Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Indian Mass Media's Social Profile

I read yesterday in the Facebook a comment by Shri C.L. Chumber that there is no dalit news reader in the entire electronic media of India. It is a sad commentary on the state of things in a democratic country of over one billion people even after more than six decades of independence. Some of us, who oppose the affirmative actions of the Government for empowerment of the weaker sections of the society, have the habit of shouting from the top without even knowing or understanding the facts. Let me share with you some hard facts in this regard.

The Media Study Group, in association with Anil Chamaria, Freelance Journalist, Jitender Kumar, Independent Researcher and Yogendra Yadav, Senior Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies
(CSDS) conducted a' Survey of the Social Profile of the Key Decision Makers', in June, 2006. Some of the key findings of the Survey were:

* India's national media lacks social diversity, it does reflect the countries social profile.

* The Hindu upper castes dominate the media. They are about 8 % of India's population but among the key decision makers of the national media their share is as high as 71 %.

* The media's caste profile is equally unrepresentative. The Hindus (dwijas comprising Brahmins, Kasyasthas, Rajputs, Vaishyas and Khatris) are about 16 % of India's population but they are about 86 % among the key media decision makers. Brahmins including Bhumihars and Tyagis alone constitute 49 % of the key media personnel.

* Dalits and Adivasis are conspicuous by their absence among the decision makers. Not even one, out of the 315 key decision makers of 37 national media organisations, belonged to the Schedule Caste or Schedule Tribe communities.

* Muslims are severely under represented in the national media: they are 3% among the key decision makers, compared to 13.4% in the country's population.

* Christians are proportionately represented in the media ( mainly in the English media ): their share is about 4% compared to their population share 0f 2.3%.

These findings of the survey speak laud and clear about the role of the mass media in addressing the issues of the lower strata of the society with disdain and unconcern. The Lala (family orientation) character of the media is required to undergo change with a view to have its social profile representative of the society at large. Dr. Mohd. Iqbal said:

यह कैसी जवां बंदी है साकी तेरी महफ़िल में; जहाँ तो बात करने को तरसत्ति है जवां मेरी !

Dr. Ambedkar started publishing a paper ' The Mook Nayak ' ( the leader of the dumb) in the thirties, realising the power of media. It is time that the elite and intelligentsia of the dalit communities rise to the occasion and start their own both print and electronic media organs.

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