This is an interesting volume of essays, though not all of it relates to the 21st century or the Indian media. As all anthologies, the content is uneven and not necessarily connected. Nevertheless it has some interesting material and insights and makes a nice introduction to issues of contemporary journalism for the young professional and lay reader. As Nalini Rajan says, journalists play watchdog but are chary of external scrutiny and seldom introspect. Yet, such is its growing reach and power that it is increasingly important to subject the media to audit. The Hindu has done this to some degree through its Readers’ Editor. No other organization has followed suit. President Kalam was typically direct in his folksy manner at the Indian Express ‘Excellence in Journalism’ debate in Delhi barely a week before demitting office. He spoke of the journalist’s role in promoting education and values and made the case for a more inclusive media ‘for a billion people’. Many of the upmarket mediapersons and media ‘consumers’ present on that glittering occasion spoke of being market driven rather than, as Dr. Kalam would prefer, citizen driven. The media has a duty to speak for the voiceless millions and bring their concerns on to the national agenda.
Hence the relevance of the first section of the volume ‘Representing the Unrepresented’: women ‘queers’, dalits, the marginalized and poor. These segments constitute the larger part of Indian society and cannot be ignored.