Upper castes dominate national media, says survey in Delhi

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by ejazr, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    The Hindu : Opinion / Lead : Missing from the Indian newsroom

    The media's failure to recruit Dalits is a betrayal of the constitutional guarantees of equality and fraternity.

    There were almost none in 1992, and there are almost none today: Dalits in the newsrooms of India's media organisations. Stories from the lives of close to 25 per cent of Indians (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) are unlikely to be known — much less broadcast or written about.

    Unless, of course, the stories are about squalor and violence. An analyst once summed up the treatment of African-American and Hispanic issues in the American media: such people “rarely travel, eat or get married,” if all you knew about them was what you learned from the media.

    Is it a calamity that Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are almost completely absent from newspapers and television? Of course it is. It's a calamity for at least three reasons.

    First, it means that the Constitution is not being lived up to. The Constitution promises “equality” and “fraternity.” There's something deficient about “equality” if a quarter of the population is missing from the Fourth Estate. And it's hard to fraternise — to practise fraternity — with people who aren't there.

    Second, a fitting presence in newsrooms, and the varied coverage that it brings, mitigates the resentment of people who are ignored and discriminated against. Recognition of tribulations and achievements combats discrimination. And if meaningful changes do not happen, resentment will bubble up destructively — as it already does in areas of Maoist influence in eastern India. Constant, probing stories about the triumphs and agonies of people on the margins help to effect remedies and turn barriers into bridges.
    A section overlooked

    Third, genuine media people, who believe in the old New York Times tag about ferreting out “all the news that's fit to print,” can never be satisfied with producing a newspaper, a magazine or a bulletin that robotically overlooks a quarter of the population (except when there's violence and squalor of course). Grizzled city editors (city editors are always grizzled) used to pose a single question to self-satisfied reporters at the end of the day: “What REALLY happened out there today, boys and girls?” It ought to flash in lights in every newsroom.

    The Dalit absence from the media has been focussed on sporadically since 1996. That's when Kenneth J. Cooper, the Washington Post correspondent, himself an African-American, tried to find a Dalit media person in New Delhi. Cooper wrote about his failure to do so, and B.N. Uniyal publicised Cooper's inquiries in the Pioneer. “Suddenly, I realised,” Uniyal wrote, “that in all the 30 years I had worked as a journalist I had never met a fellow journalist who was a Dalit; no, not one.”

    Not a single SC, ST

    Nothing had changed by the time I published India's Newspaper Revolution in 2000. Nothing had changed by 2006 when a survey on the 10th anniversary of the Cooper-Uniyal inquiry found not a single SC or ST among more than 300 media decision-makers. And nothing much had changed a year ago when the Tamil journalist, J. Balasubramaniam, wrote a personal account in the Economic and Political Weekly.

    Kenneth Cooper, now a media consultant and editor based in Boston, began a distinguished career on the St Louis American, an African-American daily that was commercially successful. If there are similarities between the plight of African-Americans in the past (and present) and Dalits today, then why are there no Dalit-oriented media voices like Ebony or Essence magazines or the old St Louis American or Chicago Defender?

    Part of the answer lies in the fact that Dalits lack advantages that Black America enjoyed (though “enjoy” is hardly the right word) even in the 1920s. Most important was a black middle class of shop-owners and professionals. Such people could buy advertisements and put up capital to back a publication. Black America worked in a single language, English, and had networks of churches and their pastors who provided respected leaders, education and connections. Martin Luther King was one of many. Black America was also less divided internally: caste among African Americans was not a problem, though skin tone may have been.

    If you're inclined to say, “Good journalists, regardless of caste, cover stories objectively” or “Quotas and reservations are the bane of modern India — only ability counts,” consider the nationalist experience. Did the old elites who confronted British rule feel they were satisfactorily represented in The Statesman and the Times of India? They didn't. And The Hindu, Amrita Bazar Patrika, the Hindustan Times, Young India and many others were the result. Babasaheb Ambedkar said it well: “with the press in hand it [is] easy to manufacture great men.”

    What might be done to put a Dalit presence into media? Two suggestions. Neither an answer, but both worth considering.

    Two suggestions

    To begin with, the Editors' Guild could commit itself to carrying out an annual census of newsroom diversity of the kind that the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) began in 1978. In that year, “people of colour” were 4 per cent of people in U.S. newsrooms, though they were close to 30 per cent of the American population. The target was to reach more than 20 per cent by 2000. They missed the target. In 2011, “minorities” were about 13 per cent of American newsrooms, though they constituted 36 per cent of the U.S. population. (That includes African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asians). The new ASNE target date has been set to 2020.

    Such targets in India would be difficult. (Targets, remember. Not “reservations” or “quotas”). Caste is so raw and sensitive. But if major organisations took a lead in conducting and publishing an annual audit of diversity, and included women and Muslims in such an audit, an embarrassment factor would kick in. Lesser organisations might feel obliged to follow or be singled out for ridicule.

    A middle class is growing slowly among people at the bottom of India's pyramid (BOIP). People near the bottom, most of whom are Dalits, need a publication that looks at the world from their perspective — bottom up, not top down. A BOIP middle-class needs a first-class publication — an Ebony or an Essence, two of the glossy magazines of Black America that report achievements as well as outrages.

    Classy & different

    A slick, view-from-below magazine (English and Hindi) would cover stories from the margins in ways that people at the margins would recognise. And its journalism could be so compelling that others would want to read it for its classiness and its difference. In a tiny, budget-conscious way, the Dalit-focussed publisher, Navayana, already tries to do this in the book trade.

    Such a publication would need to be run by a trust, and some of the capital would need to come from a Dalit middle-class itself. But the corpus of the trust could be built from donations from people-of-goodwill from all backgrounds and from one-off contributions from governments. Rs. 100 crore would make a realistic target — a mere $20 million, the cost of a couple of mid-priced battle-tanks or a small slice of 2G spectrum.

    What about television? For about a year-and-a-half before I first came to India in 1967, I wrote a daily television column for a small-town newspaper in western Canada. I watched a lot of U.S. and Canadian television. There were no Black people on TV. When I came back to North America in 1970, Flip Wilson, an African-American comedian, had a popular TV show. Something dramatic had happened. Thirty-eight years later, the U.S. elected a Black President.

    Are there any Dalits anchoring a programme or going regularly to camera on a major Indian television channel? My contacts tell me there aren't. It will be a big moment when that changes — and a daunting burden on the person who breaks that barrier.

    Achieving “equality” and “fraternity” in India may be harder even than the path that African Americans have had to follow. There are more divisions, fewer resources and huge disparities. But until there is diversity on television screens and printed pages, the promises of the Constitution will be unfulfilled, unthinking prejudice will persist and simmering resentment will grow. Media diversity is a matter of national self-interest as well as justice.

    (Robin Jeffrey is Visiting Research Professor, Institute of South Asian Studies and Asia Research Institute National University of Singapore. The article is based on the Rajendra Mathur Memorial Lecture delivered in New Delhi on 31 March, 2012.)
     
  2.  
  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    24,274
    Likes Received:
    11,290
    Location:
    BANGalore
    Dont tell me we will have reservations in media too.

    I think its only about incompetence and i dont think anyone applying in media is going to be discriminated against.

    If there is a specific thing about news readers, then i think they will go by how presentable a person is and probably a bit of a racial bias of skin color and that could mean anyone may not get through if they are not good looking. Not to say that people like BD erc are "hot", but yes i am sure people with darker skin may be discriminated against.
     
  4. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Messages:
    10,788
    Likes Received:
    4,552
  5. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    24,274
    Likes Received:
    11,290
    Location:
    BANGalore
    Its not ridiculous because its part of our psyche. Fair and lovely!!

    Even you boast about your fair skin :D
     
  6. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Messages:
    10,788
    Likes Received:
    4,552
    i dont boast...i say i have fair skin, there is no need to claim not to have fair skin if you have fair skin just not to appear racist.

    in all my life i haven't used fair lovely.
     
  7. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,093
    Likes Received:
    3,895
    Location:
    Delhi
    May be you used Fair and Handsome ? :laugh:

    BTW, I used none. :taunt1:
     
  8. panduranghari

    panduranghari Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2012
    Messages:
    1,790
    Likes Received:
    1,245
    Indians boasting about fair skin is ridiculous. In west we are all brown.
     
  9. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Messages:
    11,613
    Likes Received:
    5,670
    Another BS of an article asking for hand-outs. Unfortunately real world doesn't work on hand-outs but on meritocracy.

    What we need is an increasing pool of educated Dalits and for that to happen they need to have best primary education as a first fundamental right. As always, the politicians and the leftist jolahwallahs miss the trees for the woods i.e., ask for reservation for higher posts without any proper base of educated dalits.
     
    Energon, Dovah, Virendra and 6 others like this.
  10. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    9,252
    Likes Received:
    3,347
    Location:
    Brussels
    Whatever happened to merit-based evaluation ?

    Such kind of crap is allowed to run across all communities to make them feel insecure.

    Why there should be census to determine caste based diversity in media houses?

    What is it going to achieve? What are the goals? Rather what will be the adverse impact on society?

    These divisive mentalities are dragging the nation backwards.

    And you can't really compare US racism with Indian caste system.
     
    LurkerBaba likes this.
  11. Manas7

    Manas7 Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    244
    Reason is simple . Instead of education ,its the reservation that hasbeen become the ultimate solution for the problems of the dalit.

    Now,you find dalit only where reservation exist , or else reservation means no dalit . There are simply not enough trained journalists of dalit caste. As most educated dalit would geta cosy govt job due to reservation , a highly competitive field like media is never a preferred choice.
     
    Virendra likes this.
  12. warriorextreme

    warriorextreme Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,369
    Likes Received:
    536
    Location:
    Mumbai
    Dalits in urban areas get benefits of reservation and hence they become doctors or get government jobs easily..who would go to media when you can become doctor and engineer for almost free??
    Dalits in villages are still far from getting descent education so getting into media is far fetched dream
     
    lemontree likes this.
  13. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    9,252
    Likes Received:
    3,347
    Location:
    Brussels
    Lets just say not just dalits but most of the village population do not get sector-specific higher education to end up in media houses.
     
  14. lemontree

    lemontree Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Messages:
    811
    Likes Received:
    640
    This is taking things too far, tomorrow there my be a call for reservations in the Miss India contests.
    We have seen what reservations has done to the aviation sector inflight services (Air India and the former Indian Airlines)...

    Imagine the trauma of watching Mayawati reading the evening news...
     
  15. mayfair

    mayfair Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Messages:
    2,585
    Likes Received:
    1,763
    Location:
    India
    How many Dalits sit on the Hindu editorial board?
     
  16. Bachchu Yadav

    Bachchu Yadav Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    71
    Upper castes dominate national media!

    New Delhi: In the first-ever statistical analysis of its kind, a survey of the social profile of more than 300 senior journalists in 37 Hindi and English newspapers and television channels in the capital has found that "Hindu upper caste men" — who form eight per cent of the country's population — hold 71 per cent of the top jobs in the national media. Women, non-upper castes, and Muslims are grossly under-represented in relation to their share in the population.

    The survey notes that Dalits and Adivasis "are conspicuous by their absence among the decision-makers. Not even one of the 315 key decision-makers belonged to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes."

    The survey was designed and executed by Anil Chamaria, freelance journalist, Jitendra Kumar from the Media Study Group and Yogendra Yadav, senior fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

    If men and women are taken together, the share of upper caste Hindus or `dwijas' in the upper echelons of the media is 85 per cent. These castes account for 16 per cent of the national population.

    Brahmins alone, the survey found, hold 49 per cent of the top jobs in national journalism. If non-`dwija' forward castes like Marathas, Patels, Jats and Reddys are added, the total forward caste share stands at 88 per cent.

    In contrast, OBCs, who are estimated to constitute around 40 per cent of the population, account for an "abysmally low" four per cent of top media jobs. In the English print media, OBCs account for just one per cent of top jobs and in the Hindi print media eight per cent. Muslims too, the survey noted, are "severely under-represented in the national media": they account for only three per cent among the key decision makers in the national media, compared with 13.4 per cent in the country's population.

    The Hindu : National : Upper castes dominate national media, says survey in Delhi
     
  17. Bachchu Yadav

    Bachchu Yadav Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    71
  18. Bachchu Yadav

    Bachchu Yadav Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    71
    Now I hope ..mods don't feel the need of changing title for a 'better' one !
     
  19. Bachchu Yadav

    Bachchu Yadav Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    71
    These are two different surveys and two different articles ! but still mods are in habit of moderations.
     
  20. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    27,623
    Likes Received:
    28,463
    Location:
    BHARAT, INDIA, HINDUSTHAN
    What is caste ?
     
  21. Bachchu Yadav

    Bachchu Yadav Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    71
    Nobody is asking for reservation in Media. But people has right to know that only 8% of population(upper castes) is controlling media houses and film industry. And people carry their biases and beliefs.
     

Share This Page