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TV Channels deny high caste bias in coverage of anti-quota stir

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, June 6 (UNI) Representatives of leading TV channels today sought to defend the electronic media's coverage of the quota issue, saying they did not act with a pro-uppercaste bias while reporting the anti-reservation stir.

They were responding to staunch quota supporter and Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav's remarks that media dominated by upper castes was exaggerating anti-reservation feelings at a debate organised by the India Women's Press Corps here.

''There was no conspiracy in reporting the issue and we neither played up or played down the anti-reservation stir'' said Rajdeep Sardesai of the CNN-IBN,'' Arnab Goswami of Times Now and Ram Kripal Singh of Aajtak.

Mr Yadav had said it was unfortunate that steps for undoing centuries of injustice to the weaker sections of the country should invite so much opposition from the upper caste. He felt anti-reservationists were only a handful of people given undue attention by the media.

The electronic media representatives argued that those in favour of reservation were not so vocal, and they did not come out in a marked way to be reported.

The reporters could report only what they saw in the field and they were not expected to research and analyse. It is the limitation of the medium, Mr Goswami said.

Mr Kripal said,'' TV was not a medium of self-expression and it has to act under market pressure''.

Mr Sardesai said it was very easy to hit Television for all kind of things that one thought were not right, but TV was a reality and one has to accept it. It cannot turn its eye from a reality which some people do not like.

''The anti-resrevation feelings were widespread among the middle class. And if one were to compare the nation's reaction to Mandal with that of today, one should keep in mind that the middle class had now found a platform in the electronic media to give vent to its views.

Media was just reflecting a reality which may not please some, he added.

He said both pro and anti-reservationists had shown high degree of intolernace during the whole debate in the country.

Media has its limitations but it should not be dismissed as conspitorial, and one must not presume that upper castes in the media were not sensitive to rights of weaker sections, Mr Desai said.

Speaking earlier, Mr Yadav felt that reservation was needed so long as there was caste system.

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