South Asia Communication Conference on Media Portrayal of the Marginalised Communities

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Media is a mirror to society and a representation of reality i.e. it is recreation of the real world. In Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, Television, Online, Films, Advertisements etc. the society is reflected. This media portrayal shows the different facets of society like social mores, norms, culture, superstitions, fads, thoughts, issues etc. Media is therefore called a chronicler of present history. It is also a tool for the dominant class for their own end. Public attitude and public policy are influenced by the subjects of news coverage and the manner in which the news is covered.

Interestingly, those in the periphery of the society are also sidelined by mainstream media. The more they are obliviated, the more they tend to disappear from the public eye and the less they matter. Marginalized sections in South Asian society like dalits, tribals, women, physically disabled, children, rural people have the lesser role in mainstream media.

In South Asia the women, children, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, persons with disabilities, migrants and aged are regarded as marginalised or vulnerable groups. These people are socially, economically, politically and legally ignored and excluded in the society. Marginalization refers to processes by which individuals or groups are kept or pushed beyond the edges of society. These marginalized individuals or groups are positioned as outsiders.
The idiom, “out of sight, out of mind” is very appropriate for the marginalized section of the society. When they do not come in news they are in the danger of being forgotten, their problems and opinions sidelined and ignored.

Media is a catalyst for change. Some questions that come to the mind are: What are the changes brought out by the media in rural space? Is Media able to truly portray the problems of the rural masses? Are the issues related to female foeticide and sexual abuse, and pay disparity getting adequate and consistent coverage? Are the Aged, HIV positive, mentally ill and differently able getting a voice and positive image in the media?

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