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In India, Media And Politics Go Hand In Hand. Can We Trust Either?

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We know the term ‘Godi Media’, thanks to some unbiased journalists, who claim themselves to be the torch-bearers of truth among the Indian media houses. But, what if we come to know about another type of media which is also a ‘Lapdog Media’ but is sitting on someone else’s Godi i.e. the ‘Lutyens Media’ or the left sponsored media.

Media is considered as the “Fourth Pillar” in democratic countries along with the legislature, executive, and judiciary, as without a free media a democratic system cannot cease to exist. But nowadays this fourth pillar is losing its strength and may result in falling of this democratic structure due to their bias or one-sided reporting.

Let’s try to analyze some of the reasons for this apparent “bias”.

Ownership Patterns Of Media Houses

The reality is that a large number of media houses are owned by politicians and people close to politicians, be it the Right-wing supporting ‘Zee News’ owned by BJP MP Subhash Chandra or the Left Wing supporting ‘NDTV’ owned by the father-in-law of Congress MP Navin Jindal as well as by Radhika Roy, the sister of the CPI(M) MP Brinda Karat.

Strained Relationships With Individual Journalists/Editors

Media’s level of access to ministers, bureaucrats, and other key policymakers has largely affected the news stories and editorials that come out, thus negatively influencing the media’s narrative and opinions for different parties. Be it the current centre ruling party BJP, or the Congress, whose leader Brajesh Pandey (accused of molesting a minor Dalit girl in Bihar) is the elder brother of Ravish Kumar Pandey (Chief Editor of NDTV).

Media Houses Supporting A Particular Ideology

It is not a new fact that a group of people could have their points of view supporting their favoured ideology, and hence the same gets reflected in their ways of delivering content which further ends up being discriminatory or biased.

Today, a lot of people can be seen criticising many mainstream media houses and calling them biased for their uneven reporting towards particular issues, which is right and should not be tolerated in a democracy, but hypocrisy begins when the same people start to spread the fake news or the propagandist agendas of the different wing or different media houses. This crowd of self-declared intellectual/liberal group mostly consists of the youth, who just for the sake of their peer pressure share the news and post of which they have ‘zero-knowledge’ about.

This may seem hard to believe but I believe that that today, the educated youth is also sharing as much as fake news as their prior generation (who is not so much aware of social media) is sharing. And this is the bitter truth of the world’s largest democracy that its media has failed to provide unbiased and unaltered news to its masses, the facts and agendas are constantly changed according to their conveniences. Be it the news spread by ‘WhatsApp University’ or the foreign-sponsored ‘YouTube Channels’, the media has lost its credibility and we are unwantedly made to choose among these evils only.

As of today, the media is primarily divided into two segments and parties namely the Congress and the BJP, and both of them have a great share in the media market. While the Congress leaders and their relatives own far more ‘channels/newspapers’ than the BJP and are much better established in the media than the BJP. But the latter also holds its sway with maximum and the most popular ‘Hindi news channels’, which gives it a very clear edge over its competitor in a country of maximum Hindi news viewers.

This rivalry among the political clans is leading our nation towards a heap of fake news and propaganda. Be it the ‘Godi Media’ or the ‘Lutyens Media’ both have done their parts in ruining the democratic setup of the country, and both of them are on the laps of different parties and wings justifying their agendas. So, it becomes the prime duty of the youth, to completely examine the facts and truth before sharing anything on social media and not just sharing anything for the sake of showing our presence on social media or to be counted as an aware citizen.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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