Voices Friday, June 06, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute| June 4, 2014| 4.35 pm IST June 5th is World Environment Day. That is why you have not heard about it. Tomorrow many of us will hug a tree and feed an earthworm and pledges will be made to switch off electricity for 24 hours in a country where large parts are in darkness anyway. Lights on, the first jobs that get slashed are those of journalists reporting on the environment and rape, child abuse and public health. How you live with what you live is a problem that India has failed to address, beginning with environment which a new study calls “…the backbone of our survival and consistent maintenance on earth.” The path-breaking analysis by the Centre for Environment and Media – also funded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests – says India’s electronic media has failed to focus on an issue that threatens the survival of the planet. In a detailed survey of how often electronic media in the country reports on the subject – the study reveals that news on politics, sports, entertainment and crime had maximum coverage in five years, while less than one percent of the total time was devoted to issues like environment and wildlife. The study focused on six mainstream 24X7 TV news channels over a five-year period from 2009 to 2013. DD News, Aaj Tak, CNN IBN, NDTV 24X7, Star News and Zee News. The study says that in 2009 environment coverage was only 1.53 percent while news on politics comprised 20.36 percent of the coverage.In 2012, the coverage of sports news was 29.61 percent while environment news was just 0.50 percent. From 2011 to 2013, the coverage of politics dominated over social issues. The coverage of environment news sharply declined since 2009. It is not just news about the environment, but agriculture got 0.03% coverage in 2012. It was found that in the last five years, the media rarely focused on various environmental issues such as agriculture, weather, natural disasters and wildlife. "As the backbone of our survival and consistent maintenance on Earth, environment needs to be lent the required space and structure that it rightfully holds. Only then, a mature and palpable interaction will be made possible," CMS said in a release. Inputs from IANS

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