Noted journalist and Magsaysay award winner P. Sainath, who is also the rural affairs editor of The Hindu, on Sunday wondered why the Indian mainstream media failing to provide enough space for dalits and adivasis in editorial roles despite affirmative actions touching other pillars of democracy started bearing fruits. Delivering N N Sathyavrathan Memorial Lecture on `Structural Compulsions of Crony Journalism’ at Kerala Press Academy here, Mr Sainath said casteism and exclusionism still exist in a vast majority of media organisations in the country.
Stressing the need of more democratisation in the media field, he said that would be the only way to protect interests of the larger masses of the country and get their struggles reflected in media columns.
Coming down heavily on the media practice promoting corporate interests, Mr sainath said Aam Aadmi Party was the darling of Indian media when it not touched corporate corruption at the initial stage. ``The media started painting AAP in villainous colours only after it started attacking Ambanis and other corporate groups, which plunder precious natural resources.,’’ he said.
Referring to social media, Mr sainath said digital monopoly is more dangerous than the media monopoly to the larger interests of the society. He also explained how digital monopolies taking away even personal information of those who use social media to promote business and gain profit.
Stressing that there is a severe disconnect between Mass Media and Mass Reality in the country, Mr Sainath said it would be high time to liberate Indian journalism from corporate stenography. ``Lakme Fashion week in Mumbai was covered by 612 accredited journalists but there were only half a dozen journalists to cover the farmers’ suicides in Vidharbha,’’ he said. He also stressed the need of media more focussing on on labour issues, homelessness and other forms of social discriminations.
Press Academy chairman N P Rajendran presided over the meeting. Senior journalist P Rajan spoke on the contributions of late Mr Sathyavrathan as a reputed journalist and director of institute of communication of Kerala Press Academy.