Dissecting the Me Too Tsunami

Media Rumble and Media Me Too

(L-R) Amit Varma, Paromita Vohra, Supriya Nair, Vivan Schiller and Padmapriya Janakiraman
(L-R) Amit Varma, Paromita Vohra, Supriya Nair, Vivan Schiller and Padmapriya Janakiraman

The Me Too movement in India is a local manifestation of the international Me Too movement that occurred late in 2018 in parts of Indian society, including government agencies, the media and the Bollywood film industry. In India, Me Too is seen as either an independent outgrowth influenced by the international campaign against sexual harassment of women in the workplace, or an offshoot of the American Me Too social movement. It gained prominence in India in October 2018, when Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of sexual harassment. This led to many women in news media, Indian films, and even within the government to speak out and make allegations of sexual harassment against many perpetrators.

At the recently concluded Media Rumble, Amit Verma moderated the ‘Dissecting the #MeToo Tsunami’ panel in conversation with Paromita Vohra, Supriya Nair, Vivan Schiller and Padmapriya Janakiraman. They discussed whether the media’s coverage of the Me Too movement actually impacted the culture of misogyny in workplaces. Vohra is a writer and filmmaker whose films are centered around gender; Janakiraman is an actress and part of the Women in Cinema Collective; Nair is a writer and editor; while Schiller is the head of the Civil Foundation.

The panelists were of the opinion that despite a huge impact, the media failed to address the core issues of the movement. Nair explained that the media was lazy in its coverage and didn’t focus on covering the deeper issues while simply reporting the accusations. Nair believed that the media houses thought the issue won’t get ratings after the first sensationalist headline. Schiller said, “Refecting on the dynamics in the United States, there is just an incredible positive movement towards greater representation. There has been a tremendous rise in a positive movement in the United States on that front across media and other sectors.”

Janakiraman said that women have to stop feeling guilty for being harassed and instead society must feel guilty for creating an ecosystem that allows women to be harassed. She criticized the culture of protecting the perpetrators and enablers while shaming, blacklisting and discrediting victims and supporters. She also credited the South Indian press for covering rape and women’s issues better than its North Indian counterparts. Vohra summed up the discussion saying that women are not considered newsworthy unless something wrong happens with them.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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