Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Indian Journalists: It's Wake-up Time!

Why do Indian newspapers and magazines shy away from in-depth coverage of issues like "farmer suicide" and "police atrocities in Jammu"? Was the question that skimmed to the surface, in a manner of speaking, when I read this article in the website of Columbia Journalism Review. Having been associated with journalism, however peripherally, well, um, I guess I can be forgiven for encroaching into this terroritory.

Read about how Indian media skip substance for style in this thoughtful article by Basharat Peer(CJR: Style Over Substance) who is now in the US.

Seems that any serious reporting on India and its problems are being done from outside of the country. Excerpt:

Meanwhile, there is another side of the ”rise of India.”It is a darker side, brimming with complicated stories that demand detailed reporting and space–in print or on air–to be told properly. In the rural areas of India, for example, thousands of cotton farmers have committed suicide after falling hopelessly into debt. It is a continuing tragedy, which has yet to find its James Agee and Walker Evans. With the exception of the detailed reporting on the subject by Palagummi Sainath, the rural affairs editor of The Hindu, a Madras-based English-language daily, the story has been largely ignored. The effects of the industrial expansion on traditional, tribal-dominated rural areas are invisible in magazines and newspapers; they are mostly not interested in such grim subjects.

We have P. Sainath, who wrote "Everybody Loves a Good Drought," but we need more like him and friend Annie Zaidi who has done this excellent expose on Manual Scavenging for Frontline.

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