Meet on media coverage of women's issues

Kalpana Sharma  

Focusing on the much-needed, yet dismal dialogue on women's rights in the mainstream, a national seminar on “Covering women's issues: obstacles and “was organised by the Department of Communication and Journalism, Osmania University.

The two-day-long ‘seminar cum film festival' focused on the space, time and outlook women's issues get in the mainstream today; be it governance, law, print, radio, television or new media.

Senior journalist Ammu Joseph said that it is vital that all news is looked at through a gender lens. “They cannot be compartmentalised. From war, caste, economy, budget, politics to health, all issues are women's issues and have great impact on their lives,” she said.

While revealing ill-effects television soaps that reinforce archaic conventions against women's rights can have on society, Shailaja Suman, Director, Doordarshan Kendra said, “In the fight for Television Rating Points (TRPs) we are losing out on constructive debates and awareness programmes that TV can offer.”

A section of women themselves seem to be more interested in TV soaps, she felt.

Kalpana Sharma, former Deputy Editor, The Hindu, who presented her reflections on each of the women filmmakers and their socio-cultural backgrounds stressed on the need to integrate the ‘gender lens' into news reporting. Citing the absence of sportswomen, the columnist blamed the market forces and insensitivity of editors in their coverage of women. She also urged journalism students to ask the right questions when women are being reported. Highlighting contribution of women to the economy she said nearly 30 per cent of the energy in India is collected by women in the form of fuel wood.

Uma Sudhir, Resident Editor, NDTV, felt the progressive woman is not just about wearing western clothes and flaunting cropped hair, but the equality she commands in every walk of life. For most media houses, covering women happens in only urban areas and they comfortably ignore the rural homemaker.

At the same time she lamented the shrinking space on the newspapers and television, which only cover political issues and hence have no space for women issues in the rural areas. Several short films on the theme were also screened.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 8:57:11 AM |

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