'Indian media is disconnected from the masses': Journalist P Sainath

Speaking in Vijayawada, the noted journalist said that the country is hurtling towards a serious water crisis, which is not being given enough attention by the media.
'Indian media is disconnected from the masses': Journalist P Sainath
'Indian media is disconnected from the masses': Journalist P Sainath
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“I believe that by March this year you will see major deaths of livestock due to lack of drinking water," declared noted journalist P Sainath, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI). Sainath was giving the Kantamneni Ravindra Rao Memorial Lecture in Vijayawada on Sunday, on the subject 'Democracy and Inequality in India: The role of media'. The lecture was organised by Kantamneni Ravindra Rao Foundation at PV Siddhartha College.

Sainath spoke extensively about agrarian crisis and an impending water crisis, while questioning why these issues were not covered in mainstream media.

Speaking about the rainfall deficit in the country, Sainath said that while lack of rainfall is a major issue, the water crisis is also manufactured. Inequality and marginalisation are leading to poor water facilities, he said, pointing out that in cities, corporates are being allowed to build swimming pools even though there is no water for agriculture.

"The issues pertaining to agricultural crisis are getting less attention in the media as they will not affect urban middle class and elite," he said.

"The media is disconnected from the masses, and particularly from marginalised sections of the rural masses," he added. He also said that the struggles of women were not given enough or fair coverage. Speaking on contemporary struggles of women in the country, Sainath said that women’s movements are being challenged by right-wing groups in the country.

Speaking about the Women's Wall in Kerala, he said it wasn’t given fair coverage and was instead covered as ' a “Limca Book of Records event”.

“Where in the world have 5.5 million women come out on streets and formed a wall? They came to assert their dignity, assert their rights and basic human rights, and not only for entry into the Sabarimala temple.”

Sainath said that Directive Principles of State Policy are as important as fundamental rights, and are of crucial importance to the governance of the society. He said that the fight against inequality, and fight against privatisation of education, water and health is the fight of every poor Indian.

Stating that the media is a part of the problem but not a solution, Sainath said that there should be a fight against inequality in media and for legislation that curbs monopoly in media.


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