Has northeast fallen off the mainstream media map?

New Delhi: Lack of investment by various mainstream media networks in the northeast and a general lack of knowledge and interest of editors are the main reasons why the region is hardly represented in the national media, experts said at a seminar here Wednesday.

The seminar titled “Northeast: Fallen off the media map?” saw senior journalists of the region, an editor of a national TV channel and a former member of the bureaucracy discuss the issue in a packed hall at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

Subir Bhaumik, BBC’s eastern India correspondent, said: “There is hardly any investment by TV channels and other media organisations in the northeast. For many a news organisation, there is just one correspondent to cover the entire region, which is very difficult (to do).”

“While it is understandable that an organisation cannot have so many correspondents for the region and would rather invest in stringers, it is imperative that the stringers are taken care of, so that they can report without any worry. Stringers should be given a hostile environment training, just like BBC does and they should be insured,” Bhaumik added.

Syed Zarir Hussain, managing editor of News Live, a news channel in Assam, said for the region to be better featured in the mainstream media, especially on news channels where it hardly finds any space, the mindset of the editors and managerial staff of the news organisations has to be changed.

R.S. Pandey, former chief secretary of Nagaland, said: “If you compare from the time when I was in Nagaland decades back, things have improved. The media proliferation is much more. Still, despite the northeast having four percent of the country’s population and eight percent of land, the coverage in the mainstream media is less than four percent.”

“Media organisations have to be given incentives to invest in the northeast. The government may be approached on this,” he added.

Besides stories on terrorism, violence and insurgency, development stories in the region should also be written about and highlighted, the experts added.

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