Friday, 21 October 2016

ANALYSIS OF COVERAGE OF CHILD AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS ISSUES IN RAJASTHAN'S NEWSPAPERS


(October 10 to 20, 2016)
Submitted by
LOK SAMVAD SANSTHAN
2 / 633, Jawahar Nagar
Jaipur – 302 004

INTRODUCTION:

The monitoring and scan of English and Hindi newspapers published from Jaipur, which was started in September 2016, continued during the month of October 2016 with an expansion to cover regional editions of Hindi newspapers of Rajasthan. In addition to the news items of the State Capital and different parts of the State, the news items of national and international significance from New Delhi and other parts of the country were also scanned and analysed. Thus, the daily scan activities comprised the monitoring of news items in Jaipur, State and National segments.

            The whole exercise was taken up in an attempt to understand the trend of coverage of issues related to children and child rights as well as women's rights. A large number of stories appeared in the newspapers in the shape of hard news, features, data, articles, etc. The themes of stories ranged from child labour and child marriage to child abuse, violence against children, discrimination due to caste or economic status, abduction and trafficking of children, malnutrition, right to education, shelter homes, drop-outs from schools and crimes against women.

LIST OF NEWSPAPERS:

For the purpose of this study, the following English and Hindi newspapers published from Jaipur were selected and scanned for appearance of news and feature items:
  1. Hindustan Times
  2. The Times of India
  3. DNA
  4. Rajasthan Patrika
  5. Dainik Bhaskar
  6. Dainik Navjyoti
  7. Daily News

We have also scanned two leading newspapers –Rajasthan Patrika and Dainik Bhaskar –published from  regional centres –Jodhpur,Udaipur ,Kota etc from the above newspapers to watch the news and their content at the district level and observed that small events are also well covered with details.

INDICATORS FOR MONITORING OF NEWS:

The news and feature items were scanned in the newspapers to look for the coverage of topics such as child labour, child marriage, physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children, violence against children,  trafficking of children, malnutrition, condition of shelter homes and orphanages, school drop-outs, facilities in schools, awareness on children's issues through organisations such as UNICEF, and voluntary groups, foetal sex selection and female foeticide, safe motherhood and violence and crimes against women. The specific topics searched in the news items were child abuse/rape/molestation and cases under POCSO Act, foeticide incidents, child protection, child education, child health and care, juvenile justice, child labour, child rescue, child psychology, child Laws, right to education, school fee, dropout from schools, child marriage, child rescue homes, child malnutrition, trafficking of children, shelter house/orphanage homes and charitable homes/cradle schemes, midday meals, corporal punishment, street children, newborn death/IMR, girl child death, Beti Bachao/Beti Padhao Abhiyan, abandoned/lost children, sex selection, Aganwadi centres, Janani Surksha Yojana, lack of toilets, women's empowerment and child pronography.

KEY OBSERVATIONS:

JAIPUR:
  1. The total number of stories covered in the monitoring and scan exercise for the Jaipur section from October 10 to 20, 2016, were 80. The clippings of these news and feature stories were collected and submitted on a daily basis, along with the daily scan report. The maximum number of news stories carried in newspapers during the period under study were on the educational matters and issues relating to women's rights, followed by the public safety matters, such as the school children given safety tips on gas accident.
  2. The news stories covered a wide range of topics which displayed new social trends of awareness and assertion of rights by the marginalised sections of society, including their women and children. Analysis of these developments in the right perspective can offer solutions to the challenges emerging in the domains of education, gender parity, health care and equitable distribution of resources in the rural areas.
  3. A major policy decision taken by the Rajasthan government's Women and Child Development Department during the period pertained to the supply of uncooked food to Anganwadi centres for children and women for meeting their nutritional needs. The news stories on this development ought to analyse the decision in the context of local demand and its utility for Anganwadi centres which are also being converted into pre-primary schools. A comparison of nutritional value of cook and uncooked food will help the readers make an informed opinion about the utility of the decision.
  4. A news story reported that the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, Mr. Arun Chaturvedi, has announces construction of school rooms in Shastri Nagar from MLA Local Area Development Fund, but it did not mention for how long the school was facing shortage of space and why it had failed to catch the attention of the Education Department's authorities. Along with these facts, the lrager questions of lack of infrastructure and the responsibility of local elected representatives should also be raised.
  5. A news story quoted State Women' Commission Chairperson Suman Sharma as saying that the cases of sexual assault and molestation can be stopped if women reform themselves and keep away from bad habits. Such stories have a scope for questioning the established value system and criticising the mindset of those in power, while helping the readers form their own opinion about gender issues.
  6. In an indication of the newspapers taking up social cause, a news story reported that girls will be apprised of their rights and various schemes under the Lado Abhiyan of Rajasthan Patrika Media Action Group. At the same time, 200 women gave message of Beti Bachao in free ride at Mahila Shakti station of Jaipur Metro, while the girl students in Rajasthan University demanded appointment of a woman coach for physical education.
  7. Why should mother have no right on foetus in her womb and abortion? How far legal bindings should be mandatory in such cases? These were relevant questions raised in an article in Rajasthan Patrika. At the same time, the Rajasthan government's decision to install sanitary napkin dispensers and incinerators in government schools brought a ray of hope for empowerment of girl students.
  8. Crimes against women have assumed a serious proportion with, as was evident in a case of a drunken man killing wife in a fit of range in Bhilwara district. Minor spat over a trivial issue took an ugly turn. On the other hand, a young woman in Moti Dungari area of Jaipur accused a man of sexually assaulting her on the pretext of marrying her. Such cases are being reported with regularity across the state.
  9. Heralding new opportunities for women, State Minister Kiran Maheshwari launched the new system in Nagaur with a single window for all schemes for girls. Such stories need to be written with a view to helping out the target groups, on this case girls from the rural areas who find it difficult to deal with the government's rules and regulations for their simple works. On the other, even after five months, women's security app of Rajasthan Women's Commission was reported to be still on trial. Such negative aspects also need to be highlighted properly.

RAJASTHAN:
  1. The news stories published from the towns across Rajasthan depicted the emerging trends in child health, child nutrition, women's security and aspirations of the youth and women for a better life in which they can stake an equal claim on the resources for their development. The stories ranged from pitiable condition of schools to the contribution of teachers and students for betterment of educational facilities.
  2. Students attending convocation ceremony of Rajasthan Secondary Education Board were to get Rs. 500 and bus or train fare. On the other hand, students of MBM Engineering College in Jodhpur created a ruckus on ragging of three students of first year. These trends show an increasing assertiveness among the youth of today.
  3. While a government doctor was arrested on charges of illegal foetal sex determination tests of pregnant women, the news stories highlighted the importance of girls' education and cleanliness conveyed during a special camp. The doctor used to tell women during consultation that they have femals foetus and advised abortion. This led  to monetary loss for women.
  4. On the occasion of the International Day of the Girl, it was highlighted that daughters do 16 crore hours more work than sons. Unicef released report on girls of the age of 5 to 14 years. On World Obesity Day, it was estimated that 26.8 crore children will become overweight in the next 10 years.
  5. In a clear case of well thought-out suicide, woman throew her 10-month-old daughter in a pond and jumpd in it in Deengarh. Both of them died. Chain snatchers became active in city. Chains of two women were broken in morning, while a purse was snatched from young woman in afternoon.
  6. Girls of tribal regions in Madya Pradesh and Bihar are being educated in Barmer. They speakfluent Sanskrit and remember chapters of Gita and renditions to Gods. This is indeed a mercy fom the Almighty and has been very rightly highighted by the newspapers.
  7. In Sikar districts, girl student of VII class stops with folded hands the villagers going for open defecation in fields and generates awarenss about the ugly practice. Elsewhere, teachers went for training, putting students to difficulties without any arrangements for them. Students kept waiting.
  8. Spirit for environment protection was reflected in the models displayed at state-level inspiry award exhibition. Similarly, the IIM students in Udaipur launched “Prayatna” campaign for deaddiction of children involved in tobacco consumption.

NATIONAL:
  1. Girl students take out a rally against panchayat while demanding construction of toilet in Gomalwada village of Maharashtra. This instance depicts the reach of the media and its power to influence public opinion. The human and economic costs of malnutrition and how India can end this scourge are also potential sources of good news stories.
  2. Forcibly taking away a child to a foreign country may invite punishment of one year's sentence to the guilty, Law Commission has made the recommendation. Such developments are always of the interest of couples who have already gone through the difficult phase of separation. More such stories will generate awareness in the society.
  3. We need an Education 3.0, says TV Mohandas Pai. Education and pedagogy have constantly evolved, he says in an exclusive article. On the other hand, there are news stories about a  Sarpanch beating up 99 students of class X for failing in exams.
  4. Hunger Index Report revealed that 39 per cent children in India are suffering from malnutrition. In the same tone, major shortcomings in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act were highlighted in another news sotry. Court says the rights of minors are non-negotiable.

Submitted by:
Kalyan Singh Kothari,

Secretary Lok Samvad  Sansthan

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