Herald: Gender bias in media dominates women forum meet
Herald News

Gender bias in media dominates women forum meet

11 May 2015 11:49pm IST
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11 May 2015 11:49pm IST

PANJIM: The existence of gender bias in the Indian media was the statement made at the Women Economic Forum that brought together several members of the industry.

TEAM HERALD 


PANJIM: The existence of gender bias in the Indian media was the statement made at the Women Economic Forum that brought together several members of the industry. 

Though the topic was ‘Media as agents of change,’ women journalists and the reasons why there were very few that dominated the big positions in the industry was the most talked of among the panelists that included Mohan Sivanand, Editor-at-large, Reader’s Digest, Siddharth Zarabi Executive Director, Bloomberg TV India, S Venkat Narayan journalist and ex-president Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Vijay Naik Editor at Satkal, Ram Kamal Mukherjee, former editor at Stardust, Om Thanvi, Executive Editor at Jansatta, Umesh Upadhyay, President of news at Network 18 and journalist turned politician Shazia Ilmi. 

Ilmi who began her career in journalism 16 years ago said she had initially faced discrimination. “When I began, the industry was indeed very biased. TV more so than print but to me the thought was why should I be doing soft stories when I was interested in home affairs and political stories,” she said. 

Restricting women to a particular field of reporting while allowing the men to do the harder stories was another reason most men advanced higher up the organisation than women, said Sivanand. 

Despite the lack of women holding positions at the editorial levels, most believed the time for change had arrived and that it was only a matter of time. 

“Women today are working in challenging situations and it is not only in the urban areas but rural villages too. Although difficulties may arise, they have definitely broken the ceiling,” said Naik. 

Veteran Hindi journalist Om Thanvi, however said that the women that were finding their way into the industry were mostly belonging to the high society. “If one goes to see where these women are coming from, you will find that most come from high societies,” he said. 

Bloomberg’s Zarabi on the other hand pointed that technology helped make working for women easier. “In the past couple of years, what has happened is that technology and especially social media has helped make working hours better and I see this as the way forward,” he said. 

Beyond all the talk of women in the media industry, the message that focus had to shift to the news rather than whether it was a man or a woman reporting it went out loud and clear. 

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