The mainstream media in India, especially the electronic media, have no inclination to give time and space for science and technology news or news related to agriculture and environment.
A five year study by Centre for Environment and Media, supported by Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests, reveals agriculture, education, health, environment and science and technology are the least covered subjects by the electronic media.
Agriculture, which is of concern for every human being, is last in the priority for Indian electronic media ? it gets 0.12% of their total prime time news, whereas news on politics dominated their air-time, i.e., 20.36%. Even education did not get the prominence it deserves ? just 0.65% of the air-time on TV news channels, followed by health (1.22%) and environment (1.53%).
The study covered six major national news channels ? Doordarshan News, NDTV 24x7, CNN-IBN, Aaj Tak, Star News and Zee News for their prime time band from 7.00-11.00 pm from 2009-2013.
This study shows the hypocrisy of Indian media as being developmental. It?s obsession with political and sensational news is obvious ? one, derives influence with its closeness to the political class, while sensationalising news gets them more eyeballs ? a perception of its popularity.
This calls for a new genre of media to cater to the dissemination of news from the fields of science and technology, agriculture, health, environment and education. Indian Science Journal is one such attempt to bridge the gap in the media and these fields.
If the media is negligent about news from the fields of science and technology, agriculture, environment, education and health, the stake-holders in these fields are also squarely responsible for the state of affairs, specifically the scientific community. India has been making strides in a wide spectrum of scientific fields ? be it world?s first nano-fertiliser or decoding human proteins, but these innovations remain under wraps without projecting it to the public domain.
While the creators need to be a proactive to project their innovations, the media needs to be inclusive of these key areas of human development and survival. Media in India is gradually changing ? shifting from mission-oriented to market-oriented, which is a sinister trend, considering its power to influence the minds.