Do we need quotas in the media?

G.N. Mohan forwards a survey of the social profile of key decision makers in the “national” media conducted by the Centre for Study of Developing Studies. Its key findings are that the India’s “national” media lacks social diversity and does not reflect the country’s social profile.

Hindu upper caste men dominate the media. They are about 8 per cent of India’s population but among the key decision makers of the national media their share is as high as 71%. Only 17 % of the key decision makers are women. Their representation is better in the English electronic media (32%).

The media’s caste profile is equally unrepresentative. ‘Twice born’ Hindus are about 16% of India’s population, but they are about 86% among the key media decision-makers. Brahmins alone constitute 49% of the key media personnel. Dalits and adivasis are conspicuous by their absence among the decision makers. Not even one of the 315 key decision makers belonged to the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes.

The OBCs comprise only 4 % compared to their population of around 40% in the country. Muslims are only 3% among the key decision makers, compared to 13.4% in the country’s population. Christians are proportionately represented in the media (mainly in the English media): their share is about 4% compared to their population share of 2.3%.

These findings are based on a survey of the social background of 315 key decision makers from 37 “national” media organizations (up to 10 key decision makers from each organisation) based in Delhi. The survey was carried out by volunteers of Media Study Group between 30 May and 3 June 2006.

Questions: Is it time for reservations in the media to restore the balance of coverage? Or should the media voluntarily seek to introduce diversity in the newsroom? Would better diversity have resulted in better coverage of, say, the reservation issue? Or are these issues only limited to the North of the country?


  1. SS

    People from diverse background and culture, with different views and ideology do add spice to a newsroom.

  2. Shobha

    I wonder does the media need quotas in order to represent/enforce plurality of views (something that is expected of us by default) with respect to any issue, mainly reservations? Speaks a lot about us, right? Diversity in a newsroom is always a welcome thing. But again, is reservation the right way to implement it? I am confused. The more I think about it, the more confused I get. Reservation, sure is a dicey issue.

  3. boringjournalist

    What does the survey wants to prove? Want quota system for improving the profile or approach to the coverage? this may work in the govenrment but not in the media. There are other ways of reorienting the focus of the media and reservation is certainly not one of them. 50 years of the reservation has hardly bettered the task fo the SCs and STs

  4. vinay mk

    please, please…… don’t try to bring in reservation controversy into newsroom

  5. M K Vidyaranya

    Yes, quota is a must in news paper industry in these days when the cost of newsprint is increasing leaps and bounds and there is a huge scarcity of good and well trained journalists.
    There was a time when newspapers were allocated quota of newsprint, both indian and imported depending upon their circulation.With the advent of liberalisation during PV Narasimha Rao’s regime, the quota of newsprint lost its relevance and newspapers opted for quality and were ready to pay more.
    A time may come when the government may make it mandatory on the part of the newspapers to reserve a portion of employment as it has done and it would be difficult for the intelligent to get jobs.
    It is high time that newspaper managements RESERVE ALL POSTS IN NEWSROOM FOR CANDIDATES BASED ON EXPERIENCE AND MERIT, instead of caste or creed so that the quality of the paper could be maintained in the long run.

  6. For Heaven’s sake, put an end to this quota madness, might as well change the name of India to ‘Quotadesh’

  7. If the quota trend continues unabated, we will end up having thousands of quotas within a quota,

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