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Home > News > Report

'One has to cater to market's choice'

A rediff.com correspondent | June 06, 2006 17:03 IST

It was an unusual seminar at noon on Tuesday in the New Delhi summer where Rajdeep Sardesai, Indiantelevision's star anchor was quizzed by Sharad Yadav, former Union minister and president ofJanta Dal-United.

The seminar organised by Indian Women's Press Corps was on issues related toreservation.

Yadav, who was a bit impatient, took on the TV media and alleged that the coverage of the 19-days' anti-reservation movement was biased and lopsided.

He argued that most of the mediawere upper caste and that was reflected in the coverage.

Yadav saidanti-reservation protests had only 200 students at AIIMS, but TV coverage made it a big issue as if they were countering Indian Parliament.

Sardesai, whose channel CNN-IBN had gone overboard over the issue,stoutly defended Yadav's allegations.

He pointed out that there is a difference in the media of 1990 and 2006.

In India there are around 34 news channels providing 24/7 coverage. More than eight news channels are in Hindi and in English, three news channels are facing fierce competition.

Sardesai said in his defence that he refused to believethere was any kind of conspiracy behind the coverage of the reservation issue.

He said although there are more upper caste journalists in the Indian media, a recent survey showed that large number of journalists were Mandalites.

"On the reservation issue, there is a level of intolerance on both sides. People who are trying to seek the middle ground are finding it difficult," he said.

Sardesai tried to compare the difficulty media faced while covering the Gujarat riots when Chief Minister Narendra Modi too found the media coverage biased.

He however conceded that, "In television, persons whose voices are the loudest and whohave extremes views are heard more."

Sardesai also saidits limitation was that in the cacophony of news coverage in24/7 news channels,information gets lost.

He saidsometimes reporters who are covering the issue have no clue ofthe subject because they become reporters straight out of college. Theyspeak without reference to context.

However Arnab Goswami of Times Now, his co-panelist, strongly disagreed with Sardesai and said an editor need not be apologetic about this, since the reporter on the field (who may be ignorant of history) provides news, and providing analysis is his job.

Sardesai, also pointed out that spokesmen of the Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were not articulate in English, so they get lesser coverage and one should not see any conspiracy behind them getting less coverage than the people who are opposingreservation.

"You are not capable to find the middle ground. But we in media are in a better position to find the middle ground," Sardesai told Yadav.

Yadav retortedback that without taking into account90 per cent of India, you can't build the nation.

Ram KripalSingh of Aaj Tak candidly said that every Friday they read the TRP ratings and that does influence their decisions.

Singh revealed that when Aamir Khan had a press conference in Mumbai onthe banning of Fanaa issue in Gujarat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was having his press conference in Kashmir and when they showed Khan, the TRP was 80 while Dr Singh had a TRP of only 10.

Singh said that television and newspapers were not the medium of self-expression. One has to cater to market's choice.

In the first session Yadav and P V Indiresan, former professor from IIT, and expert Ritu Priya debated Reservation: Twenty years from now.





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Number of User Comments: 1




Sub: Upper caste in Media

Well, the best thing for those seking the middle ground is to shut up. If 90% cannot be considered in counting the opinion of the ...


Posted by vandhia thevan




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