Who Tells Our Story Matters: Representation of marginalised caste groups in Indian newsrooms


This report was jointly published by Oxfam India and digital media platform Newslaundry on August 2, 2019. It discusses the limited representation of Dalits, Adivasis, and Other Backward Classes in the content produced by, and workplaces of, newspapers, television news channels, news websites and magazines.

The report studies the output of 50 media organisations – 14 television channels, 13 newspapers, 12 magazines, and 11 digital media websites – from October 2018 to March 2019. Print and digital media articles were categorised as per their writers' names to analyse the representation of different caste groups. For broadcast media, the names of anchors and debate panelists were noted. Publicly available information, as well as large datasets such as examination results of Delhi University and the government of India’s Union Public Service Commission were used to match surnames to castes.

The 48-page report is divided into 10 chapters: Introduction (chapter 1); Methodology (chapter 2); Key Highlights (chapter 3); English TV News (chapter 4); Hindi TV News (chapter 5); English Newspapers (chapter 6); Hindi Newspapers (chapter 7); Digital Media (chapter 8);  Magazines (chapter 9) and Remarks (chapter 10).


  1. Nearly 89 per cent of leadership positions in the seven English television channels studied were held by upper caste journalists. None were held by members of Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) or Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The channels analysed were CNN-News18, India Today, Mirror Now, NDTV 24x7, Rajya Sabha TV, Republic TV and Times Now.

  2. These English television channels aired a total of 1,965 ‘flagship debates’ between October 2018 and March 2019. Of the 47 anchors of these shows, 33 were upper caste. Over half of the debates featured panels with predominantly upper caste guests. Rajya Sabha TV had ‘upper caste-majority’ panels for over 80 per cent of its shows.

  3. All leaderships positions in the seven Hindi news channels analysed – Aaj Tak, News18 India, India TV, NDTV India, Rajya Sabha TV, Republic TV and Zee News – were occupied by upper caste journalists. About 80 per cent of anchors in the flagship debates of these channels were upper caste, and not one was a member of an SC, ST or OBC.

  4. Nearly 92 per cent of leadership positions in the newsrooms of the six English newspapers studied – The Economic Times, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Indian Express, The Telegraph and The Times of India – were held by upper caste individuals, with no representation for SCs, STs, OBCs or religious minorities.

  5. In each of these English newspapers except The Hindu, over 60 per cent of articles were written by upper caste individuals. (The report’s authors were unable to identify the castes of nearly 26 per cent of The Hindu’s writers.)

  6. Not one Dalit, Adivasi or OBC journalist held a leadership position in the seven Hindi newspapers analysed – Dainik Bhaskar, Amar Ujala, Navbharat Times, Rajasthan Patrika, Prabhat Khabar, Punjab Kesari and Hindustan.

  7. The Hindi newspapers fared slightly better than the English dailies in representing marginalised groups. Nearly 12 per cent of articles published in Punjab Kesari and Rajasthan Patrika were by SC writers.

  8. Only five per cent of all articles in the English newspapers, and 10 per cent in the Hindi newspapers, were written by Dalits and Adivasis.

  9. Over half of those writing on issues related to caste in Hindi and English newspapers were upper caste.

  10. Roughly 84.2 per cent of the leadership roles across the digital outlets studied were occupied by upper caste journalists. The report analysed 11 news websites: Firstpost, Newslaundry, Newslaundry (Hindi), Satyagrah, Scroll.in, Swarajya, The Ken, The News Minute, The Print, The Quint and The Wire.

  11. Around 72 per cent of bylined articles on news websites were written by upper caste individuals.

  12. At 13.6 per cent, the magazines studied had better OBC representation in their leadership positions as compared to newspapers, television channels and news websites. But there was no representation of SC and ST individuals in these positions. The 12 studied were Business TodayFemina, Frontline, India Today, India Today (Hindi), Organsier, Outlook, Outlook (Hindi), Sarita, Sportstar, Tehelka and The Caravan.

  13. Only 10 of the 972 articles featured on the cover pages of the 12 magazines under study were about issues related to caste. India Today, India Today (Hindi), Sarita and The Caravan were the only four magazines which gave caste issues space on their cover pages.

    Focus and Factoids by Rohan Datta.


Oxfam India and Newslaundry


Oxfam India and Newslaundry


02 Aug, 2019