An agricultural journalist struggles on

Farmers' stories still get little space in the mainstream media. Credit: Flickr/IRRI Images

250,000 is the estimated number of Indian farmers who committed suicide between 1997 and 2010, whose troubles Jaideep Hardikar has been trying to expose while reporting farm issues in his country.

Despite the sense of urgency, Hardikar, a veteran journalist at Indian newspaper The Telegraph, still finds himself struggling to get agricultural stories published.

All farming journalists face it and, despite the looming threats against farmers’ livelihoods, their stories still get little space in the mainstream media.

“People who we report on are not our readers, not ones who are poor,” Hardikar told the meeting. “So, we the media tend to avoid telling the stories that our readers are not interested in … we prefer to pick stories relating to stock markets, industries, and so on.”

Hardikar said he has tried tactics like adding more human angles to farm stories or even trading off his stories with economic angles.

“It’s still difficult,” he said.

Despite all the setbacks, he has not given up, and urged the audience: “Your readers might not like it, but it is the truth. So, try to find space for it as you can”.

If he has not yet given up, why do other journalists working in far more comfortable settings give up so easily on reporting on those who often lack a voice?

Pratchaya W., SciDev.Net contributor

2 Responses to An agricultural journalist struggles on

  1. Sincere thanks for posting on Jaideep, one of four wonderful ag journalists and experts who spoke during the “Beating the Farm” panel. Must also mention: Patrick Luganda of Uganda, Juhie Bhatia of Womens’ eNews and Global Voices Online, and Dr. Mohammed el-Sohl of ICARDA. I’ll post on the panel over the weekend and will be sure to link to this.

  2. Muthukumar says:

    In India still people say that our culture is agriculture.I dont think so.All sections of people are using the word agriculture for their political gain and not for real development in agriculture.People should realize that every human being need food.But they are very much keen to develope a software not to produce food as the agriculture sector has been ignored for decades by our policy makers.

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