We may overlook it or try to avoid it but it is a fact that newsrooms in India's national media and even regional media are mostly dominated by the Upper Castes (UCs).
It is unfortunate that the Dalits hardly get into the editoral section of the newspapers. Its a hard truth. In US long back, it was observed that the Blacks, who were 14% of US population, were not in journalism and major newspapers themselves took the inititative and now their representation is healthy. That is the real affirmative action.
In sharp contrast, SCs and STs, who together constitute 25% of India's population don't figure at the top level of editorial at all. There is no presence of SC/ST at the top level. So in a survey of 300 senior journalists in 37 Hindi and English newspapes and channels brought the startling facts:
UCs who form 8% of India's population hold 71% of top jobs in national media. Dalits and Adivasis were found nowhere in decision-making and NOT ONE of them found in top 315 media men.
Women, non-UCs and Muslims are also grossly under-represented. If men and women are taken together, the share of UC Hindus 'dwijas' in the top echelons of media is a shocking 85%.
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).
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, says the survey report published in The Hindu.
Muslims do better in the Hindi electronic media, forming six per cent of key decision-makers. In the English electronic media, the survey found there were no Muslims at the senior-most levels in Delhi.
Christians, however, are proportionately represented in the media (mainly in the English media). Their share is about four per cent compared with their population share of 2.3 per cent.
Doubly disadvantaged sections of the population, such as women Other Backward Classes or backward caste Muslims and Christians, are nearly absent among the key decision-makers.
The survey, for example, found that there was not a single OBC woman among the 315 journalists enumerated. The CNN-IBN also aired the findings of the survey. No wonder that the media is often accused of getting biased.
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