People’s issues are hardly covered: Amartya Sen

The media should focus on issues that concern people, particularly health care and education, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said here on Monday. The media, however, seemed more concerned with the three Khans of Bollywood and who among them was the best.

Interacting with presspersons after launching a book at Kalakshetra, he said although governments were found wanting when it came to improving access to healthcare and education, it was not just about government performance.

“It’s [also] the media’s inability to focus on the question. The media is much more concerned with things like films and public entertainment, who said what about whom which is a subject 20 per cent of the population is really engaged in. But there is a huge population that gets very little attention from the media,” Prof. Sen said.

Talking of the media’s obsession with the three Khans, he said: “I am sure they are great actors but there are major issues which hardly get any attention in the India media.”

There was no point in blaming the political system since it allowed the media to do what it wanted. But, despite the freedom it enjoyed, the media had overlooked the fact that the government was failing to do the basic things for people, he said.

On whether the media had become elitist, Prof. Sen said it had always been elitist. But not all newspapers were the same. Some papers did give more coverage to people’s issues. “If I can pay a compliment sitting in this city, The Hindu does cover much more. Whenever I tried to write articles on healthcare and education, I sent them here as the chances of publishing them are greater,” he said.

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