Does maternal mortality make headlines in India?

New Delhi, Sep 19 (IANS) Despite the urgency of the issue and shocking facts like 20 percent of maternal deaths in the world happening in India, stories on maternal health and maternal mortality find little space in the mainstream media, a veteran journalist said Monday.

In her lecture here Monday, senior journalist Usha Rai said: "Maternal death is not making headlines in India. There are various factors to it."

One reason, she said, was the advent of paid news.

"As it is there is a limitation of space and journalists have to try hard to convince their editors to push for their stories which will grip the reader. Then there are paid news items. Space is limited," Rai said.

"In this context, when NGOs push for a story, they should focus on a peg, give exclusives and organise field trips because that's where the case studies emerge and the journalists get a first hand experience of the situation," she added.

While finding space for such stories, which are still put in the "soft story" bracket, is difficult, Rai said that consistent efforts in reporting such issues do pay off.

"It's not that these stories don't appear in newspapers at all. Consistent efforts do pay off and such journalists who are really committed to the issue should be recognised by the NGOs and they should remain in touch with them," she said.

Pushing for such stories in other media, like social networking sites, was also harped upon.

Aparajita Gogoi of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, India, who organised the lecture said: "We are planning to start a campaign on Twitter on safe motherhood campaign along with our celebrity partners so that the cause can reach out to a maximum number of people".


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