Everybody only just loves a good farmer suicide

“India lives in its villages.” “Agriculture accounts for 60% of the Indian economy.” “Two out of every three Indians live in the rural areas.” The cliches abound about Bharat id est India.

Yet, a study of India’s top-three English and Hindi newspapers shows that they devote only a minuscule porportion of their total coverage to rural India’s issues, crises and anxieties.

The journalist Vipul Mudgal, who is currently with the Delhi-based centre for study of developing socieites (CSDS), selected 48 issues of The Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Hindu, and Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar and Amar Ujala from 2009, for the study.

An analysis of the news items in the six top-circulation dailies found that, on average, the papers devoted 2% editorial space for their flagship editions to the issues and concerns of two-thirds of India.

Out of between 100 and 200 items a day, just over three items had a rural theme.

The biggest portion (36%) of even this meagre news coverage was to non-agrarian issues such as crime, general or political (Naxalite-related) violence, accidents and disasters.

There is also little difference in the coverage of rural issues between the English and Hindi dailies, despite the latter being presumed to have their nose to the ground.

“One reason for their lack of interest could be explained by the fact that their readers, advertisers and journalists, particularly in the metropolitan editions, come from urban backgrounds.

“The dailies tend to be more consumer-focused and try to fulfil the needs and aspirations of educated and upwardly mobile urban consumers whose universe often has limited space for issues of poverty and underdevelopment,” writes Mudgal.

Read the fulll article: Rural coverage in Hindi and English dailies

Infographic: courtesy Economic & Political Weekly

Also read: ‘Middle-class media doesn’t speak for the poor’

‘Indian media doesn’t cover 70% of India’s population’

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6 Responses to “Everybody only just loves a good farmer suicide”

  1. Ramesh Raghuvanshi Says:

    There are many reason for farmer suicide..Some suicide are genuine some are fake.. It depend on police judge the suicide.When Government decided to give comeuppances to suicide farmer. more fake suicide registered by police.Police benefited by fake suicide..
    Why news media not interested in farmer`s suicide? Simple reason they are not getting TRP on this kind of news.

  2. Kulkarni Says:

    According to PMO website if you click on FAQ inside the window of this page http://pmindia.nic.in/relief.htm we can see that total contribution of PM to flood situation in Karnataka is in four cases from 2005. The total of all funds spent here all years in flood affected southern states is less than J&K cloudburst relief standing at 5000+ lakhs!!

    Over that he has never visited any southern state willingly during national calamities.
    But he with UPA chairperson find loads of time flying to Mumbai for far from national calamity – to visit people in hospitals!!!!

    We also see how sheela dixit is saved. How Lokayukta is made powerful tool in south momentarily while the same Lokayukta is defunct in Delhi.
    We also see how a Reddy can be benefactor and beneficiary to Congress in AP and BJP in Karnataka while no one is worried about standard of living of the people here!!

    Till now I haven’t seen a single documentary on Ballari in any paper or channel of world standards but when Reddy got arrested there was almost a biography in all channels. No rehabilitation of 17 lakh odd workers done and return of mining in a district where Santosh Hegde based on scientific study reveals that iron ore will be exhausted in just a decade and still we hear money control and economic times coming with headlines everyday of the losses to mining industry.

    Star news of Deepak Chourasia doesn’t show Bengaluru in its weather report.
    Where is the village, where is agriculture? I find them in Punjab and Haryana in abundance.

    Beware when calling this two hooded sarpa Manmohan Singh as a gentleman if you are not sold out to corruption called north INDIA. Not only him we have a long fight with our own global delivery models who are incapable of seeing a broader picture .

  3. the GAGGED Says:

    Simple: There are No Journalists in the hinter-land

  4. twistleton Says:

    P. Sainath must be frothing at the mouth…

  5. Bhamy V Shenoy Says:

    I have serious doubts about this study. I do not disagree that news papers give more coverage to urban news. Still it may not be as lop sided as this survey seem to project.

    When parers write about PDS, about fertilizer issues, political problems are these urban or rural? They affect every one. It would have been useful to know how the news was considered as urban and rural.

  6. A Newspaper for and About India’s Rural Majority | Orissa Online Portal Says:

    […] and backed by a revealing graphic, was summarized on the excellent Indian media blog Churumuri as “Everybody only just loves a good farmer suicide.” (That’s an allusion to the sarcastic title of the journalist P. Sainath’s hard-hitting […]

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