Published on Countercurrents.org, by Nigar Ataulla, 05 June, 2007.
… These findings are based on a survey of the social background of 315 key decision makers from these media organizations. Its key findings reflect the sources of bias:
1. India’s ‘national’ media lacks social diversity – It does not reflect the country’s social profile
2. Hindu ‘upper’ caste men dominate the media. They are about 8 % of India’s population but among the key decision makers of the national media their share is as high as 71 %.
3. Gender bias rules: only 17 % of the key decision makers in the media are women. Their representation is better in the English Electronic media (32 %).
4. The media’s caste profile is equally unrepresentative. ‘Twice born’ Hindus (dwijas or ‘twice-born’ ‘upper’ caste Hindus, comprising Brahmins, Kayasths, Rajputs, Vaishyas and Khatris) are about 16 % of India’s population, but they are about 86 % of the key media decision makers in this survey. Brahmins (including Bhumihars and Tyagis) alone constitute 49% of the key media personnel.
5. Dalits and Adivasis are conspicuous by their absence among the decision makers in the media. Not even one of the 315 key decision makers belonged to the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes.
6. The proportion of OBCs is abysmally low among the key decision makers in the national media: they are only 4 % compared to their population of around 40 % in the country.
7. Muslims are severely under-represented in the national media: they are only 3 % among the key decision makers, compared to 13.4% in the country’s population.
8. Social groups that suffer ‘double disadvantage’ are also nearly absent among the key decision makers: there are no women among the few OBC decision makers and negligible ‘backwards’ among the Muslims and Christians.
Another most often-discussed topic in Muslim media circles is how to correct or combat the media distortion of or disinformation on Muslims and Islam in the Indian or Western media. What role can the Muslim media, as well as other Muslim community organizations, play in addressing this very serious issue? …
… In order to enable the Muslim media to play a more effective role in empowering the community, the following suggestions could be seriously considered: … (full long text).