Monday, 31 October 2016

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



INTRODUCTION:

The monitoring and scan of English and Hindi newspapers published from Jaipur, which was started in September 2016, continued till the end of October 2016 with an equal emphasis given to the  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 publication 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

Two leading newspapers – Rajasthan Patrika and Dainik Bhaskar – published from the regional centres such as Jodhpur, Udaipur and Kota, were also scanned in order to monitor their news contents generated at the district level. These newspapers gave a detailed coverage to small events which, despite being significant, are often not covered in the newspapers published from the State Capital.

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, Save the Children, Action Aid, Plan India 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 21 to 30, 2016, were 71. 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 child rights, followed by women's rights and sanitation matters, such as diversion of funds for construction of toilets to village panchayat accounts instead of payment to beneficiaries. The news story expressed an apprehension that such a trend would defeat the purpose of Swachh Bharat Mission.
  2. The news stories covered a wide range of topics which displayed some positive developments, such as the children starting to get pre-primary education in Anganwadi centres along with health and nutrition services and Rajasthan Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan sending proposal for developing 74 schools in tribal districts. An analysis of these developments would suggest that there is a new awakening in Rajasthan for getting quality education through the government's institutions, with which the rural population is exploring a new affinity. Similar developments in the fields of health care, gender parity and social justice call for evolving new approaches for ensuring holistic development of the society.
  3. Two news stories depicted a positive trend of the education authorities taking positive action for the sections which deserve special attention for their educational development. The Rajasthan Secondary Education Council decided to open girls' hostels in Swami Vivekanand Model Schools in a bid to improve students' enrolment, while the State Government's Education Department decided to hold extra classes for weak students of V and VIII classes in the government schools.
  4. The festival of Diwali during the week provided an opportunity to the citizens at large to share happiness and festive spirit with the children coming from disadvantaged sections of society. News stories highlighted the gifts given poor students in various schools. The Rajfed staff distributed sweets and crackers to children at children's home of Social Welfare Department on the occasion of Diwali. Similarly, students at Cambridge Court World School celebrated an eco-friendly Diwali.
  5. The significant issue of women's safety was also highlighted effectively by the newspapers during the week, as the Rajasthan State Women's Commission launched a women's security app. It will provide security to women in distress on pressing switch and begin recording on shaking mobile phone thrice. In another incident, a woman who was driven out of her home with her daughter succeeded in coming back with the help of police after spending two days on road outside the house in a residential colony in Jaipur.
  6. The news story on the increase by 5.46 per cent in enrolments in the rural schools generated hopes for eucational development in the villages of Rajasthan. Pratham NGO has applauded the trend. Rajasthan will also be the first state to change no-detention policy after amendment to RTE Act. The learning level will be assessed in each class after IV. In another development, class IX girl students will get cycles of orange colour from the State Government, while the Opposition party had alleged it to be saffron.
  7. The Rajsthan High Court has asked the Central Government to take a policy decision on admission of girls to military schools. This may pave the entry of girls to the prestigious military schools across the country. In a related development, a computer training camp began for girl students selected by Women and Child Development Department.
  8. A vaccination drive launched by UNICEF aims at reducing the dropout rate. In this connection, a media workshop was organised in Jaipur for spreading awareness about routine immunisation and was given a wide coverage. Health experts from UNICEF and the State Government interacted with the mediapersons and explained each step involved in immunisation of children. The immunisation coverage has increased to 78 per cent.
  9. A news story reported that the women educated up to VIII class can be appointed as accredited social health workers, according to new orders issued by the Women and Child Development Department. This will be helpful for women willing to work in the field and make contribution for implementing the government's schemes for women and children at the grassroots.
  10. On the health front, Jaykay Lon Hospital in Jaipur started enzyme replacement therapy for treatment of Goucher's disease by giving injection to an affected child referred by ESI on the court's direction. Another news story reported that a large number of children were found having eye ailments in a diagnosis held in schools. Such reports call for urgent action in order to maintain good health of school children.

RAJASTHAN:
  1. A wide range of subjects related mainly to the rural life were covered in the news stories published from the towns across Rajasthan during the period under review. The topics included strengthening of women's position in village panchayats, non-linking of bank accounts of students with Aadhar cards for scholarships and treatment for hyperactive children.
  2. Beating years of political exclusion, women are gradually occupying the decision-making positions and holding key administrative posts in village panchayats. The news story about this trend in Bhilwara district showed that the days of husbands acting on behalf of women in the panchayat bodies are over and women are now asserting themselves.
  3. Students were reported to be a harassed lot because of non-linking of their bank accounts for scholarships with Aadhar cards, as the last date for online application was October 31. Another news story reported a treatment discovered by a research student for hyperactive children, who lose temper early and are negligent.
  4. A woman teacher who tried to give application against her transfer to the Education Minister was dragged out of the venue of a function being attended by the Minister in Ajmer. The news story on this incident narrated the facts about the teacher's transfer but did not raise the larger questions of accountability of the government staff and sensitivity in the officials attached to the Minister.
  5. In a positive development for health care of women, a sanitary napkin vending machine started functioning in Ummaid Hospital in Jodhpur. It will provide a packet with containing 3 napkins on inserting a coin of Rs. 10.
  6. At a yatra flagged off in Dausa by the Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Ms. Anita Bhadel, an impressive function was organised for generating awaress on child marriage. The yatra formed part of the Sajha Abhiyan campaign lauched by the Rajasthan Government, UNFPA and UNICEF.
  7. Informers' network in villages will be strengthened to check sex selection tests and female foeticide, according to a news story. Such stories should also inform the readers how they can contribute to protection of the girl child by complaining against illegal sex determination centres.
  8. The students' health was stated to be in danger due to lack of coordination between Health and Education Departments in one of the news storiees. Pneumonia and iron deficiency was detected among students. In another news story, it was reported that a single teacher was looking after five classes in 800 schools in Udaipur district, while the parent do not want to send their children to schools.

NATIONAL:
  1. In the disturbed Kashmir Valley, children have become a moot point in the politics as the kin of victims of violence feel that justice is elusive, according to a detailed news story. A large number of children were injured in the violence between the Army and demonstrators recently. On the other hand, girls are learning wrestling in an Akhara in Pune with the target of  competing in the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games.
  2. A news story from Ranchi reported about a unique step in Jharkhand to name and shame those who employ children. This initiative to publicize the people involved in promoting child labour is expected to reduce the scourge significantly.
  3. The policy of not detaining students till VIII class will now be under the control of State Governments, as the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has asked all states to decide on learning outcome of students till further amendments in the Right to Education Act.
  4. In a disturbing revelation, a study has pointed out that despite going to schools, only 48 per cent girls in India are becoming literate. The average is far behind that in Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, says a news report.


INFOGRAPHICS:
An impressive display of facts and figures along with pictures, graphs and figures conveys the information to the readers in an easy-to-understand format. The use of infographics for reporting about a health survey in Rajasthan Patrika during the week stated that boys get married at a tender age in a larger number than the girls across the country. The situation of boys in the child marriage cases in Rajasthan is reported to be worse, as 27.5 per cent of boys get married as minors against 14.3 per cent of girls.

UPLOADING ON WEBSITE AND GOOGLE REPORTS:
The news clippings from different newspapers and the daily scan report of news stories are regularly uploaded on the website www.aimec.in for putting these important documents in the public domain in order to spread awareness and generate debates. As the website has a large readership base, this exercise is getting good response. The audience stats report, post stats report and traffic sources report of Google bear testimony to the large viewership of the uploaded material.

Kalyan Singh Kothari

Secretary: Lok Samvad Sansthan