Saturday, 1 October 2016

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

(September 2016)

Submitted by: Lok Samvad Sansthan, 2/633, Jawahar Nagar, Jaipur 302004

INTRODUCTION:

The monitoring and scan of English and Hindi newspapers published from Jaipur was undertaken during the month of September 2016 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

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 organizations such as UNICEF, Save the Children, Action Aid, Plan India and voluntary groups, foetal sex selection and female foeticide, safe motherhood and violence and crimes against women.

OBSERVATIONS:

  1. The total number of stories covered in the monitoring and scan exercise during September 2016 were 161. 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 month of study were on the issues faced by children in the schools, followed by various kinds of crimes against children and women.
  2. The news stories had good details of the issues covered by them as well as a high degree of understanding by the reporters, but there was a general lack of reporters' ability to put the things in perspective and offer some viable solutions which could be applied by the society in general and the authorities in particular to improve the situation.
  3. In the news stories relating to education, though it was reported that new initiatives have been taken by the government and the parent-teacher meetings are being organized in all schools, the greater emphasis needs to be laid on the implementation of right to education, which is a path-breaking legislation.
  4. The recent decision of the Rajasthan government to convert the Anganwadi centers into pre-primary education centers should widely publicized with the analysis on its impact on education scenario in the state. Over 15 lakh toys and 8 lakh books were recently collected for distribution at Anganwadi centers across Rajasthan.
  5. In addition to the reporting on crimes against women, the issue of safe motherhood should be properly covered in the newspapers. On the safe motherhood day organized in Rajasthan in September, over 17,000 women were found anaemic and 5,000 women were found with high risk pregnancy. Over 42,000 women given medical facility under safe motherhood drive.
  6. The issue of child labour should be covered with a greater degree of sensitivity, as any adverse reporting is bound to make an impact on the rest of life of children. In a story published in Rajasthan Patrika, it was highlighted that the police had to return empty handed from a house in Jaipur, where it had gone to get a bonded labourer released. The child labourer from West Bengal was reported as telling the police that he was working on his free will.

Kalyan Singh Kothari
Secretary: Lok Samvad Sansthan

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