The Indian media, which faces the challenge of being more inclusive, needs to facilitate entry of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes into newsrooms as they have little representation there, Professor Robin Jeffrey, a leading authority on media affairs, said on Saturday.
Explaining what he construed as a serious challenge for the Indian media, Professor Jeffrey said there are “newsrooms and broadcast studios which have almost no Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribes amongst them on the editorial side.”
“That means that close to one in every four Indians will not find anyone much like themselves writing stories, going to the camera or making decisions about what is news,” he added.
Professor Jeffrey, a leading academic known for his work, “India's Newspaper Revolution,” made these points at the Rajendra Mathur Lecture organised by the Editors Guild of India, whose president and senior journalist T.N. Ninan earlier welcomed him.
Professor Jeffrey said that for a very long time Dalits and tribals had continued to be away from the mainstream media and though anomaly had been noticed in the past, the problem had persisted.
He suggested Indians could act on the lines of what the American Society Newspapers Editors did 35 years ago when they had begun an audit of African-Americans' presence in the newsrooms and set target for a rough parity for minorities.
“Annual audit of SC/ST presence in the newsroom and perhaps some very modest annual targets for inducting and bringing along journalists from such communities could be a solution,” he said.
‘Set up trust'
Another suggestion Professor Jeffrey gave was setting up of a trust for funding a “high-quality publication, preferably a magazine, devoted to the issues surrounding the SC/ST experience.”