Public broadcasting in Kalahandi and Kandhamal

The study was conducted in two phases to assess the viewer's perception and the impact of public broadcasting on disadvantaged groups.
Research by DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY, UTKAL UNIVERSITY, ODISHA. PIX: Farmers in Kalahandi

TELEVISION OWNERSHIP AND USE AMONG BACKWARD CASTES AND TRIBALS IN ODISHA

 Jagannath Dash

Research Team: Dhanajaya Behera, Khirod Kumar Turk, Nibedita Pani, Bhagyashree Parida

 

INTRODUCTION    

For this research project, two districts in Odisha, dominated by the backward castes and tribals, were selected for assessing the the performance and reception of public service broadcasting. The broad purpose was to examine how successful public broadcasting has been in informing, educating, empowering and entertaining viewers. More specifically, it assesses levels of TV ownership, viewing patterns, preferred programmes, how social and economic conditions dictate ownership of TVs and cable connections, and how people’s daily lives and occupations are responsible for when they watch TV and what they watch.

AREA AND PEOPLE OF STUDY

The six villages chosen for the study are located in Kandhamal and Kalahandi districts. Kandhamal is a Scheduled Area with a tribal population of more than 50%. Kalahandi is a partially Scheduled Area. In Kandhamal, at the beginning, the two villages ofNediguda and Dindiragaon were selected in view of the impact of district headquarters, Phulbani, on the village people. Nediguda was only 7 kms away from Phulbani where as Dindiragaon was 25 kms away. In both the villages, the tribal families were fewer than 50%. The Scheduled Caste and OBC categories were dominant. Therefore, in order to include more tribal people in the study sample, a third village was selected, namely, Biraguda which had a tribal population of more than 50%.

Likewise in Kalahandi district, the two villages ofKanakpur and Bhatangpadar were selected for study. Kanakpur is only 5 kms away from the district headquarters of Bhawanipatna. The second village, Bhatangpadar, is 12 kms away from district headquarters. As the tribal families were less than 50% of the total population, we had to select a third village, Podhamundi, which is located about 25 kms from district headquarters with about 42 Scheduled Tribe families.

The following tables give details of the demographic and spatial characteristics  of the selected study villages.

Table No.1: Basic Information on the Villages

Sl. No

Name of Districts

Selected Villages for Study

Distance from District Headquarters

(kms)

Total Population

Number of

Households

 

 

 

01

Kandhamal

1. Nediguda

7

244

59

2.Dindiragaon

25

500

111

3.Biraguda

5

263

59

02

Kalahandi

4.Bhatangpadar

12

184

39

5.Kanakpur

5

266

55

6.Podhamundi

25

577

114

OWNERSHIP OF COMMUNICATION DEVICES AND LEVELS OF KNOWLEDGE 

No one in the 6 villages reads newspapers. There are 8 radios which can be useful when there is no electricity. The number of people witih mobile phones is 148 (Nediguda-31, Dindiragaon-22, Biraguda-11, Bhatangpadar-7, Kanakpur-42 Podhamundi-35). To correlate ownership of these communication devices with knowledge, one has to look at the literacy levels. We have taken persons who can read and write, whether in class one primary or +2 college, as literate and, as a result, we have arrived at 674 literate males (Nediguda-88,Dindiragaon-189, Biraguda-99, Bhatangpadar-32, Kanakpur-90 Podhamundi-176) and 503 literate females (Nediguda-60, Dindiragaon-114, Biraguda-63, Bhatangpadar-36, Kanakpur-80 Podhamundi-150).

Literacy levels are not a major factor in TV ownership, whether black and white or colour. The majority of people with a good economic status go for a colour TV set. Both literate and illiterate people follow Hindi or Odia perfectly well. Only the old tend not to follow Hindi. Most of the people like to watch mostly the Hindi and Odia channels. Only some watch news channels and even if they do, only very occasionally. Very few watch Krishi Darshan, with the exception of Kanakpur. We have observed that most OBC families watch Krishi Darshan to learn new technology and techniques for their fields or kitchen gardens.

Through watching entertainment programmes and advertisements, villagers pick up knowledge about new products and gadgets, from cosmetics to kitchen and bedroom items. Viewers of all age groups try instinctively to increase their knowledge of the world.

DEVELOPMENTPROGRAMMES

TV ownership has more to do with economic means than literacy levels. We have seen that in Podhamundi, cotton cultivation, taken up owing to the topography of the village w hich made paddy cultivation difficult, has influenced the people very much. By following government programmes for cotton cultivation, villagers have benefited immensely. Similarly in Bhatangpadar, though there is little power and rampant deforestation, the forest department has provided work through various conservation programmes as a welfare measure.

In almost all the villages, the Gram Sabha and Palli Sabha are also giving direction to the block level officers for implementing various developmental programmes, ranging from primary education to health and reproductive schemes. Self Help Groups help to unite women and in Dindiragaon, the group is very active; women pack spices and minor forest produce for the outside market.

 In addition to DD progrmmes or Krishi Darshan programmes, in Bhawanipatna (the district headquarters of Kalahandi) Doordarshan Kendra also telecasts special agricultural programmes for enterprising farmers. Most OBC farmers in Kanakpur watch and learn.

Besides Krishi Darshan they also show an interest in weather forecasts, market prices and other related agricultural information on TV, including information on pesticides and fertilizers. Kanakpur villagers have adopted the BED method for the betterment of the crop which takes half the time of traditional methods of cultivation and reduces the amount of weeds. These villagers were so inspired by Krishi Darshan when we surveyed them during the rainy season that two power tillers have been procured for carrying out better farming practices.

The power cuts in the villages have already been mentioned but we learnt later that they had become confined to the mornings, allowing villagers to watch Krishi Darshan in the evenings.

CONCLUSION

The villagers in this study mainly watch entertainment programmes, although those who who farm their own land try to watch informative programmes on agriculture on DD and local Odia channels. The government is trying to use public broadcasting to help bring remote and backward villages into the national mainstream but our experience shows that devising a policy to this end and creating content are not enough; implementation, based on the realities on the ground, is vital.

Programmes need to be fine-tuned to address the specific needs of different groups. For example, programmes giving agricultural information are irrelevant to those who are landless. But programmes that offer the right content and that are shown at a convenient time, can have considerable impact on helping viewers to improve their lives, whether it is greater awareness of the wider world, new trends, or improving the productivity of their land. Another simple reality is that the noble objectives of public broadcasting come to nothing if there is no power supply.

For the full study download here:

Subscribe To The Newsletter

Doordarshan interviewed  two BJP ministers in the afternoon about what they thought of Rahul Gandhi's speech during the no-trust motion, and why BJP MPs had felt the need to come outside Parliament and attack him. Ministers of state Ashwini Chaubey and Ram Kirpal Yadav answered at considerable length and were allowed to have their say. The reporter also asked one of them what he thought about RG's hugging the PM and he effectively snorted in disapproval. When a panel discussion began after this,  more leading questions from the news anchor about this 'jadu ki jhappi."  And more criticism followed.                        

Moneycontrol.com  says that  HT Media has reported a drop of 86 percent in its net profit for the June quarter to Rs 5.8 crore against Rs 41.5 crore reported by the firm during the same quarter of last year.  In May this year however  HT Media had reported over a two-fold increase in consolidated net profit  over the previous quarter, according to TOI.                     

View More
Announcement