- Vijay Simha
Half of 2013 has gone by. It is a good time to take stock of how our media has done.
The Indian media is probably the largest journalism industry in the world. As of 2 July 2013, the RNI (Registrar of Newspapers for India) has a registry of 13,598 dailies and 36,662 weeklies.
This is apart from annuals, bi-annuals, five days a weeks, etc. Altogether we might say there are about 70,000 print publications registered in India. There are also close to 800 television channels.
Not all of them deal with news. Even among those that do, only a fraction matter. But even that is plenty.
If this media world gets after a story, results inevitably follow. However there are many stories that are not seriously looked at – for various reasons.
They are serious issues with huge impact on life in India. By not reporting more on them, the Indian media may have deprived the country of important information and insight.
Here are 10 stories that deserved more reportage in the first half of 2013.
1) 48% Indian children are stunted
By any yardstick this is stunning. Nearly half of India’s newborns are doomed in their initial days, largely because of poor nutrition.
India often confuses poor nutrition with lack of food and the usual response is to talk of food security. There is plenty of food in India but access to it is unequal. Even more worrisome is the nutritional content of the food.
Stunting is described as the consequence of malnutrition in the first 1000 days of life including the period of gestation. It is irreversible and such children are likely to be ill often, have poor education and low earnings.
In effect they are condemned to poverty. They in turn are likely to have stunted children who might also live in poverty.
This ruins the fabric of India. It implies that half of India may not contribute to the nation and might need huge care themselves.
Reuters put out a story and India Today had a report based largely on statistics. But there’s been nothing on the horror of it. No follow-ups. No striking narratives; nothing of note on TV.
Image: Malnourished child of Indian tea garden labourer Lalit Chetri, six year old Durga stands inside the closed Ramjhora Tea Estate, about 125 kms from Siliguri, 19 May 2007. (AFP)