20 October, 2020

Unfair Bias

On the media and women

Unfair Bias
WHEN it comes to portrayal of women in Indian media, there are few surprises. It mostly reports on women when they are raped, abused, burned or suicidal, or register a first in anything. Women's organisations, movements and feminists are not taken seriously by the media. There are few women in senior and decision-making positions, and most cover soft issues. Why is this so?

Sonia Bathla argues it is due to 'Brahmin-ical hegemony', or the deeply-rooted cultural orientation of Indian urban elite, which defines women's issues as belonging to some private space and not relevant to public debates of a democracy. She comes to this conclusion after analysing select English newspapers (292 in all) for four years—1981, 1985, 1989 and 1993—and interviewing select journalists and women's groups.

Bathla's research suggests the media, which forms a dominant part of the public sphere, has made women's concerns invisible. Press coverage of women's issues is predominantly event-oriented, focusing on violence and...



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