ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Upper-caste Domination in India’s Mainstream Media and Its Extension in Digital Media

Empirical data from the last two-and-a-half decades tells stories of upper-caste hegemony and lack of lower-caste representation in Indian media. After the advent of digital media, and especially after the proliferation of social media and content-sharing platforms, Dalit–Bahujan professionals and many amateur journalists started their own websites and video channels, and Dalit–Bahujan intellectuals have their footprints on social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The rising phenomenon of Dalit–Bahujan media in the digital space and their success or failure in democratising Indian media is examined.

Every subject with the competence to speak and act is allowed to take part in a discourse. Everyone is ­allowed to question any assertion whatever. Everyone is allowed to introduce any assertion whatever into the discourse. Everyone is allowed to express his attitudes, desires, and needs. No speaker may be prevented, by internal or external coercion.

— Jurgen Habermas (1991: 89), while discussing the basic principle of discourse ethics and ­arguing that such rules are not “mere conventions,” but “inescapable presuppositions.”

Public requires true representation, access and membership, of all sections of the society. When this does not happen, it only becomes a mean of masking private interest … Whether a space or organisation is truly public, truly universal, whether the whole people are involved or not, can only be ascertained by asking questions about such (concrete and partial) identities … They are specific to specific society, one would not ask about caste identities in the US, or whether the member is “Black,” or “White” or “Hispanic” in India.

— Gail Omvedt (2003: 131), while elaborating on the ideas of ­Jotirao Phule in the context of Brahmin caste domination in Sarvajanik Sabha in the city of Pune.

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Updated On : 23rd Nov, 2020

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