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India: TV Newsrooms give less importance to Environment

 

Source: Project for Improved Environmental Coverage

Posted on Wednesday June 04, 2014

Last updated Wednesday July 06, 2016

  India, TV Newsroom, Environment
Analysis of content aired by six widely viewed television news channels of India revealed that news on politics, sports, entertainment and crime had maximum coverage while less than one percent of the total airtime was devoted to issues like environment and wildlife.
HNF Correspondent
 

In spite of the fact that environment has become an extremely grave and sensitive issue over the years not only in India but across the globe, Indian television news channels, an acclaimed feature of the electronic media, have still not impressively taken up the cause, says a report released by CMS ENVIS Centre on the eve of the World Environment Day.

The dearth of environmental coverage is certainly not due to unavailability of visual material or lack of conflict; but because the TV channels apparently go by the policy “why bore people with country’s efforts with regard to environmental protection when they can be entertained instead,” said a media release about the study.

While pointing at the non-priority status of environmental news and issues in the television newsrooms, the report expressed concern over limited knowledge of reporters that, many times, leads to environmental catastrophe.

“The stories suffer content limitations, typically providing little qualification or support from scientific data, making vague references to the scientific communication, and emphasizing sensationalist aspect,” the report said.

As part of its study, CMS ENVIS Centre undertook regular analysis of the primetime, between 7 PM and 11 PM, news content aired by six widely viewed television news channels of India, during the period from 2009 to 2013. The channels chosen for the study included DD News, Aaj Tak, CNN IBN, NDTV 24X7, Star News (Now ABP News) and Zee News.

Year-wise analysis of content revealed that news on politics, sports, entertainment and crime had maximum coverage while less than one percent of the total airtime was devoted to issues like environment and wildlife.

In 2009, as the study found, the coverage on environment was only 1.53% and news on politics was 20.36%. In the year 2010, the coverage of sports news was 17.93% against 1.29% for environment news. Since 2011 to year 2013, politics remained dominant while environment news coverage was on sharp decline since 2009. It was found that the media hardly focused on environmental issues such as agriculture, weather, natural disaster and wildlife, in the last five years.

As environment plays a vital role in keeping the earth suitable for human civilisation, news and issues related to it need to be given required importance and adequate space by the media as display of its responsibility.

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