By Muslim Mirror Network
According to a recent report, upper caste groups hold about 90% of the leadership positions in Indian media, with not a single Dalit or Adivasi leading the country’s mainstream media.
According to the second edition of Oxfam India-report, Newslaundry’s “Who tells our stories matters: Representation of Marginalised Caste Groups in Indian Media,” general caste groups hold 90% of the leadership positions in print, TV, and digital media, while neither scheduled castes (SC) nor scheduled tribes (ST) are in charge of mainstream media outlets.
The report made public at The Media Rumble, South Asia’s largest news media forum, also reveals that marginalised castes (SC, ST, or OBC) only contribute to about one out of every five articles while general caste authors write three out of every five articles in Hindi and English newspapers.
Editor-in-chief, managing editor, executive editor, bureau chief, and input/output editor are among the 121 positions in the newsroom that are held by leaders of the newsrooms at the 121 newspapers, TV news channels, news websites, and magazines under study. Of these positions, 106 are held by members of upper castes, five by members of other lower classes, and six by members of minority communities. It was impossible to pinpoint the four people’s cases.
Out of a total of 40 anchors for Hindi channels and 47 for English channels, three out of every four debate anchors are upper caste. None of them were Dalits, Adivasis, or members of the OBC.”For over 70 percent of their primetime debate shows, news channels draw the majority of the panelists from the upper castes. No more than 5 percent of all articles in English newspapers are written by Dalits and Adivasis. Hindi newspapers fare slightly better at around 10 percent,” it said.
Only 10 of the 972 articles featured on the cover pages of the 12 magazines under study are about caste-related issues, according to the report. Around 72% of articles with author names on news websites are written by people from the upper castes.
Oxfam India’s CEO, Amitabh Behar, said, “Our second report in three years continue to show that newsrooms in India are not an inclusive place for marginalised communities in the country. The leaders of media organisations across all platforms continue to fail in creating an enabling environment for Dalits, Adivasis, and Bahujans.”
“The media in the country needs to uphold the constitutional principle of equality in not just its coverage but also in its hiring practices,” he said.
It is imperative that media companies conduct a thorough review of their hiring procedures right away and see to it that newsrooms all over the nation become more inclusive and diverse. According to Behar, this would be essential for establishing an India free from prejudice and injustice.
The report examined 43 Indian print, TV, and digital media outlets to determine how they covered stories, where their leaders were located socially, and which castes made up their staff of journalists.
Between April 2021 and March 2022, more than 20,000 magazine and newspaper articles, 2,075 prime-time debates with 76 moderators and 3,318 participants, and 12 months’ worth of online news reports were analysed for the report.
The study focused on qualitative factors like the authors’ and participants’ social backgrounds, the news item’s prominence, and the subject of the coverage.
With the aid of surveys, secondary sources of information, and databases from the UPSC and central universities, the report also looked into the representation of different caste groups among news organisations’ staff members.