Now that an Adivasi is president, will Big Media finally report on Adivasi issues? By Kalpana Sharma 28 Jul, 2022 https://www.newslaundry.com/2022/07/28/now-that-an-adivasi-is-president-will-big-media-finally-report-on-adivasi-issues
Droupadi Murmu’s election should be more than a temporary news peg, given most readers and viewers know nothing of Adivasi struggles or culture...
One of the reasons for this was the inability of jailed Adivasis to get adequate legal support. JagLAG, a group that did provide such support, was hounded out of Bastar.
Apart from Bastar, which comes into view whenever there is a so-called “encounter” between security forces and Maoists, there are struggles being waged by Adivasi groups in many other parts of the country, including Murmu’s home state of Odisha. Remember the extraordinary campaign by the Dongria Kondh tribe in Niyamgiri against the bauxite mine of the powerful business house Vedanta? Despite their success, their problems have not ended yet. Similar struggles continue in Jharkhand where local communities are challenging either infrastructure or the release of their lands for mining. Yet there is little written about these struggles except in alternative or non-mainstream media.
How can any media do this given the power the State has to intimidate media houses through their business interests?
How, given the latest Supreme Court ruling on the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the enhanced powers of the Enforcement Directorate, can any media house attempting to be “independent” or even “honest” survive in a regime where such laws and the ED have been weaponised to deal with all kinds of dissidence?
And finally how, when even those “independent” journalists who are doing their jobs of gathering facts and reporting them are either arrested, as in the recent case of Mohammed Zubair and earlier Siddique Kappan or Kashmiri journalists Asif Sultan, Fahad Shah and Sajad Gul? Or they are stopped from pursuing their professional commitments, as in the recent case of Aakash Hassan, a Kashmiri journalist stopped from going on a reporting assignment to Sri Lanka, and earlier the Pulitzer prize winning Kashmiri photographer Sana Irshad Mattoo, who was not permitted to board a flight to Paris without being given any reason.