Veteran journalist C.M. Ramachandra has advocated a recruitment policy for media organisations that allows more people from deprived sections to enter the profession and make for greater newsroom diversity.

Speaking at the inaugural of a workshop for journalism students from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, organised by the Information Department here on Friday, he said there were hardly any Dalits in newspapers as recently as 20 years ago. Though the situation is better now, there is a need for people from the socially-deprived communities to step into the profession.

Mr. Ramachandra told the students to always remember that they are inferior to none and take on the mightiest fearlessly and with confidence. It is equally important to “have a grounding in everything that matters in life”. These two cardinal principles are vital in defending professional ethics and dignity.

Recalling his early days as a reporter when “journalism was a noble profession, but a sorry trade” with few emoluments, he narrated incidents where he had taken on men in positions of power.

Mr. Ramachandra said journalists in post-Independence India had the challenge of taking on “multiple enemies” unlike the previous generation that saw the colonial power as the principal enemy.

The challenge for a journalist is finding the right focus given the diversity of problems, ranging from a highly unequal society to political waywardness.

It is unfortunate that professional bodies such as the Press Club, Reporters’ Guild or the Karnataka Union of Working Journalists had not taken the initiative to train young journalists from socially and economically backward sections, said Mr. Ramachandra.

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