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Media perceptions and portrayals of pastoralists in Kenya, India and China

Resilient food systems depend on appropriate policies that enable people to take advantage of their own adaptive capacity. Pastoralists use their mobility to take advantage of resources that are patchily distributed in space and time. However, the benefits of pastoralism often go unacknowledged. This paper argues that this is in part because of development and media narratives that paint pastoralism as something negative. This content analysis of newspaper articles about pastoralists in Kenya, China and India identifies significant inter-country differences in the media’s portrayal of pastoralists. In Kenya, pastoralists feature mostly in ‘bad news’ stories of conflict and drought, whereas in China, they are presented as the cause of environmental degradation. In India, newspapers tended to portray pastoralists with more pity, as people whose rights to grazing land had been taken away and whose livelihoods were at risk.