The Magsaysay Award-winning rural affairs editor of The Hindu, Palagummi Sainath, continues his one-man crusade against the growing disconnect between mass media and mass reality.
At the launch of the website of Janashakthi, a Kannada weekly, in Bangalore on Thursday, Sainath said:
# Media is disconnected with 70 per cent of the population and is not talking to them. During elections, it is these 70 per cent who make news. During such time, all the opinion polls will be washed away due to huge under current of these voters.
# Except one TV channel and one newspaper in the whole country, not one media organisation thought Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar admission in Parliament that about 1.6 lakh farmers committed suicide between 1997 and 2007, was news.
# Mass media even failed to report the outcome of a house-to-house survey of farmers, conducted by the Maharashtra government, which revealed that 2 million farming families were in a highly distressed state
# Indian media is giving importance only for the “elite” section of society. 512 media representatives cover a week-long fashion show held every year in Bombay, while six representatives of the national media do not wish to stay in villages to study and report the causes of farmers’ suicide in the Vidharabha region.
# Budget announcement of waiving of farm loans of over Rs. 50,000 crore has been described as “unprecedented” in the mass media, when such concessions were being given to the corporate sector every year.
# While the media spoke about the farmers and there were panel discussion on television channels, there were no farmers or somebody who knew about farming on the panel.
Read the full stories: ‘Farmers’ crisis not represented in media’