The article “The media and the farm sector” (Nov. 11) has exposed the media’s lackadaisical approach to the agriculture sector, while lauding them for their role in the initial days of the Green Revolution. Most business magazines and financial dailies concentrate on industrial news, the banking sector and the stock market. Writing on rural issues requires a higher degree of social commitment on the part of journalists and publishing houses. No economic development is possible without progress in the farming sector. And the proactive role of the media in achieving this end cannot be overstressed.
Sunil P. Shenoy,
The media indeed played a crucial role in making the Green Revolution a success. All India Radio conceived programmes in the regional languages to reach out to the farming community and popularise the new agriculture packages. But, over time, the social fabric and the social capital of traditional agriculture societies began to crack as local interdependencies became redundant and allied activities started stagnating.
The second Green Revolution should aim at the restoration and revitalisation of agriculture ecosystems. The farming community should introspect on the diversion of resources to the newfound lifestyle which is fatal. In this context, the media have a great role to play. They should enlighten people on the ills of consumerism. More than anything else, the sense of belonging to the agriculture ecosystem and the joy of reconnecting with nature should be awakened.
Professor M.S. Swaminathan deserves praise for highlighting the role the media can play in enlightening and empowering our farmers. Unfortunately, they concentrate on sensationalism and give undue importance to political bickering and squabbles. Most of our media lack the intellectual freedom and prowess to follow an independent line of reporting. Media houses, too, have certain vested interests to protect and promote. In this dismal scenario, the media find little time and space to cater to the needs and interest of the hapless millions.
A century ago, Gurajada, a Telugu poet, effectively communicated through his patriotic song Deshabhakthi that a nation means people — not kings, rivers, mountains and man-made structures. Similarly, Professor Swaminathan is in the forefront of effecting a change in the mindset of policymakers and the media to make them realise that agriculture is intertwined with the livelihood of large sections of toiling masses. Unfortunately, politicians’ lack of vision and the media’s obsession with short-term gains have led to utter neglect of the farming community.
The article has brought out the grim reality of media bias. The media should rise to the occasion and create awareness on agriculture and related issues. Their collective effort will mount pressure on the government to act and announce long-term stimulus packages for the farm sector.
Since agriculture is the backbone of our economy, policymakers should look into the basic needs of the farming community. The media should highlight agriculture and farm scientists should be made accountable.
Agriculture is not just a profession but an integral part of our culture and society. Media intervention, therefore, is imperative for a much-needed social revolution.
W. Kalunge Gorakh,
We can trust AIR to repeat its noble role a second time round. For a while now, I have been reading only The Hindu and listening to news only on AIR, avoiding the immature, high-pitched rhetoric of TRP fanatics. Given the power a few media houses wield in elite circles, the task of mature journalists is bound to be harder. Hopefully, we shall overcome.