued to largely shun the mainstream media and use his social media accounts and public rallies to communicate with the nation. As a case study of this direct communication strategy, this article presents the results of a study of Modi's Twitter articulations during the three months following the demonetization announcement. We use mediatization of politics discourse to consider the implications of this shift from mass communication via the mainstream news media, to the Indian prime minister's reliance on direct communication on social media platforms.
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Keywords: Indian media; Twitter; demonetization; digital campaigning; digital media; political communication; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 000000011015882X Deakin University 2: 0000000419367857 Monash University

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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