World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities
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World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities. 2016, 2(2), 29-36
DOI: 10.12691/wjssh-2-2-1
Open AccessCase Study

The Effect of the Persistent Media Campaign on the Public Perception – MISA & Gregorian Bivolaru Case Study

Daniela Popescu1,

1The Anti-Defamation League for Yoga and Spiritual Movements (LAYMS), Bucharest, Romania

Pub. Date: June 30, 2016

Cite this paper:
Daniela Popescu. The Effect of the Persistent Media Campaign on the Public Perception – MISA & Gregorian Bivolaru Case Study. World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities. 2016; 2(2):29-36. doi: 10.12691/wjssh-2-2-1

Abstract

This paper presents a case study about the effects of the mass media in shaping public perception. The novelty of the research is due to the application of social cognitive theory about mass media effects and framing theory in a case study that refers to human rights and discrimination. In the case of the Romanian yoga movement and the yoga teacher Gregorian Bivolaru, 25 years of media campaigns of defamation and hate speech have a measurable effect on the public perception, as the mediated image was based on false accusations and repetitive stereotypes. The negative framing and associations of the news about MISA Yoga School had led to the marginalization and discrimination of the yoga practitioners, who are now one of the most discriminated categories of Romanian citizens. The public perception, as the quantitative research presented in this paper have shown, reproduces the mediated stereotypes. The opinion of people who know directly the yoga movement, although are not part of it, is strongly different (considerably better, according to our results) than the opinion of people who “know” the yoga movement only as a media constructed reality. Biased by the media campaign, people from the second category tend to isolate the yoga practitioners, do not trust them and are suspicious towards them. These results are consistent with the research that studied the opinion of yoga practitioners, who considered that are victims of discrimination as a consequence of the media campaign. The quantitative research consisted of a pilot survey upon 300 subjects, followed by two different researches with 1500 subjects each, that addressed the public and the persons inside the movement. Our results suggest that the two strongest effects of the hate speech and stigmatization media campaigns are the marginalization of the yoga practitioners as a social group and their discrimination in the Romanian society. The objective of this research is to better understand the social phenomena generated by the defamation of the Romanian yoga movement, in order to suggest reparatory and compensatory actions that could eliminate this case of large-scale human right violation and discrimination in post-communist Romania.

Keywords:
social cognitive theory framing theory hate speech stereotypes defamation discrimination

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