‘Middle-class media doesn’t speak for poor’

P. Sainath, the Magsaysay Award-winning rural affairs editor of The Hindu, says the media did a poor job of explaining the impact of the recent fuel price hike on the poor while it expended time and space on the suicide of supermodel Viveka Babajee.

Delivering the silver jubilee lecture on “Mass Media: But where are the Masses?” at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Sainath says:

“In the last 15 years, everything that has become a convenience to the upper middle-class has become cheaper. You take air tickets, computers, cars etc…they are all affordable for us. But in this same period rice, wheat, electricity, water, etc. has become 300-500 per cent more expensive for the poor. Why is this not reflected in the media?

“Today newspapers have no labour correspondent, housing or primary education correspondent. We are explicitly telling 70 per cent of this country that they don’t matter to us”

Read the full story: ‘Media has lost its sense of priorties’

Also read: ‘Is media in denial on Indian recession?’

‘80% of Indian journalism is stenography’

‘Indian media doesn’t cover 70% of population’


  1. P J Lal

    Corruption has destroyed completely all the four pillars of democracy. Indian media, professing to be the fourth pillar of democracy, has always worked since India was established as fifth columnist for the establishment in exchange of licences for their core businesses, cheap (almost free) land for their plants, membership to Rajya Sabha (for owners): and housing colonies, concessional bus/rail passes, free booze and tiny packets of money (for journalists)

    Politicians, bureaucrats, judges of all hues can easily be purchased and bought. It all depends on the price you are willing to pay.

    As a journalist who has worked in India for 10 years (as well a lot others) have personally witnessed all this len den involving small causes court judges to Supreme Court judges, politicians right from Prime Minister, government clerks to top civil servants.

    I was never moved by the real public plight but by its depiction in films. So insensitive I had become.

    Only after having a couple of beers, I used to feel guilty and feel for the people who had to live on a daily basis. I thought a day will surely come when this corruption will vanish from our country> This though occured 40 years ago.

    When I left India and was exposed to corruption-free place, I realised how good it was to live guilt-free in such a society.

    I now do believe that poverty is absent or quite less in corruption-free societies. I also find the wealth people in these societies are willing to share with the poor people which is not the case in India.

    No-body now talks of fighting corruption and I feel sorry for the poor people.

  2. M Vijapurkar

    I agree with friend and I know the circumstances he lives in – corruption-free, with no cause of guilt of having to give. In India, there is no guilt in accepting and my heart bleeds.

    Never have I bribed though it was suggested that I should, not withstanding the fact that I’ve been a journalist; the tribe is treated as cut from the same cloth. Paid news is one vindication of the low status that journalists have.

    I feel guilty – spent 36 years in that profession.

  3. Andy

    As always Sainath’s stories show the decay of our society and the misguided priorities of media – especially the English press.

    Feel terrible….

  4. Mysore Peshva

    Shri. Lal, I am moved by your account.

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