The report studied around 43 Indian print, TV, and digital media outlets for their coverage, social location of the leadership, and the caste composition of journalists employed by the organisations
NEW DELHI – A new report has come up with the demographic imbalance in the India media. According to the report with about 90% of leadership positions occupied by them upper caste groups have an unquestioned hegemony over the national media while Dalit or Adivasi are not heading even a single Indian mainstream media.
The second edition of Oxfam India-Newslaundry’s Report ‘Who tells our stories matters: Representation of Marginalised Caste Groups in Indian Media’, released at The Media Rumble, South Asia’s largest news media forum, reveals that around 90 percent leadership positions in print, TV, and digital media are occupied by General caste groups with no Scheduled Caste (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) heading mainstream media outlets.
According to the report, every three out of five articles in Hindi and English newspapers are written by General caste authors leaving the contribution of the marginalised castes (SC, ST or OBC) at around one out of five articles.
The report found that of the 121 newsroom leadership positions of editor-in-chief, managing editor, executive editor, bureau chief, input/output editor across the newspapers, TV news channels, news websites, and magazines under study, while 106 are occupied by the upper castes and five by other backward classes, only six are occupied by members of minority communities.
Among a total of 40 anchors in Hindi TV channels and 47 in English channels, three out of every four anchors of debates are upper caste. These channels aren’t represented by Dalits, Adivasis, or OBCs at all for over 70 percent of their primetime debate shows, news channels draw the majority of the panellists from the upper castes. As for the print media, less than 5 percent of all articles in English newspapers are written by Dalits and Adivasis. Hindi newspapers, however, fare slightly better at around 10 per cent.
While around 72% of articles posted on news websites bearing author’s names are written by people from the upper castes, only 10 of the 972 articles featured on the cover pages of the 12 magazines under study are about issues related to caste, the report said.
The report studied around 43 Indian print, TV, and digital media outlets for their coverage, social location of the leadership, and the caste composition of journalists employed by the organisations. The research which was conducted between April 2021 and March 2022 analysed over 20,000 magazine and newspaper articles, 2,075 prime-time debates with 76 anchors and 3,318 panellists and 12 months of online news reports.
Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India 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.”
He stressed the need for the media in the country to uphold the constitutional principle of equality in not just its coverage but also in its hiring practices. This would be crucial for creating India without discrimination and injustice, Mr. Behar said.