Newsrooms in India are not inclusive: Report

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90% of leadership positions in Indian media occupied by upper caste groups report
The report studied around 43 Indian print, TV, and digital media outlets for their coverage, the social location of the leadership, and the caste composition of journalists employed by the organizations.

According to a new report, about 90 percent of leadership positions in Indian media are occupied by upper caste groups with not even a single Dalit or Adivasi heading Indian mainstream media.

Chief Executive Officer of Oxfam India, Amitabh Behar said, “Our second report in three years continues to show that newsrooms in India are not an inclusive place for marginalized communities in the country.”

“The leaders of media organizations across all platforms continue to fail in creating an enabling environment for Dalits, Adivasis, and Bahujans”, Amitabh Behar added.

“The media in the country needs to uphold the constitutional principle of equality in not just its coverage but also in its hiring practices”, he said.

“For over 70 percent of their primetime debate shows, news channels draw the majority of the panelists from the upper castes. No more than 5 percent of all articles in English newspapers are written by Dalits and Adivasis. Hindi newspapers are slightly better at around 10 percent,” it said.

The report has following findings:

  • The report also shows that every 3 out of 5 articles in Hindi and English newspapers are written by General caste authors while marginalized castes (SC, ST, or OBC) only contribute to around 1 out of 5 articles.
  • Three out of every four anchors (among a total of 40 anchors in Hindi channels and 47 in English channels) of debates are upper caste.

The finding further included:

  • Of the 121 newsroom leadership positions – editor-in-chief, managing editor, executive editor, bureau chief, input/output editor – across the newspapers, TV news channels, news websites, and magazines under study, 106 are occupied by upper castes, five by other backward classes, and six by people from minority communities. The case of four individuals could not be identified.
  • Around 72 percent of articles with the author’s name on news websites are written by people from the upper castes and only 10 of the 972 articles featured on the cover pages of the 12 magazines under study are about issues related to caste, the report said.

The report studied around 43 Indian print, TV, and digital media outlets for their coverage, the social location of the leadership, and the caste composition of journalists employed by the organizations.

The research which was conducted between April 2021 and March 2022 analyzed over 20,000 magazine and newspaper articles, 2,075 prime-time debates with 76 anchors and 3,318 panelists, and 12 months of online news reports.

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