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Quality Configuration of Media Education in India

Content Editors
Prof. (Dr.) K. V. Nagaraj
Dr. Paul Pudussery
Dr. Ratheesh Kaliyadan

Associate Editors
Dr. V. Ratnamala
Ms. Irene Lalruatkimi
Dr. Machun Wangliu Kamei
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Quality Configuration of Media Education in India

Published by:
Media Analysis & Research Center
P.O. Koyilandi, Kozhikkode, Kerala - 673305
E-mail: marckerala@gmail.com
www.mediafolk.in
ISBN 978-81-931876-1-6

Content Editors
Prof. (Dr.) K. V. Nagaraj
Dr. Paul Puthussery
Dr. Ratheesh Kaliyadan

Associate Editors
Dr. V. Ratnamala
Ms. Irene Lalruatkimi
Dr. Machun Wangliu Kamei

Prepress:

MediaLink, Payyanur
Printed at :
Printarts, Kozhikkode
First edition : July 2016
Copies : 1000

500/-
© MARC
All rights reserved. No part of the material in thispublication may be reproduced in any form
without byspecial permission of the copy right owner.
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PUBLISHER‟S NOTE
Media education passed several epistomies in its way to current status and structure. During
its long way of journey, media education scene witnessed several kinds of transformations and
transitions.From paperless transmission of news to paperless narratives of stories, media sector has
an attractive twist in its structure and messages. Almost all societies are becoming media driven
societies. The positives and negatives of this social transformation are under surveillance of critics
and practitioners along with media managers.

At this juncture media education too plays a crucial role in discourses. Now media education
arrests attention of different disciplines due to a jumbo jump from print to multiple faceted media
environment. The ecology of media education, strategies of transacting media education content and
critical approach lead to interesting heights and skies. Unfortunately, development of and in media
education in an Indian context is not much popular among media thinkers and practitioners.
Keeping this in view, and also with the objective of dissecting and deliberating upon the subtleties
of quality matrix and also the issues and challenges of media education in an emerging economy,
we are hereby trying to fill the void.

This book ‗Quality Configuration for Media Education in India‘ is an output of national
conference of media held at Assam Don Bosco University along with Mizoram University and in
conjunction with several universities of the North-East. The paper presenters from pan India narrate
their experiences and aspirations on media education. We hope this will be a good reference
material to those who are interested to follow the ways of media education India.

Dr. Ratheesh Kaliyadan


Director
Media Analysis & Research Center
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Preface
With the eternal debate over classroom vs. newsroom showing no signs of abatement, the issue of
quality in media education has remained elusive of pragmatic solutions. The demand for skill-
orientation of even post-graduate programmes in universities and other institutions of higher
learning has strengthened the oft-repeated assertion that education should not only for knowledge
but also for jobs. The Golden Mean between academics and praxis is yet to realize, for the Indian
scenario is different. It is also essential that we media educators have brainstorming sessions now
and then to dissect our own performance and identify the gray areas for improvisation. For this
purpose, a national conference, Quality Configuration for Media Education in India:
Exploring/Contextualising the Prime Parameters was held at Guwahati on November 2 and 3, 2015.

The event was a collaborative effort of Mizoram University and Assam Don Bosco University
(Guwahati). The conference had two plenary and nine technical sessions. The papers presented
could withstand the expectations when measured with a quality barometer. As a result, it was
decided to publish them in the book form. Dr. Ratheesh Kaliyadan of Media Analysis and Research,
Koyilandi, Kozhikode, has taken the initiative of publishing the proceedings. We hope the book will
be a source of reference for researchers and others interested as it contains research papers spread
across a wide spectrum. These are the outcome of razor-sharp discussions among academics,
professionals, research scholars and students, providing new insights into the intellectual churning
taking place in enthusiastic minds.

In the backdrop of unimaginable transformation of the mediascape in recent times, media education
all over the world has experienced its impact. As an obvious corollary, the media of new techno
times demand multi-tasking professionals well trained in both media software and the operational
knowledge of the hardware. The prime concern of the day is to fine tune the media education in
India to meet the ever-changing challenges and demands of the profession, by subsuming quality
parameters, by making it relevant and industry-ready in a unique culture-fit. Given the existing
status and standards of media education in the country, despite a quantitative leap-frog in terms
institutions of media education, the stage is set for media professionals and academia to redesign,
revamp and reform the portfolio, by altering the system protocol for better fruition. Keeping such
high brow objectives in view, the conference deliberated upon the subtleties of a well-defined and
well-structured quality matrix besides reassigning a role for media education in an emerging
economy. It includes media literacy also. We thank the participants who have made the event
memorable.

We also thank everyone who has made the publication possible, who have monitored the timeline
without batting their eyelid.

K.V.Nagaraj
Paul Pudussery
Ratheesh Kaliyadan
(Content Editors)
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CONTENT
Critical Media Literacy: A Holistic Approach, Ambika Bhagat – 9
Need for Quality Media Education in Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, M.Rabindranath,
M.Bimolchandra Singh - 14
Hybridisation of Media Education in North East India, DebasisGogoi – 24
Current Status of Multi-Disciplinary Approach toHybridisation of
Media Education in Assam, Alakesh Das – 32
Change and Continuity for the Digital Natives in the Network Society – Restructuring Media Education,
Machun Wangliu Kamei – 39
Media Education in India vis-a-vis Emerging Knowledge Society: Challenges and Prospects,
M. Nawaz Khan – 62
Confronting the Challenges of New Media Environment: Quality Configuration of Audio-Visual Media
Education in India , Bimal Krishna Sarma – 70
Of Media Education, Professionals and the Market in Assam: Issues and Challenges, Piyashi Dutta,
Swikrita Dowerah – 78
From Media to New Media Literacy: The Need of the Hour, Premshila Singh,
Sayanika Dutta – 94
Need for Professional Organizations of Media Educators, Ravi Chaturvedi – 104
Identifying New Areas of Studies on Ethics in Journalism Vis-a-Vis Changing Professional Scenario with the
Emergence of New Media, Sharmistha Jha, Utsav Chatterjee – 109
Communication: A Complex Area of Study with Deficit of Understanding, Scholarship, and Recognition,
Sisir Basu – 119
Development Communication as a Discipline in India Looking Back, Looking Forward,
Bidu Bhusan Dash – 132
Revisiting Pedagogy in the New Age: Reference to the Teaching of Journalism & Mass Communication and
Its Challenges in Northeast India, Caroline Wahlang – 143
Media Education in Manipur: Prospects and Challenges, Narengbam Premjit Sing – 152
Journalism Education and Regional Media: Income As A Factor of Professional Standards in Northeast
India, P. Anbarasan – 158
Media Literacy Education in Higher Studies: Challenges & Possibilities, Preeti Singh – 166
Media Education in Public Universities in Northeast India: Negotiating the Dichotomy between Market
Demands and Critical Consciousness, Syed Murtaza Alfarid Hussain – 173
Corporatisation of Media Education in India, Ronald Anil Fernandes – 182
Corporatization of Media Education, Mamta Ojha – 198
A Critical Pedagogy for Media Education in India: The Opportunities Missed and Challenges Ahead Ashes
Kr. Nayak – 203
Ethicality and Influence of Market Forces in Media Educationand Research- A Study
N. Sushil K. Singh, Laishram Roshan Singh – 215
Media, Education and Professionalism: Dissecting the Issues and Challenges in Media Education
Sanjoy Paul – 229
Promoting Media Literacy for Sustainable Development: A Study with Special Reference to India
Mahendra Kumar Padhy – 236
A Socio-Cultural Reflection on the Use of Digital Banner in Madurai District, M.Suresh – 248
The Need for Environmental Communication in Contemporary Media Education: A Study in the Indian
Context, Archan Mitra – 260
Emerging Paradigms in Mediascape: Remediating Literature, A.C.P.Tripathi, Pratima Tripathi-277
Exploring the Possibility of Incorporating Indian CommunicationThought in the Course Curriculum of
Communication Studies, Kapil Kumar Bhattacharyya – 283
Special School Teacher‘s Perception On Assistive Technology-Dr. Pramod Kumar Narikimelli-298
Contextualizing Media Education in Mizoram, Dr.V.Ratnamala-305
Media and politics in mizoram: A critical appraisal Lallianchhunga-314
‗Mediavism‘: Gizmo of ―Y‖ Gen. Media Mentors, RatheeshKaliyadan-328
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Critical Media Literacy: A Holistic Approach

Ambika Bhagat
Dept. Of Journalism and Mass Communication
Manipal University, Jaipur

Abstract
This paper attempts to define and explore the need for critical media literacy from the
perspective of empowering the youth with the ability to decode the ‗naturalness‘ of our mediated
world and produce alternate, anti-hegemonic media. Today, the polysemic and omnipresent media
(culture) is one of the major modes of socialization for the young and this situation calls for the kind
of media education that can meet the demands of our media saturated society.

Keywords: Media education, critical media literacy, critical autonomy, critical solidarity,
information literacy, multimodal literacy, technical literacy
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Introduction
We are living in a period of blurred cultural, gender, social and racial boundaries. The media
and the ICT have been at the core of this complex interaction of varied realities. This is the time
when identities are formed as much by the TV shows we watch or the music we listen to as they are
by the families we are born in.
The increased accessibility of communication technologies has been, both, rapid and
penetrating. Although, the present generation of children and young adults are the most
communication technology savvy, they are also the ones most exposed to the influences of the
monopolized and complex media messages. The proliferating diffusion of the media realities into
our everyday lives and the monopoly of a few dominant groups over the media environment have
led to the colonization of our imaginations and consciousness. Besides, the multivalent and
polysemic nature of the media content in itself is a complex web of messages and meanings.
The current scenario calls for a need to redefine literacy; and in particular media literacy.
What does it mean to be media literate in the contemporary world? What kind of media education
would suffice today?
In their paper on critical media literacy, Kellner & Share (2007) explain―literacy involves
gaining the skills and knowledge to read, interpret, produce texts and artifacts, and to gain the
intellectual tools and capacities to fully participate in one‘s culture and society.‖ The skill to read
(perceive), interpret and produce along with ability to be effective members of the society have
been placed at the core of what being literate implies.
Media literacy can be understood as the expansion of the traditional notion of literacy to
incorporate different forms of mass communication and to strengthen the capacity of education to
enable critical analysis of the relationship between information and power. It includes cultivating
the skills that are required for analyzing media codes and conventions, the ability to identify
stereotypes and dominant themes and the competency to interpret media messages and meanings.
Over the years we have seen different approaches towards media education being proposed
and adopted. On one hand, we have the fear or the protectionist approach that sees the audience as
passive receivers and the media as dangerous, manipulative and addictive. This over simplification
of the complex media and audience (society) relationship is not only biased but also discredits the
media‘s potential for empowerment. On the other hand, we have the media arts approach that
focuses on the aesthetic qualities of the media. It teaches students to use their creativity in
employing the media aesthetics for the purpose of self-expression. But this approach narrows the
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focus on individual self-expression instead of the wider scope of presenting and analyzing the
collective needs and issues of the society as a whole. Media education has also been approached
from the point of technical skill based training, where students are taught how to use different
instruments, techniques and softwares of media making. But stripping down media education to just
a technical skill training results in diminishing the media‘s ability to be a tool of social change and
evolution.
The potential of media education is immense and so are its transformative powers,
especially in the contemporary context which goes beyond traditional print and broadcast mediums.
Holistic media literacy brings an understanding of ideology, power, and domination and encourages
students to explore how power, media, and information are linked. The critical approach to media
literacy embraces the notion of active audiences who actively contribute to the process of meaning-
making. This approach sees audience as readers who are constantly experiencing and expressing the
cultural struggle between dominant readings, oppositional readings, or negotiated readings (Hall,
1980). This approach shifts students from being the mere objects of studies and representation, to
empowering them to tell their own collective stories and confront dominant myths. Critical media
literacy gives students the power over their culture and enables them to create their own meanings
and identities that can shape and transform the culture and society they live in.
The two central themes of effective media education should be critical autonomy and critical
solidarity. Media education must aim to empower students to be independently critical and capable
of reading and interpreting media within socio-economic, historical, political and humanistic
context. Critical autonomy enables students to acquire a distance from media messages that allows
them to critically evaluate the structure of the message, the purpose behind its given structure and
the possible consequences of such message structuring. It allows them to look past the ‗facade of
naturalness‘ of the mediated realities.
Critical solidarity empowers students to perceive and understand the various realities that
exists simultaneous and might have been left out from the frames of the mediated reality.
Empowering the students through critical inquiry is essential for them to challenge media‘s capacity
to create preferred readings. The global society of blurred cultural boundaries demands the students
to have the capacity to see how diverse people can interpret the same message differently. Their
understanding and control over media text is enriched by interpreting the messages from
perspectives that differ from their own personal standpoint.
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Combing the ideals of critical autonomy and critical solidarity we can forge an approach
towards media education that moves away from passive media dependency and towards a more
independent and interdependent media and audience (society) dynamics. In order to achieve this
vision of critical media education, we can adopt a three-fold model, consisting of: information
literacy, multimodality literacy and technical literacy.

CRITICAL MEDIA LITERACY

SOLIDARITY
AUTONOMY
CRITICAL

CRITICAL

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring an individual to ―know when there is a


need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for
the issue or problem at hand‖ (National Forum of Information Literacy, 2012). It can be understood
as the competencies that students must acquire to be effective citizen of the information society,
allowing them to participate intelligently and actively in the world they in. Information literacy can
equip students with the techniques and skills that they can use "for utilizing the wide range of
information tools as well as primary sources in molding information solutions to their problems‖
(Zurkowski, 1974).
First proposed by Gunter Kress and Carey Jewitt, Institute of Education, University of
London, multimodal literacy is about understanding the different ways and levels of representations
and meaning-making. “Multimodal literacy explores the design of discourse by investigating the
contributions of different semiotic resources (for example, language, gesture, images) co-deployed
across various modalities (for example, visual, aural, somatic) as well as their interaction and
integration in constructing a coherent text(Lim-Fei, 2013).‖Multimodal literacy enables students to
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perceive and understand the different levels of meanings at play within the media frames and
deconstruct the mediated reality.
Technical literacy encompasses all the technical skills required in order to produce various
forms of media. Students must be empowered with not just the ability of deconstructing media text
but also with the skills to produce independent, alternate media texts, which may challenge or
substitute the dominant media ideologies and messages.
This threefold model of critical media literacy involves a multi-perspectival critical inquiry,
of popular culture and the cultural industries, addressing the issues of class, communities, gender,
race, sexuality and others. It promotes the production of alternative counter-hegemonic media,
which can tell the stories that mainstream media frames leave out or misrepresent. A holistic critical
media education can open doors for the marginalized and the misrepresented and offer the dominant
groups an opportunity to engage with the social realities that are different from their own.
Teaching such inclusive critical media literacy must be based on participatory, collaborative
project as it is a democratic process that will require teachers to share power and with the students.
The educators need to strive towards creating an environment that allows different perspectives to
interact freely and openly. Teachers and students must work alongside in a joint approach towards
unveiling myths, challenging hegemony, and searching for methods of producing their own
alternative representations.

REFERENCES
Kellner, D & Share J (2007)Critical Media Literacy, Democracy and the Reconstruction of
Education. https://pages.gseis.ucla.edu /faculty/

Kellner/essays/2007_Kellner-Share-Steinberg, Retrieved on October 8, 2015.

Lim-Fei V(2013) Multimodal Literacy in V, Lim-Fei., L, Chia, Y.Z. Ang, Y.C.J. Phua, D, Toh. & N
Chong (Eds.)Practice. Educational Technology Division, pp. 52-57, Singapore: Ministry of
Education.

Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report. (1989).


http://www.ala.org/acrl/publications/whitepapers/presidential, Retrieved on October 8, 2015.

Zurkowski, P.G. (Nov 1974). The information service environment: Relationship and priorities.
Related paper No. 5.(Report No. NCLIS-NPLIS-5).
http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED100391.pdf, Retrievedon October 28, 2012.
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Need for Quality Media Education in Manipur, Nagaland and


Arunachal Pradesh

M.Rabindranath M.Bimolchandra Singh


Associate Professor Research Scholar
Dept. of Journalism and Creative Writing Cetral University of Himachal Pradesh

Abstract
With the globalization of new media technology and apps, media world has metamorphosed
into a new complex scenario in which the highly skilled and trained persons in the use of latest
media technology and apps are significantly required. Now-a-days media is all pervasive. Every
activity in the society is touched by media. It plays a very critical role in upbringing and
socialization process. Our mind, attitude and behavior are influenced and shaped by information
and knowledge that we get from media.
So, it is high time for the government, educators, and parents to think seriously about media
education. Unfortunately, media education is neglected especially in north eastern states. Media
education is the process through which the new challenge of mediascape can be met. Media literacy
provides the media consumers the critical and analytical skills thereby enabling them to use media
in an effective and useful way. Media literacy is indeed prerequisite for building and sustaining
quality mediascape. North Eastern states are highly sensitive and conflict areas. It demands media
professionalism at high standards. This made the researchers curious to study about media
education in North Eastern states of India. This paper focuses on the need of quality media
education in Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

Keywords: Media education, media literacy, media consumers, mediascape and North Eastern
people.
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Introduction
The role of media is indispensible and unquestionable, particularly in India with amazing
diversity. India is the largest democratic country in the world in which the role of media is very
significant and prominent. Media is rightly considered as the fourth pillar of the state. Media keep
citizens active participation in the functions of governance by informing, educating and mobilizing
the public. Media serve as a facilitator of dissemination of information, news, and ideas. Media
includes mass media like journals, magazines, news channels, newspapers, radio, TV, internet, and
email. Now, the influence of media is getting more and more powerful as it can spread any story in
wide scale. The power of media is not limited to only the dissemination of news and events but it
also moulds the attitude, behavior, and minds of the media consumers.
Particularly, the youth are spending more and more time in interacting with the media. It is
highly important that the students should be taught to comprehend media rather than just being
passive viewer or reader. Media education should be seriously considered as formal education like
other subjects such as science, social science and mathematics.
With the proliferation and universalization of electronic media and new media, and also
emergence of new technology, the world becomes a global village as envisaged by Marshall
McLuhan.
The globalization of new media technology and apps demands quality media education to
meet the challenge of fast changing media world. In this era of rapid technological transformation
and innovation, students are needed to train with latest infrastructure and provide with the latest
skills.
Media education enables the media consumers to comprehend the process of media used in
the society and the way they operate and also enable media consumers to gain skills in using media
to communicate with others. According to John Pungente:
Media educationis concerned with helping students develop an informed
and critical understanding of the nature of the mass media, the techniques
used by them, and the impact of these techniques. More specifically, it is
education that aims to increase students' understanding and enjoyment of
how the media work, how they produce meaning, how they are
organized, and how they construct reality. Media literacy also aims to
provide students with the ability to create media products.
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With the emergence of different channels of mass communication, the definition of media
literary also varies from traditional definition that confined only to print ―having knowledge of
letters; instructed; learned,‖ to ―the ability to choose, to understand--within the context of content,
form/style, impact, industry and production--to question, to evaluate, to create and/or produce and
to respond thoughtfully to the media we consume. It is mindful viewing, reflective judgment‖ as
suggested by the National Telemedia Council.
Media literacy empowers media consumers to understand different forms of media messages
encountered in everyday lives. It also empowers the people to comprehend how the media shape our
cultures, our beliefs and perceptions and influence our personal choices. Media education is indeed
a paramount instrument for building and sustaining a sound democracy. Today media literacy is
highly required to produce active and participated citizens.
NorthEast India is a mini India. North-East India comprises of Assam, Sikkim, Meghalaya,
Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh which is commonly known as seven
sisters. These states are officially recognized under the North Eastern Council (NEC) 1971. The
geographical aspect of Northeast India constitutes about 8% of the total India‘s size. The North East
shares over 2000 km of border with Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Myanmar and is connected to
mainland India by only 20 km wide chicken‘s neck corridor. North East is also ethically and
linguistically diverse region and home of more than 166 distinct tribes with each tribe having
distinct culture and separate dialect.
North Eastern states are also highly sensitive and conflict area and suffering from the
parallel government situation in which media plays a crucial role in protection and promotion of
human rights. They work on human rights violations such as extrajudicial executions, enforced
disappearance and torture, denial of people‘s collective rights, and increasing intrusion. The rights
of people in North Eastern states are deliberately violated under the shadow of Armed Forces
Special Powers Act 1958 (AFSPA). Many rape cases have been reported in newspapers, where the
army personnel are involved. Trafficking of women and children is a serious concern for the
society.
Considering the present scenario of thesestates, quality media education is highly required to
produce media professionalism and to impart media literacy among the media consumers in
NorthEastern states of India.
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Objectives of the Study


The present paper has the following objectives:
1. To analyze the need of quality media education in Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal
Pradesh.
2. To identify the present status of media education in Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal
Pradesh.

Methodology
Exploratory and descriptive research method is used here. The researchers collected
information from official websites. Researchers analyzed the status of the media education in
various colleges and universities in the selected area. Besides, they also studied the secondary data
collected from different reputed research articles, journals, and relevant sites related to media
education in North Eastern states of India.

Data of from Manipur


Manipur is surrounded by Nagaland to the north, Assam to the west, and Mizoram to the
southwest and by Myanmar (Burma) to the south and east. Imphal, located in the centre of the state,
is the capital of Manipur. The name Manipur means ―land of gems.‖ Like other North-Eastern
states, it is largely isolated from the rest of India. Its economy centers on agriculture and forestry,
and trade and cottage industries are also important. Total geographical area of Manipur is 22,327
Sq. Km. The population of Manipur is 2,721,756 with 79.85 percent literacy rate as per 2011
census. It has total number of 174 registered publications as on 31st March 2014.
Total number of registered publications in Manipur as on 31st march 2014:
Daily Bi/Tri Weekly Fortnightly Monthly Quarterly Annually Others Total
Weekly
67 3 19 12 47 9 5 12 174
(Source: Press in India 2013-2014, 58th annual report)
The total circulation of registered publications of Manipur during 2013 - 2014 is 3,
50,662.In Manipur, there are 70 colleges or institutions affiliated or permitted by Manipur
University.
These colleges or institutions include medical college,Technical Institutes,Agriculture College, Law
College and teacher training college. Unfortunately, out of 70 colleges or institutions, there is not a
single college or institution that offers subject related to media studies.
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In Manipur, there are only two universities: Manipur University and Central Agricultural
University(Source: UGC annual report 2013-2014).

In keeping view with the need of media literacy and lack of formally recognized centres/
institution for media studies in the state, the Department of Mass Communication was expressly set
up in 2005 to provide formal academic training to aspiring media personnel and scholars. The
Department is managed by three energetic Associate Professors including Head of the Department.
Courses offered in Journalism and Mass Communication in Manipur University:
Name of Courses Commencement
One-year Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism September 2005
and Mass Communication (PGDJMC)
PGDJMC upgraded to M.A in Mass January 2008
Communication
PhD Programme in Mass Communication January 2011
(Source:http://masscom.manipuruniv.ac.in/home.php , accessed on 5/09/2015).

Media Education in Nagaland


Nagaland is one of the hilly states of India lying in the North Eastern part of the country.
Nagaland is surrounded by Arunachal Pradesh to the northeast, Manipur to the south, and Assam to
the west and northwest and Myanmar (Burma) to the east. Kohima, capital of the state, is situated in
the southern part of Nagaland.
Nagaland covers a total area of 16,579 sq km (6400 sq mi). It has total population of
1,980,602 with 80.11 percent literacy rate as per 2011 census. It has total of 22 registered
publications as on 31st March 2014, producing total circulation of 1, 84,216 during 2013-2014.

Total number of registered publications in Nagaland as on March 31, 2014


Daily Bi/Tri Weekly Fortnightly Monthly Quarterly Annually Others Total
Weekly
7 0 10 1 2 2 0 0 22
(Source: Press in India 2013-2014, 58th annual report).

Around 65 colleges are affiliated to Nagaland University. Unfortunately, none of them


offers any subject related to media studies.
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Number of universities in Nagaland as on March 31, 2014


State Number of Universities
Central State Private Deemed Others* Total
Nagaland 1 0 2 0 0 3
* Institutions established under State Legislature Act.
(Source: UGC annual report 2013-2014).

Universities in Nagaland with courses offered


Name of University Status Courses offered
Nagaland University Central University Short term courses, one year
PG Diploma
The Global Open University Private M.A. in Journalism and Mass
Communication, M.A. in
Broadcast Journalism, M.A. in
Photo Journalism and M.A. in
Public Relations
The Institute of Chartered Private Nil
Financial Analysts of India
University
(Source: UGC Consolidated List Private Universities as on 23.04.2015.)
Only Nagaland University providing formally recognized regular courses of media studies
in the state. The Department of Mass Communication was officially established in the year 2007.
Initially the department offered only some short term courses in collaboration with the Indian
Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi from its Kohima campus. From the academic
session 2014-2015 the department started offering one year PG Diploma (two semesters) in Mass
Communication at Lumami Campus of the university. The Department is managed by only one
assistant professor and a contract teacher. The department is headed by a Professor of Education.
Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh is bordered by Assam to the south, Bhutan to the west, China to the north
and northeast and on the east by Myanmar. It is a sparsely populated mountainous area. Arunachal
Pradesh (Sanskrit for "Land of the Rising Sun") covers an area of 83,743 sq km. It has total
population of 1,382,611 with 66.95 percent literary rate as per 2011 census. In Arunachal Pradesh,
there are 23 registered publications as on 31st March 2014.
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Number of registered publications in Arunachal Pradesh as on March 31, 2014


Daily Bi/Tri Weekly Fortnightly Monthly Quarterly Annually Others Total
Weekly
9 1 9 0 2 2 0 0 23
(Source: Press in India 2013-2014, 58th annual report, RNI).

Arunachal Pradesh has 7 universities.


State Number of Universities
Central State Private Deemed Others* Total
Arunachal Pradesh 01 0 5 1 0 7
* Institutions established under State Legislature Act
(Source: UGC annual report 2013-2014).

Universities with courses offered


Name of University Status Courses offered
Rajiv Gandhi University Central M.A in Mass Communication
PG Diploma in Mass Communication
University
Certificate Course in Graphics and
Animation; M.Phil and Ph.D
Apex Professional University Private M.A in Journalism &Mass
Communication.
Arunachal University of Private Nil
Studies
Arunodaya University Private Page under construction*
Himalayan University Private M.Phil;
Master degree in Journalism and Mass
Communication;
Bachelor Degree in Journalism and Mass
Communication;
Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism and
Mass Communication; and
Diploma in Journalism and Mass
Communication.
North East Frontier Technical Private Nil
University
The Indira Gandhi Private Nil
Technological & Medical
Sciences University
Venkateshwara Open Private M.A in Journalism & Mass
University communication,
B.A in journalism and Mass
Communication, PGDJMC
21 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

(Source: UGC Consolidated List Private Universities as on 23.04.2015)


(*the page is shown as under construction in its official site
http://arunodayauniversity.ac.in/,accessed on 9/09/2015)

Suggestions
Researchers have found some drawbacks in media educations in the North Eastern states.
The measures suggestedfor provide quality media education in the region are:
 The Government should properly verify institutions with regard to infrastructure and
faculty before granting permission.
 Institutions must maintain a full- fledged media lab for the students. It should recruit
academically and professionally qualified faculties in different fields so that they can
provide quality practical -oriented courses.
 The character of new media is volatile. It is changing fast. So, the teachers need
training, and orientation regularly with the latest skills and newly emerging
technology so that they can impart their knowledge for the learners.
 Curricula and syllabi must be updated at regular intervals for the fast changing
industry demands.
 Department should take proper evaluation for the teaching learning process.
 Most of the syllabi of Journalism and curricula and Mass Communication are based
on foreign texts. It is needed to redesign to suit the need of the region.

Conclusion
Due to lack of reputed media educational institutions, the North East Region is found to be
lagging behind in quality media education. There are a few of Mass Communication and Journalism
departments which are managed by one or two teachers and couple of part - timers. Even though
there are a good number of universities and colleges for media studies in the region, the quality of
media education imparted is not up to date due to lack of proper infrastructures andlack of qualified
faculty. Due to lack of awareness, shortage of organized media industries and opportunities in
media sector in this region, majority of the students are not interested in media studies.
Hence,thequality of media education has to be improved in this region for better media literacy.
22 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

References

Annual Report 2013-2014, University Grants Commission, India. http://www.ugc.ac.in/page/


Annual-Report.aspx, Retrieved on September 4, 2015.

Barthakur, M.(2014). Nagaland State, India. In Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.


com/ EBchecked/topic/401559/Nagaland, Retrieved on September 2 , 2015.

Course Finder, Arunachal University of Studies, Arunachal Pradesh.http://www.arunachal


university.ac.in/admission.aspx?mpgid=37&pgid=39, Retrieved on September 7, 2015.

Department of Mass Communication, Manipur University. http://masscom.manipuruniv.ac.


in//home.php, Retrieved on September 5, 2015.

Department of Mass Communication, Nagaland University. http://hqlumami.nagalanduniversity.


ac.in/node/13, Retrieved on September 6, 2015.

Department of University & Higher Education, Government of Manipur.http://highereducation


manipur.gov.in/, Retrieved on September 3, 2015.

Lodrick, D. O. (2014a) Arunachal Pradesh State, India.In Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.


britannica.com/ place/Arunachal-Pradesh, Retrieved on September 2, 2015.

Lodrick, D.O. (2014b). Manipur State, India. In Encyclopædia Britannica.http://www.britannica.


com/place/Manipur, Retrieved on September 2, 2015).

MEDIALITERACY, study on the current trends and approaches to media literacy in Europe.
http://ec.europa.eu/culture/library/studies/literacy-trends-report_en.pdf, Retrieved on 20
August 20, 2015.
Press in India 2013-2014, 58th annual report, the Registrar of Newspapers for India, Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. http://www.rni.nic.in/pin1314.pdf,
Retrieved on August 25, 2015.
Programme for Session 2015-16, APEX Professional University, Arunachal Pradesh
http://www.apexuniversity.edu.in/external-student-scheme/programme-2/, Retrieved
onSeptember 9, 2015.

Prospectus 2015-2016, Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal Pradesh. http://www.rgu.ac.in/


aboutrgu/prospectus2015-25june15.pdf, Retrieved on September 9, 2015

Prospectus, Himalayan University.http://www.himalayanuniversity.com/, Retrieved on September


2, 2015.

Rabindranath, M., & Singh, M. B. (2015). Coverage of News Stories Related to North East
people Residing in Delhi in National Dailies: A Study based on Content Analysis of The
Hindu and The Times of India. Global Journal for Research Analysis, 4, 61-63.
Silverblatt, A., Nagaraj, K.V., Vedabhyas, K., & Yadav, A. MEDIA LITERACY: Keys to
Interpreting Media Messages. http://www.dimle.org/img/copertine/eBook_Messages_
Digital__20150402175523_CGCAGFCC.pdf, Retrieved on August 20, 2015
23 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

Tandon, A(2009) A case for standardization of journalism, media education in


India.http://www.mediamimansa.com/11th%20issue/11eng_63-67.pdf,Retrieved on October
9, 2015.
University Grants Commission(2015). Consolidated List Private Universities, India.
http://www.ugc.ac.in/privatuniversity.aspx, Retrieved on September 5, 2015.
24 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

Hybridisation of Media Education in North East India

DebasisGogoi
Centre for Studies in Journalism & Mass Communication
Dibrugarh University

Abstract
This paper explores the need of Hybridisation of Media Education in Assam and Northeast
India. The researcher aims to pitch strongly for Hybridisation of Media Education in using print,
electronic and new media for students of all other academic programmes, be it Humanities and
Social Sciences or Science and Technology to create an informed society. Yet the scenario in Assam
and North-East is not for hybridisation but rather for standardisation in terms of curriculum
development and research based content creation,laws and ethics, organisational and technological
aspects. When media education boomed in the first decade of 2000it seemed like a golden age of
media education and production but what was reflected was paid news, lack of research and
initiative in content creation of media curriculum, dropoutof media students, questions on ethics,
issues of copyright, piracy, yellow journalism and misuse of new media by student communities
themselves. The primary goal of media education is creating entrepreneurs and job creators with
creativity and innovation for information, education and entertainment; how well are we prepared?

Keywords:Hybridisation, standardisation, media education in Assam and North-East India.


25 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

Introduction
Hybridisation generally means mixing elements, media or concepts to derive a form more
powerful or having greater impact than the original whereas standardisation generally means
uniformity in a given context, discipline or field.
Media is any vehicle to carry information which is under two broad categories i.e.,
traditional media and mass media. Mass media is further divided into print media, electronic media
and new media. The difference between the two is that mass media always uses an electronic or
mechanical device to multiply message simultaneously to be transmitted over a wide geographical
area for heterogeneous and anonymous mass people whereas traditional media like performing art,
puppetry and others are dependent on mass media for multiplying message simultaneously and also
for its preservation and promotion. And all streams of education today are in some way or the other
is dependent on media technology i.e. educational technology.
Assam a state in north-eastern part of India launched its first newspaper in the year 1846
named Arunodoi. Since then there has been no look back in the media scenario in Assam and
northeast as regards mass media. At present there are more than 30 newspapers in Assam in
Assamese, English and otherlanguages in both print and online versions. One of the prominent
English dailies The Assam Tribune has recently completed 75 years of journalism. The feature film
―Joymoti‖ made in 1934 is the fourth talkie film in India. There are movies produced which have
received laurels both nationally and internationally. Though All India Radio and Doordarshanwere
present it was not enough to reduce the vast information gap in a multi diversity region.Today there
are satellite news and entertainment television channels owned by both private and public sector.
The scenario drastically changed with coming up of private television channels, the first being NE
TV in 2004 followed byNewsLive, DY365, NewsTime Assam, Frontier TV, Prime News and
Assam Talks. The media scenario in northeast is also pacing along the speed at which new media is
impacting other parts of the country (Anbarasan, 2013).
The growth of media education in Assam and the north east got its momentum in the initial
years of the post millennium era and people today are in an age of information mess up or over
information, lacking standardisation especially in the area of media education in Assam and north
east India.
―In India, there is a clear distinction between the term media education, which describes
education aiming at a critical use of media; the term educational technology, which, apart from
conveying all teaching techniques, also includes the use of media in school lessons; and the
26 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

term professional education in the media, which can be regarded as a mixture of a school of
journalism and of film.Keval Kumar´s definition of media education could therefore be understood
as a teaching method that uses formal, non-formal, and informal approaches to impart a critical
understanding of various media in order to lead to greater responsibility, greater participation in the
production of media as well as to a greater interest in the sales and reception of media‖ (Mailin,
1998).
Aims and Objectives of the Study
1. To study the importance of mass media education and use of education technology in varied
academic programs.
2. To study whether there is uniformity in curriculum of media education among the various media
institutes and departments of the region.
3. To highlight the need of specialised training in the field of media education.
Research Design
The researcher has used content analysis andprimary research namely interview,
questionnaire,and relevant data which is defined as aresearch technique for the objective,
systematicquantitative and qualitative description of themanifest content of communication.The
data would be analysing it bothqualitatively and quantitatively.
Discussion
This is an age of globalisation called so primarily because of mass media communication
and technological advance. In the field of higher education, students and researchers have to
undergo specialized study into the particular subject. Media provides extensive knowledge apart
from the basic curriculum based academic books. The University Grants Commission, government
law making bodies and other social organisations have much felt the need for the usage and
incorporation of media into education. Students today with the help of internet can get massive
amount of data for their study in different subjects. Moreover, today online journals, books,
conferences, seminars are much faster and globalizes with the usage of media technologies.
Higher education has changed a lot in the past decade creating an information and
communication revolution with the element of speed and centralized networking. This has
centralised the scope of higher education globally. In the field of distance education, media has a
massive role to play such as television programs, educational video in CDs and DVDs, e-learning
programs and softcopy of teaching-learning materials to be downloaded from the Internetand video
conferencing.
27 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

Though media in all its aspects plays a role in education yet there are large sectors where
media has to prove its potential and also find newer means to cater in regional languages.
According to M Haque, the president of North East Forum for Technical Institutions:
―Higher and technical educational scenario of the northeastern region has
been drastically changing.Although facilities of world class institutions
are now available in the region itself, every year a large number of
students from the region fall into the trap of not only fake institutions, but
also some approved institutions without required facilities because of
their colourful advertisements and aggressive marketing (Singh, 2013).
The scenario of media education in Assam and the northeast is strongly not for hybridisation
but rather for standardisation in terms of curriculum development and research based content
creation, laws and ethics, organisational and technological aspects.
The difference between aesthetics and media aesthetics is that the latter is about finding
beauty in ordinary things. Media is called as the fourth pillar of democracy and Public Relation is to
be futuristically called as the fifth pillar. Media creates opinion leaders of society thus media is also
the mirror and voice of society. Hence it becomes extremely important that media education also to
imbibe students with values and skills to handle the sentiments and progress of society. In the case
of northeast India, a media student pursuing journalism must be trained on topics like peace and
conflict journalism to help society in times of crisis rather than sensationalising it. Mass
communication is so important in present age that the government of India has launched mission
like Digital India for the growth of ICT. The visit of Prime Minister NarendraModi to Silicon
Valley has ushered in new concept such as ―Brain Deposit‖ earlier called as brain drain. This
explains us the importance of mass media education and educational technology in the growth of
the world as a family, where knowledge is to be shared for human excellence.
With the emergence of new media technologies, the teachers should also try to adopt the
technology for their study. Technology in media education,whether offered by public or private
organizations, is to provide right education for the students. For this purpose, the students need
good teachers who can solve their day-to-day problems. For this purpose, the teachers should be
well equipped with knowledge as well as the skills of teaching. The teachers should always be up-
to-date. They should also follow all the modern technologies of teaching not only for teaching but
also for other journalistic skills including reporting, editing, page make-up and other related
activities. With the emergence of globalization, the need for proper media education becomes a
28 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

necessity as the education is being internationalized. There are a number of reasons why it is
imperative for the teaching community to adopt new technologies. The need to introduce new
methods has gained new urgency in teacher training, the foremost reason being the need to provide
students with the latest skills in the era of rapid technological transformation and innovation.Being
global, their information and financial networks need specialized skills that require an army of
specialised ‗knowledge workers. These knowledge workers need to possess flexibility, adaptability
and the ability to constantly re-skill or update their knowledge based on the development of the
productive forces in the market economy (Gopa &Kumar, 2009: 70).
Challenges of Media Education in Assam and North East India
Many of the media institutes at higher education level do not have any minimum set guidelines as
recommended by University grants commission, such as minimum of five labs.
There is absence of quality teachers who have both theoretical andpractical expertise.
i) There are number of mass communication and journalism departments in the region which
are managed by one or two teachers and visiting faculty.
ii) The subject area of media education is so wide covering numerous subjects that it is difficult
for teachers to specialise in various subjects.
iii) Syllabus of mass communication at post graduate level is different among universities in
Assam and north east India.
iv) There is lack of even short term media training institutes in the region except for Guwahati.
There is no known schools of graphic design, script writing, printing technology and the like
in the region which offers short term or long term courses in this particular field although
there is a great demand from the job market.
v) Except for journalism there are almost no books on other aspects of media trainingin
regional languages.
vi) There are still departments at university level which have total absence of educational
technology which shows the slow pace of media literacy or usage in the region due to
numerous obstacles.

Findings
When media education boomed in the first decade of 2000s it seemed like a golden age of
media education andproduction. Today, media itself is vast and has such varied topics attached to
it, that each topic itself is vast enough to be named as unique as any other area of study viz. Public
29 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

Relations, Advertising, Fictional Film Making, Documentary Film Making, Journalism, TV


Production, Radio, Sound and Audio Productions, Photography, Cinematography, Animations and
Graphic Designing, Print Media and Internet.
Mass media plays an important role in performing arts where there is need of performing
arts students and practitioners to also understand, practise and use modern mass media to make
traditional media more aesthetically sound, preserve it in both archives and stocks i.e., preserving
and marketing; and finally promoting it globally through the fast and dynamic multi media.
Findings from a questionnaire distributed among students of mass communication reveals
that the demand from the student communities is for specialised training in particular area such as
print media, electronic media be it radio or television, film making or new media. But media
education in a bachelor‘s degree or master‘s degree programme often provides an overview of the
whole mass media and as a consequence students lack specialisation in one particular field, for e.g.,
graphic designing. The phrase, ―Jack of all trades master of none‖ is a common scenario in Mass
Communication colleges in India and specially Assam and the north- east region of India. However,
the job market demands specialisation in one particular field. Thus mass communication education
should be such where students should be ―Jack of all trades but master of one.‖ To elaborate this it
is like a students should be trained in basic knowledge of mass communication process, theories,
models, radio and sound production, television production, newspaper layout design and print,
photography and lighting, script writing, advertising and public relation, film making, media
management, journalism, anchoring and acting, media research, web designing and media laws and
ethics. In addition to these, a student must be given the opportunity to specialise on of this
mentioned topic so as to survive the fierce battle of survival though media.
FTII (Film &Televison Institute of India, Pune) is one of the most successful mass
communication institutes in India, and of the prime reasons is its micro specialisation in particular
fields of study. The main stream courses they offer are three year post graduate diploma in
Direction and Screenplay/ Cinematography/ Sound Recording and Sound Design, Editing / Art
Design and Production Design and Two Year Post Graduate Diploma in Acting. But the mass
communication courses at other media institutes at university level are providing courses mainly on
a semester mode where students learn only basics of huge number of subjects thus affecting quality
education. There is lack of micro specialisation in subjects of print media, electronic media and new
media. Hence hybridisation in media education would contribute towards micro specialisation in a
balanced manner.
30 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

Questionnaire distributed among the students and alumni of Centre for Mass Communication
and Journalism ofDibrugarh University
Do you think that the syllabus curriculum of Mass Communication at PG level lacks specialisation
in print media, television, radio, film making, advertising etc.?
Ans. - Yes- 84%
No-16%
In your opinion, is the course mass communication is incorporating more technical know-how
called hybridisation of media along with the other subjects like advanced web designing,
animation?
Ans. - Yes-30%
No- 70%
Should mass communication education be purely divided into:
Print media
Electronic media (Radio or Television)
Cinema or film making and
new media?
Ans- Yes- 63%
No- 37%
Does the infrastructure of mass communication department avail all the required equipment in all
the formal institutes of higher education?

Ans- Yes- 15%


No- 85%
31 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

Questionnaire given to the


students
Yes No

16 15
37
70
84 85
63
30
1 2 3 4
1 2 3 4

Conclusion
Surely the situation is as such where students are trained to be jack of all trades and master
of none. Naturally it calls for hybridisation where students though jack of all trades are at-least
master of one. In this era of fast changing media technologies and changing taste and preferences of
audiences, it also calls for standardisation where basic benchmarks have to be met by media
institutions and departments, at-least as per basic criteria set by the University Grants Commission.
For the monitoring purpose and for incorporation of newer ideas with skill development
programmes, it should be the media organisations themselves who have to take the extra step for
rightful development of media education systems where socio-economic problems of the region can
also be focused and solutions to be achieved.

REFERENCES
Anbarasan, P. (2013). Media in Assam:Moving From Late News Syndrome to 24 x &7. Aayvagam
an International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research.Vol. No. 1 Issue No. 5,1.

Mailin, T. (1998).Education in India. http://www.unics.unihannover.de/medienpaed/303.htm,


Retrievedon September30, 2015.

Singh, D. N. (2013).Changing higher educational scenario in


Northeast.http://www.assamtimes.org/node/8386, Retrieved on September, 23, 2015.

Gopa, B.Kumar, R. P. (2009). Media education in the era of globalization: A study of India.
http://www.mediamimansa.com/11th%20issue/11eng_68-71.pdf, Retrieved on September,
30, 2015.
32 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

Current Status of Multi-Disciplinary Approach toHybridisation of


Media Education in Assam
Alakesh Das
Mass Communication
Institute of Distance and Open Learning ( IDOL)
Gauhati University
Abstract
Mass media being the fourth pillar of democracy and the mirror of the society, has
a tremendous impact on every stratum of the society and it reflects each and every aspect
of the society time to time with crystal clarity and pin point accuracy. It is such a
powerful mode of communication which many a time acts as a subtle educator of the
society which has been elaborated in the social learning theory of communication. The term
mass media basically stands for print media i.e. newspapers, magazines and any kind of
printed publications and electronic media which stands for basically radio and television.
Apart from that, these days it is an era of new and social media as well as community
media and also alternative media. Besides, the reference of folk and traditional media can
be brought into context while discussing about media education. The term media education
stands for imparting knowledge on the various aspects of media and as well as the process
of mass communication and other types of communication.
The term hybridization refers to the blending or mixing of different concepts or
themes or topics into one broad branch of study. The term hybridization very much comes
into application when we talk about media education. Because mass communication and
journalism is one of those subjects which there is nothing water tight about. It is a subject
with a multi disciplinary approach. In mass communication and journalism, there are concepts
of law, political science, economics, rural communication, different branches of pure science,
statistics, management sciences, literature, history, philosophy, psychology, folklore, cultural
studies, peace and conflict studies, international relations, fine arts and many more.
In Assam, it can be stated that the media education is still in its infancy,i.e.
grassroot stage. Because, the full fledged media education departments are existing only in
the universities. The government-run colleges are still not having full fledged media education
departments. Only a few colleges have started self financed certificate courses and a few
private educational institutes have the course affiliated to universities.
Now here comes the very rationale of the seminar paper, i.e. to study the current status
of multi disciplinary approach or the hybridization in the media education scenario of
Assam. This study will be a descriptive one, predominantly based on secondary data about
the course structures of the mass communication and journalism existing in various institutes
of the state. More so, in the study, the syllabi of the various institutes in Assam providing
media education will be taken as samples and the detailed content analysis of these syllabi
will be done to highlight the aspect of multi disciplinary approach being practiced. In this
context, the tool of observation will be used as a primary data collection technique.
Key words: Hybridisation, Media and Education
33 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

Introduction
Mass media being the fourth pillar of democracy and the mirror of the society, has a
tremendous impact on every strata of the society and it reflects each and every aspect of
the society time to time with crystal clarity and pin point accuracy. It is such a powerful
mode of communication which many a time acts as a subtle educator of the society which
has been elaborated in the social learning theory of communication. The term mass media
basically stands for print media i.e. newspapers, magazines and any kind of printed
publications and electronic media which stands for basically radio and television. Apart
from that, these days it is an era of new and social media as well as community media
and also alternative media. Besides, the reference of folk and traditional media can be
brought into context while discussing about media education. The term media education
stands for imparting knowledge on the various aspects of media and as well as the process
of mass communication and other types of communication.
The term hybridization refers to the blending or mixing of different concepts or
themes or topics into one broad branch of study. The term hybridization very much comes
into application when we talk about media education. Because mass communication and
journalism is one of those subjects which there is nothing water tight about. It is a subject
witha multi disciplinary approach. In mass communication and journalism, there are concepts
of law, political science, economics, rural communication, different branches of pure science,
statistics, management sciences, literature, history, philosophy, psychology, folklore, cultural
studies, peace and conflict studies, international relations, fine arts and many more.
If in detail, it has to be elaborated, then we can say that mass communication has three
broad branches namely journalism, advertising and public relations. Now journalism can be divided
to several sub branches such as science journalism, rural journalism, photojournalism, social
journalism, sports journalism, film journalism, business journalism, cultural journalism, folk
journalism, community journalism, internet journalism, political journalism, crime journalism,
fashion journalism, citizen journalism and others. Again within the ambit of advertising, comes the
concept of management especially sales and marketing management, creative art, audio visual
communication, fine art, animation science, multimedia and graphic design, creative writing etc.
Similarly, within the ambit of public relations, comes the concepts of personality development, oral
and written communication, organizational practice and behavior and image building exercises.
34 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

To explain it further, science journalism deals with the concepts of pure and environmental
science directly or indirectly, rural journalism touches upon the concepts of economics as well as
agriculture and health communication, photojournalism is all about physics, social journalism
touches upon various social sciences and related aspects, sports journalism also comprises of
various concepts such as sports psychology, fitness drills, sports history, business journalism
touches upon the concepts of commerce and management sciences, cultural journalism touches
upon the concepts of cultural studies, folk journalism touches upon the aspects of folklore studies,
internet journalism is all about new and social media, political journalism deals to a great extent
with the polity, administration and constitution, fashion journalism deals with the various aspects of
fashion designing directly or indirectly, crime journalism deals with aspects of law and order and
judiciary. So, mass communication and journalism is not at all a water tight subject but a
completely a multidisciplinary subject.
In Assam, it can be stated that the media education is still in its infancy i.e. grass-
root stage. Because, the full fledged media education departments are existing only in the
universities. The government run colleges are still not having full-fledged media education
departments. Only a few colleges have started self financed certificate courses and a few
private educational institutes have the course affiliated to universities. The multidisciplinary
approach is very much in vogue in the media education scenario of Assam as of now.
Objective of the study
Now here comes the very objective or rationale of the seminar paper, i.e. to study the
current status of multi disciplinary approach or the hybridization in the media education
scenario of Assam and for this purpose the syllabi of the various mass communication institutes of
the state will be studied in detail.
Research Design
This study is descriptive, predominantly based on secondary data about the course
structures of the mass communication and journalism existing in various institutes of the state.
More so, in the study, the syllabi of the various institutes in Assam providing media education
have been taken as samples and the detailed content analysis of these syllabi have been done
to highlight the aspect of multi disciplinary approach being practiced. In this context, the
tool of observation has been used as a primary data collection technique.
35 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

Content Analysis
For this study the syllabi of various institutes in Assam providing media education have
been taken as samples and the detailed content analysis will be done on these syllabi to highlight
the multidisciplinary approach, i.e. hybridisation in the media education scenario of Assam in the
contemporary period. The following are the institutes of which the Mass Communication syllabi
have been taken as samples for the study:
1. Tezpur University (syllabus of the two years and four semesters Masters degree course in Mass
Communication and Journalism has been taken.)
2. Gauhati University (syllabi of the two years and four semesters Masters degree course in Mass
Communication as well as the three years Bachelor of Mass Communication ( BMC) has been
taken)
3. Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL), Gauhati University (syllabus of the two years
Master of Communication and Journalism (MCJ) course syllabus has been taken.)
4. Dibrugarh University (two years and four semesters MA in Mass Communication course
syllabus has been taken.)
5. Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Centre for Mass Communication and Journalism, EDC, Cotton College
(one year and two semesters Advanced Diploma in Mass Communication and Journalism course
syllabus has been taken.)
6. Dakshin Kamrup College, Mirza (syllabus of the two semesters Diploma in Mass
Communication under the UGC Scheme of Community Colleges, has been taken).
7. EFL University, Shillong Campus (syllabi of the BA in Mass Communication and Journalism
three years and six semesters and the MA in Mass Communication and Journalism two years
and four semesters, have been taken.)
Now, let us elaborate about these syllabi in detail to highlight the multidisciplinary approach
in media education in Assam.
1. Tezpur University : If we elaborate the MAMCJ syllabus of this university, then it is seen that
the various papers being offered semester wise are semester 1 Communication theories, History
of Communication and Media Writing, Advertising and PR,Visual Communication and
Photography. So, in the second paper, the reference of historical studies is there, in the media
writing paper the dimensions of language and creative writing is there, in the Ad and PR paper,
the dimension of sales and marketing management, creative writing, can be found and in the
visual communication and photography paper the aspects of physics and other science can be
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found. Similarly in the semester 2 CR methods, introduction to new media, media laws and
ethics, broadcast media are there. Here also the aspects of computer science, juridical studies
can be seen. In the third semester, the communication for social change, political and
international communication and other specialize elective papers are there which highlight the
aspects of social science, political science, folklore studies, cultural studies, management
studies, animation and multimedia etc. The various elective papers are specialized reporting and
editing, online multi camera production, radio production, corporate communication, convergent
journalism,photo journaliosm, folk and community media,Assamese journalism, media, culture
and society, media management, documentary production, communication research, web
designing/animation, TV reporting. Apart from that the Choice Based Credit Transfer (CBCT)
courses are there such as communication principles and practices, advertising and PR,
introduction to film studies, evolution of Indian media.
2. Gauhati University: If we elaborate the MAMC two years and four semesters course syllabus of
the Department of Communication and Journalism, then the various papers being offered are
semester wise --- semester 1 is offering the papers namely introduction to mass communication,
journalism, advertising and PR. Here the aspects of language and writing can be found in the
journalism paper; in the advertising paper the aspect of sales and marketing management,
creative art, animation and multimedia can be found. In the PR paper the aspects of personality
development, oral and written communication, organizational practice and behaviour, image
building exercises etc. Similarly in the second semester, the papers offered are electronic media,
science communication related to various branches of pure and natural science, media laws and
ethics related to juridical studies, global media systems related to international studies. The third
semester comprisescurrent affairs and media management which is again related to management
studies, specialized papers on rural communication and film studies which are quite
multidisciplinary in nature. The fourth semester offers the papers such as development
communication related to rural development and rural communication and communication
research, new media printing and design, opinion writing and media of NE which are related to
creative writing and NE studies.
Again in the BMC course of GU also the multidisciplinary approach is clearly visible such as
introduction to communication, mass communication and media, journalism, functional English.
The functional English paper has the touch of linguistics. The other papers in this course are
advertising and PR, writing for print media, environmental studies which are also reflective of
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the multidisciplinary approach. Other papers are electronic media, media laws and ethics, ICT,
Rural, communication, history and culture of NE India, Development Communication which are
again reflective of the multidisciplinary approach.
3. IDOL, GU: Now coming to the MCJ annual pattern of syllabus of IDOL, GU it is found that the
syllabus comprises the papers such as (previous year) introduction to mass communication,
journalism, advertising, PR, emerging trends in mass communication apart from the practical
paper. These papers are also reflective of the multidisciplinary approach. The final year offers
the papers such as media management, electronic media, development communication and
communication research, opinion writing, media laws and ethics which also reflect the
interdisciplinary approach.
4. Dibrugarh University: Now coming to the syllabus of DU the MAMC course comprises of the
same papers such as the aforesaid universities offer thereby, rellecting the same
multidisciplinary approach.
5. BMCJ, EDC, Cotton College: Now coming to the syllabus of BMCJ, EDC, Cotton College, it is
found that the papers offered in the one year advanced diploma in mass communication and
journalism semester course are introduction to communication and mass media, journalism,
advertising and PR, science communication, media laws and research methodology. The
specialization papers are advertising and PR, broadcast media, print media, editing and design.
Here also the multidisciplinary approach can be seen in the case of the aforesaid syllabi.
6. Dakshin Kamrup College, Mirza : In this syllabus of the two semesters Diploma in Mass
Communication under the UGC Scheme of Community Colleges, the following papers are
being offered such as introduction to mass communication, journalism, advertising and PR,
reporting, media laws and ethics and media management, writing for media, cultural studies and
rural communication. In this the multidisciplinary approach can be found in the wrioting for
media paper which is related to language studies and creative writing and the cultural studies
and rural communication paper reflects the interdisciplinary approach as the name itself
suggests.
7. EFL University, Shillong Campus (syllabi of the BA in Mass Communication and Journalism
three years and six semesters and the MA in Mass Communication and Journalism two years
and four semesters, have been taken.) In these syllabi, the interdisciplinary approach is clearly
visible just like the aforesaid syllabi. Detailed elaboration is like this, introduction to mass
communication, principles of print media reporting, history of media, English and foreign
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language, intellectual, background to media studies, sociology of media, contemporary media


theory, media analysis, media laws and ethics, development communication, advertising and
PR, regional language media, international communication. So this is clearly evident that, the
aspects of history, language, sociology, juridical studies, international studies, regional studies
are clearly found in the syllabi of EFL University, Shillong.
Conclusion
From the above analyses it is clearly found that the multidisciplinary approach is very much in
vogue in the media education scenario of Assam at the moment. Although mass communication
and journalism is yet to flourish in Assam still it has shown a lot of promise to flourish in future
with the presence of multidisciplinary approach or hybridization in media education in the state .
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Change and Continuity for the Digital Natives in the Network Society
– Restructuring Media Education

Machunwangliu Kamei
Mass Communication Department
Assam Don Bosco University

Abstract
Robert E. Lane (1966) coined the term ‗knowledgeable society,‘ a society having its roots in
epistemology and the logic of inquiry. Knorr-Cetina (1999) states that ―it is a society permeated
with knowledge cultures, the whole set of structures and mechanisms that serve knowledge and
unfold with its articulation‖. The advent of New and Convergent Media has facilitated a knowledge
based economy where knowledge industries are recognized in the field of education, research and
development, communication media, information machines and services. This paper discusses how
the changing dimensions of communication and information flow in Networked Knowledge Society
have led to changes in the concept of knowledge in higher education institutions; changes in the
concept of message producer and consumer in media message production and distribution. This
development changes the social dynamics of the higher education institutions, national systems of
higher education and relationships between national higher education systems. The paper makes an
assessment on the changes in the role of higher education, profile of the students and the changing
patterns of learning in this Networked Society. This assessment is based on qualitative data
collected from students (digital natives) from different countries. Online focus group discussion was
conducted in asynchronus mode. These students (twenty-first century learners) are part of several
interconnected social network where they access online resources for learning. They also engage in
collaborative learning and reviewing works of peers. Castells and Himanen (2002) mentioned that
the knowledge society is organized in and through networks. The paper highlights the media
education skills that need to be developed among students through networks to develop critical
thinking and problem solving ability with a special focus on peer/ collaborative learning to enable
life-long learning capacity to disseminate media messages relevant in the context of knowledge
based society.
Key words: Network Society, Knowledge Economy, Communication Information Flow, Peer/
Collaborative Learning, ,Life-long Learning, Higher Education, Media Education. Bloom‘s
Taxonomy
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Communication and Information Flow in Networked Knowledge Society


Knowledge industries are recognized in the fields of education, research and development,
communication media, information machines and services. Butcher (2010) states that Information
Communications Technology is the pillar that will lead education and innovation dynamics towards
the knowledge society. Clark (1983) maintained that social dynamics in higher education is
dependent on the expansion of knowledge. Hooker (2010) and Tapper (2010) consider that a
knowledge based society is dependent on Information and Communication Technology (ICT),
education, training and innovation. Growth of research based knowledge in higher education
institution is creating a situation where this development changes the social dynamics of the higher
education institutions, national systems of higher education and relationships between national
higher education systems. This growth is taking place simultaneously with the development of
modern knowledge societies. Castells and Himanen (2002) mentioned that the knowledge society is
organized in and through Networks. According to them, successful companies use networking as a
model to organize their industrial production, research and development activities and cooperation
with other partners (including universities). They assert that networks illuminate the way power is
organized in general. The role of higher education in this context is seen crucial in the development
of global information societies.
Various debates in academic fields and policy related documents give interesting arguments
in this regard. It has been noticed that there is a shift from the linear models of communication
(sender – message – channel – recipient) towards more collective and reciprocal approach. It is no
longer a hierarchical ‗sender‘ to ‗recipient‘ order, but rather there is role reversal in the
communication process and both add to the content and meaning of the message. In the new media
enabled communication process, the message does not remain fixed, but changes as it flows among
different actors as each comprehend and respond to the message in different ways. This shift in
communication loop in the information network is an indicator for the research/policy link. A
message may be picked up or missed by actors depending on how each actor relates to it. ―Although
most ideas in the information age are communicated in written form, often electronically, the
interpersonal aspect of communication is still extremely important. Even electronic communication
is based on the notion of interpersonal relations. The research/policy link is in the advantageous
position of being able to draw on both micro and macro perspectives of interpersonal
communication and advocacy, as its field ranges from individual output and opinions to macro
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concerns for the distribution of ideas, power and resources on a global level‖ (cf. Hudson, in Lewis
and Wallace, 2000).
Communication and knowledge transfer systems are ingrained in cultural and social context,
and technology is ‗translated‘ in different ways between contexts (McMaster et al., 1997 on actor
network theory). This implies that the cultural and social associations will influence the way ICT
are understood and accepted (Peterson, 1998). In turn, this has measureable effects on the way
policies are translated. Higher education policies in reconfiguring media education ―for the
knowledge society‖ at work in the institutional level needs to look into:
 How individual higher education institutions participate in the discourse about the knowledge
society.
 The dialogue with the State, external ―stakeholders‖ and peers.
 Development of internal institutional policies in connection with the knowledge society talk.
The impact on curriculum, research and outreach.
 The entrepreneurial or academic enterprising university.
 Universities as actors in knowledge regions.
Valcke (2003) recommends the following lists of ‗ways forward‘ to promote the integrated
use of technology in higher education based on a critical policy analysis of the Flemish context. He
distinguishes between macro-level issues, pertaining to the regional, national and international of
individual educational institutes and meso-level issues that focus on intra-institutional elements.
Macro-level
 Foster collaboration between institutes;
 ‗Seed money‘ is crucial to start up innovations in higher education;
 Accompanying measures should also be supported, and this to a very large extent. The latter is
especially true for support actions such as dissemination, expertise exchange;
 conditions that promote collaboration between institutes, between Higher professional
education and universities, the application of industry standards;
 staff training as an integral part of projects;
 Involve the existing umbrella organizations to promote the ICT based innovations;
 Start up and promote national evaluation and monitoring activities;
 Redefine innovation project tenders that pursue educational innovation based on ICT and
 Define internal and external quality assurance cycles.
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Meso-level
 Define an educational policy and related ICT policy;
 Foster collaboration within the higher education institute (between faculties/departments);
 Focus on initiatives that are scalable;
 Extrapolate the administrative, logistics, technical consequences of ICT projects. This implies
that the projects should start as early as possible to negotiate with departments that ‗own‘
crucial information about students, staff data, rosters, calendars, …
 Set up an internal quality control cycle;
 Foster collaboration with other higher education institutes; e.g., in the context of
‗associations‘;
 Invest in a significant way in central support (helpdesk, training, documentation, registration,
authentication …) and
 Discuss and determine the consequences of educational ICT use for the human resource
management: incentives for staff, staff development, specialisation, new job profiles among
others.
Wolf (2001), Drori et al. (2003), Butcher (2010) and Etzkowitz et.al (2012) identify
universities as the main players in the knowledge society as they generate and diffuse knowledge.
They supply human capital for the economies that are ever more dependent on knowledge.
Universities need to coordinate with knowledge intensive industries. National policies for
encouraging knowledge generation, knowledge acquisition, knowledge diffusion, and the
exploitation of knowledge have become the most pressing priorities. The task before higher
education researchers regarding the knowledge society is the critical evaluation of a situation in
which our methodological gaze has become as meaningful when turned inward—to higher
education itself—as when we purport to study contexts and phenomena outside our walls
(Bourdieu, 2004; Etzkowitz et.al 2012).

The Knowledge Society Discourse


The growing importance of knowledge, research, innovation and evolving perspectives on
expertise with the usage of new media are changing the sociology of knowledge in the globalized
world. The terminologies associated are Knowledge Society, Knowledge Economy, Information
Society, Learning Society, and Network Society. Nico Stehr mentions that Knowledge Society was
first used by Lane (1966), as the ‗‗great optimism of the early 1960s which suggests that science
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would somehow allow for the possibility of a society in which common sense would be replaced by
scientific reasoning‘‘ (Stehr 1994). Drucker (1969), cites knowledge ‗‗as the foundation of
economy and social action‘‘. Robin Mansell and Stehr further developed this concept in the 1990s.
Knorr Cetina (1997, 2001) considers knowledge society as one in which the culture of knowledge
permeates to the society as a whole and not one in which production and flow of knowledge is
limited to a few privileged. Machlup (1962) defines knowledge as the ability to apply human
intellect in drawing meaning from various information sources. Peters (2007) mentions the dispute
in terminologies and ideologies associated (Knowledge Society by sociologists, Knowledge
Economy by economists and Learning Society by educators) taking place in the policy regimes. The
terms ‗Information Society‘ and ‗post industrial society‘ appeared with the works of Bell (1973),
Machlup (1962), Portat (1977) and Rubin et al. (1986). Castells (1998, 2000, 2001), Melody (1987),
Melody and Mansell (1986), Mosco and Wasko (1988), Stehr (1992, 2002), Sussman (1999) and
Webster (2002a, 2002b) have contributed to the ideation of information or global knowledge
society have further developed this concept in the context of sociology and political economy.
Knowledge and change in society are connected to Learning Society and Knowledge
Economy. Knowledge in this case is applicable to all spheres of societies with very less distinction
between formal and non-formal education (Hutchins 1968; Huse´n 1974; Mansell, 2012; UNESCO,
2013). Lifelong learning for advancing one‘s career by learning how to learn becomes a requisite.
Learning is not the privilege of an elite class anymore (UNESCO, 2013). Machlup (1962) traced the
economic essence of knowledge production to 1960s. In his consolidated structure of knowledge
industry he subscribed to education as the most important sector. Knowledge industries are
identified in the field of education, research and development, communication media, information
machines and services. The officially received view on the knowledge economy – the view that
emanates from the world policy institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund
(IMF) and OECD -- tends to support the shift to a global knowledge economy.
Harold Adams (1951) says that communication technology drives history. ―A medium of
communication has an important influence on the dissemination of knowledge … and it becomes
necessary to study its characteristics in order to appraise its influence in its cultural setting‖. He
talks of communication revolution leading to ―digital age‖ and an ―information society.‖ Societies
and cultures according to him would be influenced by the communication processes and the
associated institutions. Some pertinent questions which arise from these discussions are:
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1. Does the nature of knowledge production change societies, cultures and economics?
2. Does the Knowledge Society confirm the existence of a knowledge community whose
members share a common stock of knowledge and more or less similar experiences?
3. What are communications models for knowledge creation and knowledge society?
Bates, T (2015) states that in the digital age with the presence of cyber space the principles
of media education needs to address new and challenging questions viz. how, for instance, does
technology affect how we relate to others? Is new technology enriching or undermining culture,
learning and a sense of community? What roles do ownership, control and access play? What are
the challenges in regulating a global, borderless medium like the Internet?
Research Approach and Methodology
The study involved 150 students from 32 countries representing America, Australia, Europe
and Asia. These students (twenty-first century learners) are part of several interconnected social
networks where they access online resources for learning. They also engage in collaborative
learning and reviewing works of peers. Online focus group discussion was conducted in
asynchronus mode. Questions were posted online and answers gathered in the same thread. The
qualitative study approach utilises as a strategy of inquiry electronic data collection methods which
have been considered beneficial as they are informative with prompt responses of research
participants, and decreased human errors (Curl & Robinson, 1994; Stanton, 1998). Responses from
students from different areas, countries and cultures were analysed to gain understanding on their
perspective on the role and mission of higher education institutions. Asynchronous online forums
have been reported to be observable, relatively easy to use, accessible, and safe (Anderson &
Kanuka, 1997; Hsiung, 2000). Responses were also gathered to assess the change in students‘
profiles and ways of how learning has changed. The analyses based on responses gathered are
discussed here.
Changes in Higher Education Institutions
Citizens are the greatest resource of any country and education makes that resource more
valuable. Higher educational institutions are focused on volume credentialing for profit while
partnering with industry and government to further science, arts, and social development. It seems
that people are seeking degrees to educate and validate their expertise and most education providers
are trying filling this requirement in a classic fee for service business model. While academia plays
a vital role in furthering science, arts, and social development most people are seeking degrees to
achieve higher paying jobs to support their families. The role of higher education institutions is to
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prepare students for a very specialized and competitive workforce. There is an abundance of
knowledge available these days and it is the university's responsibility to lead their students into the
right direction as to what knowledge is important in their field versus what is just trivial
information.
―Now more than ever higher education should be about creativity, innovation, where
knowledge is shared by everyone in a spirit of communal understanding.‖ - Odanel Ortega,
Lacombe Canada
Higher education today plays an integral part for many professional young adults in how it
shapes their professional future. Many companies, both small and large, have educational
requirements to obtain even the most entry level positions, while higher positions such as
management and leadership positions require higher degrees, hands on experience and skills. The
education industry has moved their focus from basic general education degrees, to offering a vast
choice of professional type degrees that will ultimately be beneficial in furthering working careers.
―The role of higher education institutions today is to prepare a student for a true melting pot
of what is now our global neighbourhood‖ saysAkbar Yermekov (from Alamaty, Kazakstan).
The respondents also mentioned that higher education institutions need to provide education
which is vocationally focused, accessible and enables students to improve their own world as well
as the world around them. It is essential that institutions facilitate peer discussions and understand
that learners have their own experiences and skills that can really contribute to the learning of others
and further the teaching of the courses. Previously, there was a belief that the experience of higher
education was simply enough in itself to provide value to students. However, there has been a
significant shift from that viewpoint to understanding that it is the role of the institution to look as
the students holistically and how the education being undertaken can add value to that person's life.
―When I commenced my higher education a decade ago, the focus was simply on the
delivery of the educational topic being presented. There was limited exploration of how this
connects to the work place or how students may use this information beyond the class itself.‖ -
Rachel Endo, Japan
Students believe that the role of higher education today is to prepare students for a global
economy. The world has become much smaller and businesses are conducted across
borders. Additionally, the increase use of technology makes media literacy very important.
―I am involved on a volunteer basis in media literacy workshops. In an interview I saw a
while back, the creator of the Arduino asked whether we wanted to be the creators of our
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environment or whether we wanted someone else to create our environment for us.‖ - Alina Virani,
Katy United States.
―I believe the role of higher education is to give the tools for us to be the creators of own
world.‖- Everlist Dosumu, London United Kingdom.
The world we live in has changed considerably in the last century. There has been profound
advancements in technology, from the automobile which was first mass produced by Ford in 1908
to the more recent mobile phone, first made by Motorola in 1973 (Ford Motor Company &
Motorola, n.d.). There are two points to offer for consideration. The first is scale and density. We
now live so close together and technology brings us even closer and has massively improved our
ability to distribute innovation throughout the land. This is in line with the two key theoreticians of
old and new media Walter Benjamin (1969) and Paul Virilio (1997) who equate nature with spatial
distance between the observer and the observed; and they see technologies as destroying this
distance. It seems we need relatively fewer people innovating to progress than in the past. Now
consider past times in which it was harder to get an education, harder to spread information, and
harder to deliver innovations. Perhaps it was even more important for higher education to foster
creativity, innovation, and knowledge sharing in past eras than it is today. The emphasis used to be
on acquiring knowledge in a field and was treating mainly as a privilege pursuit. Now it would
seem the role has become more of a societal necessity, both for individual survival and civilization
survival.
Technological advancement has come at a cost, and our environment has suffered as a
result. To ensure that future generations are able to enjoy the same standard of living as we do, one
of the key roles of higher education institutions today is also to integrate the concept of sustainable
development in curricula. Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
needs. Sustainable development has continued to evolve as that of protecting the world‘s resources
while its true agenda is to control the world‘s resources. Environmentally sustainable economic
growth refers to economic development that meets the needs of all without leaving future
generations with fewer natural resources than those we enjoy today (Mondel, 2013). The
importance of education in sustainable development was reinforced in a recent United Nations
Survey for a better world where the majority of the over five million participants choose education
as the issue that matters most when considering themselves and their families (GUNI, n.d.). The
role of higher education institutes includes key sustainable development issues into teaching and
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learning; for example, climate change, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, poverty reduction, and
sustainable consumption. It also requires participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate
and empower learners to change their behaviour and take action for sustainable development.
Education for Sustainable Development consequently promotes competencies like critical thinking,
imagining future scenarios and making decisions in a collaborative way (UNESCO, n.d.).
―In my country (Slovenia) the role of higher education institutions changed a lot in last
years. Higher education has become a necessity. With high unemployment rate even with a degree
it is hard to get a job, without you can hardly earn a decent living. Subsequently a lot of adults got
back to study part time, which is quite expensive.‖ - Michele Lyman-Luckfield, Slovenia.
―I believe the role of higher education institutions today is to meet the needs of the twenty-
first century. These needs include skills in collaboration and teamwork, problem solving and
complex thinking, and ways of representing clear communication through diverse media. Higher
education institutions should pave the way for in-demand professions, thus strengthening the
workforce and advancing societies on a global scale.‖ - Adeola Ajibike Oluoye, Port Harcourt
Nigeria.
It is clear that higher education institutions have an important role to play in respect of
regional development. By, for instance, offering education to the workforce that matches the needs
of employers in the region their regional impact may be enhanced. Secondly, higher education
institutions can provide the public and private sector in the region with research which contributes
to the development of a knowledge-based economy. Finally, higher education institutions can also
be used to promote entrepreneurship, by offering entrepreneurship programs and establishing
science parks, including incubators, where new companies can be developed. In the context of this
study, a number of good practices are highlighted which may be considered when discussing how
universities can best be used to further regional development. Today accessibility is important as
the social and economic backgrounds of students are very diverse. Access to more people has to be
a key requirement now, availability of technology has changed how we interact with the world
around us, and truly modern institutions have embraced that. Access across communities and
across different social and economic groups will also have changed and media education curriculum
should now be looking at outreach as part of their mission. There needs to be a shift in focus from
learning for the sake of knowledge to filling specific needs in society; to increase awareness,
knowledge, skills and values that are not only just and sustainable for the future but also to prepare
individuals and professionals to lead and develop the society around them.
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Today, higher education institutions play a fundamental role in promoting the lifestyle of
modern society economically, socially, politically, environmentally and culturally. Higher education
institutions produce hundreds of thousands of new experts into the world. These experts have a
considerable knowledge in different sectors such as health, economy, environment and others. the
world has been transformed so many times and actually education institutions conduct a variety of
researches to solve the overwhelming problems and excavating new ways of lifestyle. The world
today needs educated people to fully utilize the resources of the earth and hence education
institutions respond to the demand of the new technology by producing millions of specialists in
different sectors. Universities are meant to prepare students to fulfil the needs of society by teaching
them certain skills. According to Lloyd Armstrong, universities were created and funded to serve
the local populations by preparing students to fulfil the needs of that area. Armstrong explains that
as some universities began to grow, their scope changed and grew as they became less regional and
more national or international (Armstrong, 2011). Their role has changed from serving its local
region to serving society globally.
Globalization has changed the scope of what needs to be taught in order for a student to success
in today's uber competitive world. The mission has changed due to changes happening in the world,
driven by powerful forces such as economics, politics, demographics, religion and technology. We
have seen enormous increases in globalization over the past few decades that have transformed how
we do business, how we live, and how our governments function. The missions of educational
institutions have been changing over long period of time. In the early stage, the education
institutions were only responding to the needs of the specific locations they were found. They were
offering education opportunities only to the students at their locations. Again, after exposure to the
new technology, the mission increased in terms of distance, needs, finance and access. Work fields
are becoming more specialized, therefore students have to cover more ground in the same amount
of time which leaves less time to dedicate to general education topics that have less to do with the
field. While a university ultimately still wants their students to become well rounded, the way of
achieving this has changed. Nowadays a lot of education happens indirectly by having students of
all kinds of different backgrounds and cultures together in the same place, achieving the same goals.
. ―In my country Cameroon we have moved from an academic base level of higher education
to more professionalized system of education, there by offering the training of specialists, of
professionals and of highly qualified manpower to meet the needs of the government, of industry
and businesses, and all branches of society‖ - Cecilia Engoro, Yaounde, Cameroon.
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Competition has been highly valued: high scores on standardized tests and financial
privilege were what used to determine the potential for a student to succeed. Lani Guinier argues in
a February 2015 New York Times Q & A on higher education, ―the score on your SAT or other
exams is a better predictor of your parent's income and the car they drive than of your performance
in college.‖ Now collaboration and teamwork are becoming highly valued, and we see a dramatic
shift in student profiles. Where women and minorities once lagged in academic performance, we
now see that once socioeconomic barriers are removed, and academic collaboration, instead of
competition, is valued, a more diverse population excels in higher education, to the benefit of
society as a whole. The internet has also probably helped in many ways facilitate global
consumerism and trade, which would heavily effect the profiles of people in each country through
being provided with more goods via trade. Outsourcing and working with different countries as a
company has become a hot topic recently. The world in general feels like it's more connected and
interested in each other than it was previously simply due to the fact it's easily accessible
information now. Thinking about that, this could also create more pressure on certain countries and
cultures to follow suit of the large first world countries, get more competitive and to try to get more
on their level.
The fundamental missions of higher education institutions as felt and summarised by the
respondents are:
1. Research: Its purpose is to build on past learning to create new learning.
2. Teaching: Its purpose is to improve and expand student learning.
3. Service: Its purpose is to translate learning and provide learning to improve communities
and people.
4. Learning: Its purpose is the pragmatic application of the psychology of learning in order to
expand the student's potential for learning.
Flexibility in Learning
As the internet has developed substantially from the mid 90s, it has become a quintessential
tool for social interaction. Prior to this development the ―profile‖ of a student would have
encompassed only the local settings and technology that individual may have been a part of. The
"profile" now includes not only the local settings and technology but also a rapidly growing
interconnected social network. A lot of learning happens outside the classroom, in the networks. A
few decades ago the average college student was a high school graduate moving directly to campus.
On the global front, students today are older, more experienced in work and more racially and
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socioeconomically diverse. The changing college demographics signify that people who once
lacked the opportunity to go to college today can access higher education. This new reality
represents progress toward the goal of giving more people a chance at success and also encourages
lifelong learning. Geographic, racial, cultural, socio-economic, gender etc. diversity have proven
benefits in higher education (Denson & Chang, 2009 and Gurin, n.d.). ―Participatory learning‖ is
the title of the new domain of learning. The internet has certainly been a strong contributor to
changes in student profiles and ways of learning. However, there are others too, such as changing
community expectations, consumerism and commercialization.
―I think the higher education student of today can be of any age, gender or nationality. A
successful student will need to be self-motivated, disciplined, and have good time management
skills to thrive in a virtual learning environment. The ability to access your learning materials at any
time day or night makes for a very flexible schedule but the individual must be responsible for
accessing and doing the work without that physical presence of a teacher or classroom.‖ - Susan
Green, Geelong Australia
More people will want to balance study with work and other commitments. Although many
still take the traditional route because of the academic structure, there is still an expectation that the
university will provide support and development opportunities beyond that of the typical academic
study. Those new elements are a key to students choosing to attend a particular university and form
part of the scoring system in evaluation studies of institutions for new students. Universities and
other higher educational institutions have to be more outward facing and aware of their "customer"
care role. With the changes in the global economic situation over the last decade, getting a degree
has moved from something that was more a rite of passage for high school graduates to a necessity
for older, more established people who need to find new careers. Students have changed from
young people just starting out into a much wider, more diverse group of individuals. Student
profiles have definitely changed. Today‘s students are tech savy and informational sponges. The
accessibility of the internet in smart phones and tablets everywhere they go makes them carry
around a copy of the "Encyclopedia of the World" at their finger tips.
―Earlier teachers would tell the students to put their calculators away for math exams, but
now students have the answers to all their tests right at their finger tips. Cheating has become more
creative and students can learn quicker and instantly ―Google search‖ hundreds of sources for a
report‖- Anil Kumar R Nair, Adoor, India.
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The internet has allowed communication flow of students and opinions around the world so
students today are far more opinionated then the rigid textbook learning of the past. The internet
and evolution of open source technologies have allowed the proliferation of ideas and creativity to
flow in a unique way. Point to be reconsidered in this context is that education is not just about
learning a skill but broadening your horizon.
―Education should be about broadening your perspective, not just learning a skill set. I
would want you to learn how to think for yourself and question ‗everything‘. Life is not just about
learning to read and write. It's about learning to take the things you read and write and use them to
make yourself and your environment better‖ - Hassan Abdi, Garowe, Somalia.
New media has enabled learners to have greater exposure to cultural diversity. This
provides students with the opportunity to broaden their horizons, not just educationally, but also
from a cultural perspective. Equally this delivery enables students from rural and regional areas
access to high quality learning experiences that they simply would not have access to in the past.
This has lead to a de-centralisation of learning. Learning has to change much like students with the
facility of hybrid program.
―Flexibility has been the major encouragement for me to pursue the degree I have always
wanted to. The changes that have occurred to learning overtime have made it easier for us to study,
connecting with our colleagues from different parts of the world‖-Adeola Adesina, Cardiff, United
Kingdom.
―There are a million new websites, well maybe not a million but many, new online
education programs with various ways of self education. Once of my favorite sites in my spare
time is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) open courseware site. When I get bored I
can go and take online classes at MIT for free without earning college credit. From the old
fashioned approach of a class room with a rigid training plan and a teacher in charge, we now have
a more adaptive environment with peers qualifying peers‖ - Alexey Sokolov, Yaroslavl, Russian
Federation.
The two biggest changes noticed, observed and required have been in a move away from
brute memorization of facts towards active and engaging learning of material that cater to all three
learning styles (visual, auditory, and hands-on) that allow for better memory retention. The second
change has been a move away from hierarchical approaches towards more increasing decentralized
approaches. Bricks and mortar are no longer the absolute norm. With networked learning, anyone
from anywhere in the world, at any time, can learn. Digital learning has had an impact on
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traditional learning methods. No longer is simply sitting in lecture theatres with textbooks the only
way to learn and progress through a degree programme. Digital devices, webcams, webinars and
other online platforms have opened the door to new ways of learning. It also enables more social
learning opportunities and cross-learning opportunities enable students to gain input from students
across the world. In addition to the traditional model of university education with students attending
lectures in person, students can now access learning resources online via webpages, webinars,
forums, learning portals and so on. Student has almost all the information in the world available at
their fingertips whenever it is convenient for them. It is up to the student to make the most of it.
Sites like youtube.com, instructables.com, hackaday.com, and many others have made casual
learning and knowledge sharing ubiquitous. The advent of MOOCs brought free or low cost world
class instruction to anyone with an internet connection and will.
―The last time I attended school, I had to go to a computer lab in order access the
internet. Now I am doing school work on a holiday weekend and from my kitchen table‖ - Wallace
Henrique Da Silva, Braslia, Brazil.
―Ways of learning are ever changing. We live in a highly technological and global society. This
is why it is important to continue to learn new skills and adapt to our changing environment‖ - Adil
Ali Khan Ghori, Karachi, Pakistan.
Based on the discussion, it can be summed up that students require a higher education
system which has the education mission of high quality, real-world focused learning for everyone,
where:
1. Students feel supported throughout their educational journey.
2. The university is recognised by employers and other institutions as providing a high quality
learning experience.
3. The students are culturally, regionally and experientially diverse.
4. Financial resources are not a barrier for student‘s entry.
―We no longer live in a world where our world ends at the borders of our own country. We
live in a global world and we need to learn each other's culture and language. Media education
curriculum needs to be advanced and expanded further to that level. I would want my university
would be to prepare persons to live and work in a global community‖ - Nan Wang, Tianjin, China.
―Studies have proven that humans learn more effectively and can remember information
better when they are having fun and enjoying themselves while learning- and I think that is
extremely important to incorporate into our educational systems. The goal of a higher institution
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should be to act as the tool to accelerate humanity into a state of higher intelligence to advance
society- not to act selfishly as a company interested in short term profit‖ - Andrew Muroki, Doha,
Qatar.
Based on the above discussions, the following sections will discuss how education can be
reconfigured in the New Media scenario to address the issues and requirements placed by learners
in the twenty-first century.
Bloom‟s Taxonomy and Peer Learning - Restructuring Media Education
Bloom‘s taxonomy ascribes to the importance of developing and achieving the three primary
domains of learning for students (Bloom, et al. 1956). These three domains include:
 Cognitive, which refers to mental skills or acquiring knowledge.
 Affective, which refers to emotional growth and the ability to internally feel the area, including
developing of one‘s attitude.
 Psychomotor, which refers to one‘s physical skills or abilities
Integrating Bloom‘s taxonomy within our networked society can meet the needs of diverse
learners. Bloom‘s taxonomy‘s incorporation in peer learning can empower students to thinking,
questioning and lead them to to take action to create a meaningful learning process. The
combination in media education can help in developing the twenty-first century skills needed in
learners. society requires its According to Partnership for Twenty-first Century Skills, ―People in
the 21st century live in a technology and media-suffused environment, marked by various
characteristics, including: 1) access to an abundance of information, 2) rapid changes in technology
tools, and 3) the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions on an unprecedented scale.
To be effective in the twenty-first century, citizens and workers must be able to exhibit a range of
functional and critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology‖ (Partnership for
21st Century Skills,2009). The revised Bloom‘s taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001)
continues to be a part of important instructional decisions to create access between a rigorous
curriculum and the needs of Digital native learners.
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Figure 1 Bloom‘s Revised Taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001)

This led to changes in the concept of knowledge in constructions; changes in the concept of
message producer and consumer in media message production and distribution. Many
commentators discuss the ways in which information and communication technologies facilitate
new relationships between people in their local domestic circumstances and global networks
(Moores, 1993; Silverstone and Hirsch, 1992). Marilyn Strathern sees domestic information and
communication technologies as ‗enabling‘. In terms which assign agency to these technologies
themselves, she suggests that ‗[t]hey appear to amplify people‘s experiences, options, choices. But
at the same time they also amplify people‘s experiences, options and choices in relation to
themselves. These media for communication compel people to communicate with them‘ (Strathern,
1992). Reconfiguring media education will need to address this shift in gears of information flow.
The hind sight being this that a student with a Mass communication degree may not necessararily be
the effective media producer/industry guy (against medium is the message) but it could be a non-
mass communication student who knows peers through networks to develop effective Media
messages in this Pro-sumer media platform. Hence, developing critical thinking and problem
solving ability in students with a special focus on peer/ collaborative learning will enable life-long
learning capacity to disseminate media messages relevant in the context of knowledge based
society.
―Because we review each others' work, we will all know the standard for our own work.
Ways of learning have also changed. Peer-based education is becoming more common. As an
example, my brother-in-law is now doing a course my father did at the same school 25 years ago.
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When my father took the course, students shared three computers, none of which were connected to
the internet, and students were forbidden to show their work to one another. Now, students all use
their personal computers, most of their research is done on the internet, and they are required to
share their work and help each other to make improvements.‖ - Terrence Peart, New York, United
States.
Knowledge building and construction in peer learning can be to a certain extent equated to
wiki method of learning. Martin Lister (2009) in New Media: A Critical Introduction mentions that
the development of wiki based forms of knowledge production appears to be the precise
technological correlative of Pierre Lévy‘s influential utopian writing on collective intelligence
(1997), in which he asserts that ‗networks promote the construction of intelligent communities in
which our social and cognitive potential can be mutually developed and enhanced‘ (1997: 17). This
trust of course depends on the unpaid work of the wiki community to edit and check entries –
however this self policing community regulating environment is an important feature of this type of
knowledge production environment. It places responsibility on all of us to check information (if we
know it) or ‗tag as inappropriate‘ offensive online content.
Peer learning is an important aspect which needs to be integrated in the new learning design.
As when students learn collaboratively, they are given the opportunity to learn more through
additional perspectives. And when students assess someone else‘s work, they engage in a process of
understanding it at a deeper level, which also improves the product of their own work. Receiving
feedback from peers helps as often times, teachers are overloaded with work and some time
responding to students might not be timely, receiving feedback from peers solves this problem
(Hartley, 1998). Also, there may be difficult concepts a student might not quickly understand from a
teacher but a peer, can help a student understand it better. Peer learning develops important skills in
students that help enhance learning and understanding. It also prepares students for life beyond
university as it helps develop their capacity to evaluate the quality and impact of their own work
and the work produced by others (Donaldson and Topping, 1996). Peer review has two aspects
that offer qualitatively different learning benefits - reviewing the work of others and receiving
reviews from others.
Giving feedback to peers is an act of personal development. It requires engagement; students
are active giving constructive comments based on what they have learned. Giving feedback also
help other students understand the topic of discussion better; having each and every student assesses
each other work where the person doing the assessment acquired the knowledge that was missed
56 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

when doing their own work. Peer learning aims to improve the quality of learning and empower
learners, where traditional forms can by-pass needs (Mowl, 1996, McDowell and Mowl, 1996).
Teaching and assessment often inclines learners towards memorization and recitation of facts.
Memorizing facts is important, but so is discussion and debating ideas, which can be facilitated
through collaborative learning. It is important to be able to put the facts students learn into a real-
world scenario to be sure that they retain the information for longer than the few weeks needed
before students take a test on it.
―I think to really assess learning; you must have a combination of test taking, discussion,
and debates. Memorization doesn't show the full picture of learning.‖
The most effective way to assess learning is to have the students use what they have learned
and apply it to a new situation, which allows them an opportunity to apply what they have learned,
review another student's application in order to analyze and evaluate (Clark, 2015). Topping (1996)
describes the potential advantages of peer learning, including the development of the skills of
evaluating and justifying, and using discipline knowledge. Peer assessment can help self-
assessment. By judging the work of others, students gain insight into their own performance. "Peer
and self-assessment help students develop the ability to make judgements, a necessary skill for
study and professional life" (Brown, Rust and Gibbs, 1994).
Brown, Rust and Gibbs (1994), Zariski (1996), Race (1998) and others have described some
potential advantages of peer assessment for students as
 Giving a sense of ownership of the assessment process, improving motivation
 Encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning, developing them as
autonomous learners.
 Treating assessment as part of learning, so that mistakes are opportunities rather than
failures
 Practising the transferable skills needed for life-long learning, especially evaluation skills
 Using external evaluation to provide a model for internal self-assessment of a student's own
learning (metacognition), and
 Encouraging deep rather than surface learning.
Self and peer assessment ―promote lifelong learning, by helping students to evaluate their
own and their peers achievements realistically, not just encouraging them always to rely on (tutor)
evaluation from on high‖ (Brown, 1996). Learning is improved by detailed, positive and timely
feedback on student work (e.g. Brown, Race and Rust 1995, 81). It is therefore worth considering
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whether student peer-assessment can increase the amounts of feedback that students can derive from
their work (Race, 1995). The distinctive feature of higher education is the learning and assessment
of "higher order thinking skills", including assessing and evaluating (Heywood, 2000). Ramsden
mentions the aim of higher education is to inculcate independent judgement and critical self
awareness (Ramsden, 1992). The use of peer learning in digital networks encourages students to
believe they are part of a community of scholarship. Peer assessment invites students to take part in
a key aspect of higher education: making critical judgements on the work of others, bringing
together the values and practices of teaching with those of research (Rowland 2000, Boud, 1990).
Nicol (2011) in a paper for Quality Assurance Agency in Higher Education lists the benefits
of peer assesment:
1. Giving feedback to others is a cognitive activity that is very demanding and requires
significant student engagement; students cannot be passive when giving feedback whereas
they can be passive in using the feedback they receive. Giving feedback involves meaning
making or knowledge construction in ways that connect new knowledge with what students
already know.
2. Feedback construction requires that students actively engage with assessment criteria in
order to produce a commentary. They must exercise the criteria many times and from many
different perspectives. In doing this they internalise the criteria and become better at
producing work for themselves. Research shows that the most significant reason that
students underperform in assignment tasks is that they do not fully understand what is
expected of them. Feedback construction where students have to produce a response to
another's work against criteria helps to address this issue in a powerful and compelling way.
3. Giving students regular experience in evaluating work and writing feedback commentaries
in the same domain as they are producing work helps develop deep disciplinary expertise
and writing skills. This process complements and elaborates on the feedback that students
receive from teachers and peers on their own work.
4. When students review the work of others they see many examples of the same work they are
producing. From this they learn about different approaches to the assignment and they see
the different ways that quality work can be produced. This stimulates self-reflection and
leads to the transfer of learning to their own work.
5. Peer feedback production moves us away from learning, and indeed assessment, as a private
activity. If handled sensitively engaging students in giving and receiving feedback in a safe
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and trusting environment can even held foster the development of social cohesion and
learning communities
6. Importantly, making judgements about other's work and providing a feedback commentary
helps students develop the ability to appraise their own work as exactly the same skills are
involved. Hence peer review directly helps students to become more independent and more
effective at self-regulating their own learning
Conclusion
Prensky defines digital natives as those born into an innate new media culture, immersed in
digital technologies, a life fully integrated with digital devices. The culture of digital natives is a
culture of connectivity, of public display, of sharing, of feedback, of constant availability and of
global citizenship (Prensky, 2001). Peer Learning in this context will impact and will continue
learning beyond the universities and classrooms. The buzz word in this context would be ―Sharing,
enabling, connecting.‖
Preparing our students in the twenty-first century would also mean that they are capacitated
to be flexible and fluid in their learning. Like Alvin Toffler (1970) stated ―The illiterate of the 21 st
century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and
relearn.‖ Job postings often state that the successful applicant must have ―superior critical thinking
and problem solving skills.‖ Employers tell college administrators that graduates often lack these
skills. In a recent world conference held of industry and academia in Berlin, many of the CEOs of
different companies highlighted the fact that what they look for in fresh graduates when hiring for
jobs is their ability to adapt and reconstruct in any new innovative situation. Knowledge as a
concept is ever developing and media technologies are fluid in nature. Learning environment need
to extend beyond the limitations of bricks and mortar to develop and transfer specific skills that
serve both the purposes of knowledge development and dissemination, while at the same time
prepare graduates for work in a knowledge-based society (Bates, 2015). It is in this light that our
media education curriculum and delivery has to be refashioned and remodelled to impart twenty-
firsr century skills needed by students in a knowledge-based society which in turn will facilitate
self-directed, self-motivated learners who see the value in engaging in lifelong learning in the ever
changing knowledge and mediascape.
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Media Education in India vis-a-vis Emerging Knowledge Society:


Challenges and Prospects
M. Nawaz Khan
Department of Mass Communication
Rajiv Gandhi University, Rono Hills, Itanagar

Abstract
Digital media revolution has brought about a paradigm shift from the ‗one-to-many‘ model
of mass communication to the ‗many-to-many‘ web model of communication even as a virtual
information superhighway has criss-crossed the world into a global village spattered with
information explosion. While the convergence technology has blurred the boundaries between
different media, the availability of many media services based on digital platforms like the Internet
has increased the variety of information and communication channels thereby changing the way
people communicate. All these pose various challenges for media education particularly in
developing countries like India. As in any other academic discipline, the broad quality
configuration for media education in India remains more or less traditional. Though many media
institutes have adopted innovative technologies in an effort to integrate them in the traditional
pedagogy, it leaves much to be desired as a strategy for keeping pace with the ever-changing
mediascape. As such media education in India needs a new quality configuration that will help meet
the challenges of the emerging knowledge society. This paper seeks to explore the problems and
prospects of media education in India thereby analyzing the concept of quality configuration as a
strategy to meet the challenges in the converging digital environment of the emerging knowledge
society.

Keywords:Media, Education, Quality, Convergence Technology, Communication.


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Introduction
While the conventional mass media continue to play a crucial role in keeping societies
informed, the digital media revolution has created a virtual information superhighway criss-crossing
the world into a global village. Even as the convergence technology has blurred the boundaries
between different media, the availability of many interactive media services based on digital
platforms like the Internet has increased the variety of information and communication channels
thereby changing the way people communicate. The new information and communication
technologies (ICTs) enable even the audience to create and disseminate contents on interactive
platforms such as the social networking sites. All these have brought about a paradigm shift from
the ‗one-to-many‘ model of mass communication to the ‗many-to-many‘ web model of
communication. On the other hand, the tendency of media manipulation by vested interests
continues to be a major cause of concern thanks to the media proliferation and their penetration in
all spheres of the society. In such a scenario, the people‘s critical understanding of mass media and
ICT is crucial for exercising their democratic rights as responsible citizens. This necessitates the
society to become media literate, which in turn makes media education both essential and
significant for the emerging knowledge society.
All these pose various challenges for media education particularly in developing countries
like India. The broad quality configuration for media education in India remains more or less
traditional despite the fact that it has a large mass media sector in addition to the ever-increasing
number of digital and telecommunications media. Though many media institutes have adopted
innovative technologies in an effort to integrate them in the traditional pedagogy, it leaves much to
be desired as a strategy for keeping pace with the ever-changing mediascape. As such media
education in India needs a new quality configuration aimed at higher degree of media literacy to
meet the challenges of the emerging knowledge society. This paper seeks to explore the problems
and prospects of media education in India thereby analyzing the concept of quality configuration as
a strategy to meet challenges in the converging digital environment of the emerging knowledge
society.
Media Education and Media Literacy
Media education refers to the teaching and learning about the media for developing critical
understanding and creative abilities in individuals with an objective to develop broad-based media
literacy in the society. It is concerned with all kinds of media including newspaper, magazine, radio,
recorded music, television, video, film and of course the Internet and the other new digital
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communication technologies. Media literacy, the outcome of media education, refers to the ability
to access, understand and create communications in various contexts. It not only enables people to
be critical, appreciative and discriminating users of the mass media for making informed judgments,
but also helps them become creators of media content thereby making them more powerful
participants in society. The seven areas of competence related to media literacy listed by the
European Charter of Media Literacy include effective use of media technologies to meet individual
and community needs and interests in exercising democratic rights and civil responsibilities, making
informed choices, understanding how and why media content is produced, analyzing critically the
techniques, languages and conventions used by 
the media, besides the messages they convey.
The early efforts for media education in various countries began with aims to educate
people in cinema literacy including appreciation of the aesthetic quality of films. While the cinema
club movement in France in the 1920s aimed at media education in critical understanding of films,
the establishment of the British Film Institute in the UK in 1933 was aimed at countering harmful
media influences. Russians also made media education efforts during the 1920s when instructions
were given on the press and film materials, albeit with emphasis on the Communist ideology. In
Germany, the origin of media education owes to the pioneering works of the Institute of Social
Research (Frankfurt School) while academic institutes began their media education practice by
integrating it into the curriculum. Similar programmes have been introduced at all levels of
educational systems in other European countries while Hungary became the first nation in Europe to
introduce media education courses in secondary schools. In Finland, primary and secondary school
curricula have been developed to encourage critical analysis of messages transmitted in mass media.
In the USA, the discipline of communication studies had its beginning in the 1933s when the
Institute of Propaganda Research was established as a reaction to Nazi propaganda which was then
a source of great concern. The support of the American government and private companies to
university courses and research in the mass media-field underlined the importance of media
education. In Scotland and Canada, media education began as resistance strategies to media
imperialism of England and the United States respectively. Likewise, media education in Australia
and South Africa emerged as anti-imperialistic national stance.
With television already in the scene, the ‗film education‘ was broadened into ‗screen
education‘ in the 1960s while the UNESCO‘s inclusion of media education in its list of priority in
the mid 1970shelped screen education gradually transformed into media education. In India, the
Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi was established in 1965 with an objective of
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providing training and conducting research to assist the government efforts for promotion of social
development and national integration. Following the international meeting of experts on media
education held in Grunwald in Germany in 1982, the UNESCO in its Grunwald Declaration on
Media Education highlighted the power of the media and urged the nations to promote a critical
understanding of media among their citizens so that they could play a key role in the process of
development. Since then media education has been the focus of increasing interest and activity in
many countries even as many governments have published policy statements on media education
while the UNESCO continues supporting such initiatives.
Media Scenario and Media Education in India
India has an ongoing media education movement but it is not widespread. Its origin can be
traced back to the late 1970s, when cinema and the press dominated mass media in India, with the
government-run Akashvani and Doordarshan being the only radio and television channels
respectively. None was seen as a threat, since they could easily be controlled through the Censor
Board, the Press Council of India and AIR Code. The Church‘s television awareness training
programmes grew into media awareness training programmes, which later expanded into media
education training. Inspired by the Australian and British media education initiatives, the Catholic
media institutes continued pioneering efforts for media education in the mid 1980s while the
UNESCO as well as the SIGNIS provided active support to such efforts.
The scenario of mass media and information technology changed tremendously in the
wake of economic liberalization in the early 1990s, when transnational television channels beamed
from outside the country were allowed to bombard the Indian audience. Since then Indian business
groups also launched Indian language satellite television channels in different regions of the
country. Thus, India has been witnessing a sort of communication revolution with large number of
television channels, newspapers, magazines, radio stations and film production companies besides
the presence of digital and telecommunications media for mobile telephony and Internet access. In
addition to this, the availability of platforms through convergence of the various media technologies
has made control and regulation of the media more problematic for the government despite the fact
that access and exposure to the mass media and to computers are still limited in India.
Though India has witnessed a tremendous change in media scenario, the media education
in the country remains by and large unchanged thanks to the continued focus on the conventional
mass media and the traditional pedagogy. Nonetheless, various pioneering efforts have been made
towards developing media education in different parts of the country. While media education has
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been made a part of the school curriculum in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, it has been
imparted outside school hours in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra through efforts made by some
committed individuals and voluntary organizations like the SIGNIS. While media education
through mass media occurs, some media houses also have made voluntary efforts to instruct
children in the schools in the name of promoting media education. Such an example is the
‗Newspapers in Education‘ initiative of the Times of India, which was conducted in schools in New
Delhi and some other cities.
At the college and university levels, both public and private media institutes offer
professional media and mass communication courses but with emphasis on producing job-ready
skilled manpower for the various media such as television, cinema, the press among others.The
students receive training in both theory and practical aspects of media production besides studies on
politics, control, business of mass media industry and other global media issues. These have little
provisions for critical media education thereby reflecting the lack of concern for preparing citizens
for the emerging knowledge society. Lack of trained personnel, overloading of teachers involved in
media education, inadequate material resources and financial support, weak methodological
approaches, inability to keep pace with changing technologies, and lack of research on the subject
are some of the reasons for the low success in media education in India. Though many media
institutes have adopted innovative technologies in an effort to integrate them in the traditional
pedagogy, it leaves much to be desired as a strategy for keeping pace with the ever-changing
mediascape.
Media Education and Emerging Knowledge Society
The factory system for mass production of goods and their mass distribution in the market
has been the driving force in the industrial society while mass media were needed as tools to
promote mass-produced goods to the customers. The social, economic and technological changes
that were taking place in the advanced societies in the 1970s were reflected in the emergence of the
concept of information society. Japanese writer Yoneji Masuda first used ‗information society‘ to
describe a society where the production of information values would become the driving force for
social development. The industrialized economies turned into information economies, which are
service-oriented rather than being production-oriented thanks to the innovative development of
information and communication technologies.
In information society more workers are involved with information-related industries than
production of commodities for the mass consumer market. In the knowledge society information
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and knowledge are transformed into a resource and commodity and they are mostly technology-
mediated in digital form. The information and knowledge, which are turned into commodity, have a
market price instead of being free public resource. The development of communication technology
is irresistible while the media and ITCs will continue to be catalysts for development thereby
changing the nature of work and employment in the knowledge society where alongside media
omnipresence, the dominance of new digital technology with interactive media would continue.
Since media have increasingly penetrated all areas of social life, it is now impossible to understand
the aspects of society without taking into account the role of the media. Moreover, in terms of
access to information and media technologies, the globalization process has been increasing the gap
between the rich and the poor. In such a scenario the arguments for media education as a strategy in
preparation of responsible citizens of the emerging knowledge society is relevant.
New Quality Configuration: Challenges and Prospects
The technological and structural change in the contemporary media environment vis a vis
the emergence of knowledge society present significant challenges and prospects. Despite
tremendous growth of the new media such as the Internet, mobile telephony, cable and satellite
television, the traditional media like television, the cinema and the press continue to dominate the
Indian media-sphere. However, the convergence of the various media as well as their globalization
has changed the very dynamic of each medium in the emerging knowledge society. In order to meet
the challenges of the emerging knowledge society, India needs a new configuration of media
education to be shaped after taking the changes into account. It should promote digital literacy,
which is an aspect of media literacy, aimed at narrowing down the existing digital divide and
promoting the development of the information society. The challenge of shifting the focus from the
national to international scene should also be accepted in view of the recent trends of privatization
of television, radio, telecommunications and computer technologies.
Since different countries are at different stages of adoption of information technology there
are several information societies. Nonetheless, the media will be an increasingly significant and
powerful force in the emerging commercially oriented and complex global knowledge societies.
Besides, the trend of commercialization and politicization of the various media also calls for a
critical evaluation of the mediascape at all levels of media education. As such media literacy
through media education is crucial in preparing the citizens for meeting the challenges of the
emerging knowledge society. Linking the emerging knowledge society to media education in the
context of the current technology-mediated scenario in India calls for defining communication in
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terms of technology and society so that the relevant kind of media education can be imparted. While
making efforts to connect media education to national development goals, media education should
have much concern for citizenship and democracy. All these suggest that media education in India
needs a new quality configuration aimed at higher degree of media literacy to meet the challenges
of the emerging knowledge society.
The Grunwald Declaration can be effectively utilized at national level while frameworks
for curriculum development and practice are outlined. Provisions of training in media education
should be included in professional training for teachers and other practitioners both as pre-service
and in-service programmes. Media producers should be convinced of their responsibility to provide
media education though their own work as well as through partnerships with education providers.
Media education practice should reflect current theoretical advances in understanding of
relationships between the society and the media through research. Besides opening media courses in
schools and higher institutes, research in media education in Indian context should be promoted
instead of much relying only on the findings of theorists and researchers in other countries. Another
challenge is identification of issues in terms of pedagogy that needs more systematic and sustained
research. Such research may well begin in the context of professional development courses or media
educators‘ organizations. Besides, media activism needs to become an integral part of media
education aimed at shaping critically autonomous citizens.
Conclusion
The pervasive media and ICTs act as a democratizing force but they alsocreate new
inequalities and digital divide in the society. In response to their influencing power, media
education has been given due importance in many countries. India has come a long way in media
education since the days of Grunwald Declaration but the nature and quality of the efforts are far
from satisfactory. The focus of the media education through academic and professional courses in
higher institutes has been mainly on producing job-ready manpower for the media industry with
little effort to promote the preparation of active citizens with critical thinking about media and their
influence in the society. The emerging knowledge society has increased the relevance and
significance of media education worldwide. As such media education in India needs a new quality
configuration in its critical approach to media literacy. It needs a new curriculum framework and
pedagogy suitable for the new literacy, which is required for living, working and meeting the
challenges of the emerging knowledge society as its citizens. India needs to enhance media
education in terms of conceptual understandings through promotion of research, training, co-
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operation between academicians and the media. In the context of the new converging media
environment, media education in India can go a long way in safeguarding media freedom and the
citizens‘ freedom of expression against constant threats from pressure groups, which pose vital
challenge to the future media educators.
Suggestions
Government should initiate and support comprehensive media education programmes from
school to university level with an objective to develop the knowledge, critical awareness and
competence among the users of media. Government in consultation with other relevant bodies
should support short, medium and long-term initiatives both directly and indirectly. Teachers should
be trained in appropriate pedagogy to increase their knowledge and understanding of media and
their operations. To facilitate more in-depth sharing of expertise on media education, initiatives like
international internships and teacher exchange programmes should be taken up besides producing
publications related to media education for general circulation.

REFERENCES
Bazalgette, C., Bevort, E., Savino, J. (Eds.). (1992). Media Education Worldwide. Paris: UNESCO.

Hart, A. (1998). Introduction: Media Education in the Global Village. In: Hart, A. (Ed.). Teaching
the Media- International Perspectives. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc. Publishers.

Kumar, K. J. (1995). Media Education, Communications and Public Policy: An Indian Perspective.
Bombay: Himalaya Publishing House.

Kumar, K. J. (2007). Mass Communication in India. (3rded.). Bombay: Jaico Paperbacks.

Potter, W.J. (2001). Media Literacy. London: Sage Publication.

Raja, J. & Kurian, J. (Eds.) (2005).Media Education: A Guidebook for Teachers. New Delhi:
ISPCK.

Scrampical, J., Botelho, J. & Kancharla, R. (Eds.)(1997). Media Education in India: Emerging
Trends and Perspectives. New Delhi: NISCORT.

Singhal, A. & Rogers, E.M. (2001).India‘s Communication Revolution: From Bullock- Carts to
Cyber- Marts. New Delhi: Sage Publications.
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Confronting the Challenges of New Media Environment: Quality


Configuration of Audio-Visual Media Education in India
Bimal Krishna Sarma
Nodal Officer, Regional Government Film and Television Institute
Government of Assam, Kahilipara, Guwahati

Abstract
This paper presents and discusses the problems and prospects in the field of audio-visual
media due to technological advancement and how the media education system of the country can
cope with the changing media environment. The process of information gathering, storing and
dissemination have completely changed in the last three decades. Persons in the media profession
now require multiple skills to work efficiently. The new media environment is conducive for fastest
transmission of information/news which has converted the traditional society to an informed
society. India is the largest film producing country in the world that produces one thousand feature
films in 18 languages every year and comprises over 800 TV channels and more than 300 radio
stations. On the other hand, the rapid growth in the audio-visual media in the country has resulted
in a shortage of faculty, quality education and qualified professionals. Consequently, media market
is flooded by professionals who are generalists and need proper training to deliver quality work. It
is estimated that India has over 200 media institutes including Journalism departments in various
universities, Film and Television Institutes, Indian Institute of Mass Communication and private
institutes. However, the whole approach of media education in India needs a new rethinking. For
instance, media education should be introduced in the schools where courses like basics of media
must be mandatory. Other specialized courses in media can be taught at higher levels of education.
There should be separate government media education regulatory body like MCI for medical
education and AICTE for technical education.

Key Words:Transformations, Configuration, Digital Technology, Teaching Infrastructure, Film


Industry, Regulatory Body.
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Introduction
Media education has undergone remarkable changes in title and type of courses available, in
an attempt to assure the need of the industry in the last three decades. Now, there is a variety of
technical and creative media courses available in various university departments, film and television
institutes and private media institutes in the country. However, the number of graduates who come
out from different institutes are not sufficient to meet the demands of various audio-visual media.
The era of globalization and consumerism is creating a huge demand for professionals in the audio-
visual media industry. Therefore, the courses of these institutes have to be well balanced both on the
theoretical and practical aspects of this field of study and enables the students to make a career out
of it. By perusing a course in audio-visual media studies one can gain a high degree of competency
in filmmaking, screenplay writing, photography, sound recording, editing, documentary film
making, electronic journalism and many other interesting and potentially challenging fields of
study. Nowadays every Indian language has more than a dozen satellite TV channels and more
proposals are pending in the concerned Ministry in the central government. The regional media in
India has demonstrated strong growth over last few years and continues to have a positive outlook.
In the film sector, digitization has enabled better storage and distribution for the industry. Now a
single film can be distributed across thousands of screens and locations simultaneously.
Approximately 90-95 % movie screens are now digitized in the country. On the other hand, radio
that was languishing for several decades, according to a recent FICCI-KPMG Media &
Entertainment Report, has registered a robust growth of around 24 percent with the top eight metros
still dominating the market, accounting for 70-75 percent of industry revenues. The average growth
rate for larger, established players like 92.7 BIG FM among others was in the range of 15-20
percent. For smaller players, the average growth rate was in the range of 45-50 %. All these growth
stories have a positive impact on media education of the country. It is the duty of the media
institutions to create quality manpower so that the Indian media and entertainment industry can
grow and compete in the global market.
Rational of the study
Media education is now one of the important domains of Indian higher and technical
education. However, the media education system is still unorganized and lacking of several basic
elements like infrastructure, shortage of faculty and resources. The media education helps to
understand and knowing about media and at the same time, practices or application of the acquired
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knowledge. The education has to be practical and need based and cultural oriented. According to
Keval J. Kumar, ―media education could therefore be understood as a teaching method that uses
formal, non-formal, and informal approaches to impart a critical understanding of various media in
order to lead to greater responsibility, greater participation in the production of media as well as to a
greater interest in the sales and reception of media.‖ Therefore, it has become extremely important
to study and conduct research on media education which will be to applicable in the Indian system.
The rationale behind the study is to learn the lacunas that are hampering the growth and
development aspects of media education and look for viable steps that may help in rapid growth of
the Indian media industry.
Aim of the present study
This research is an attempt to study the problems faced by the media institutes and
communication and journalism departments in delivering culture oriented quality education as per
social needs and market demands.
Objectives
The central objectives of the study were to conduct an in-depth empirical evaluation of the
growth and development aspects of the audio-visual media education of the country. Other
objectives related to the central objectives were:
i) To access the level and content of syllabus of the media education department of leading Indian
universities and few prominent film and television institutes
ii) To assess the utilities of the present day media education in the era of robustly growing audio-
visual media industry of the country.
iii) To assess the nature and extent of audio-visual media education in promoting Indian films,
television, radio and other electronic media industry.
Selection of area for the study
For the purposes of the present study, the researcher selected the area of education on film,
television and radio. Selection of three areas for investigation was found to be appropriate on the
basis of certain criteria. First, the limited time in which the study has to be completed and second,
the access with the stakeholders of the three areas to the researcher.
Audio-Visual Media Education system
The audio-visual media education all the over the country has been conservative for many
years. Several Universities and Institutions offered various master degree and post graduate diploma
programmes without even the minimum infrastructure and teachers necessary to teach a
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professional course. There are only two film and television Institutes namely Film and Television
Institute of India, Pune and Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata under the Ministry
of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India and 4 (four) under different state governments in
Guwahati, Kolkata, Cuttak and Chennai. Most of the institutes are continuing the courses with the
help of guest faculty, some from the media and others from similar institutions. The issues facing
the audio-visual media education today in the country could be divided into three categories: 1.
Programme of study and syllabus 2 Academic infrastructuresand 3 Lack of required number of
experienced faculty members and technical staff. While these issues are widespread, rooted in the
system, others have arisen due to lack of vision while yet others persist due to lack of professional
attitudes towards teaching/running a professional institute.
Program of study and syllabus
Though the Indian film industry is 102 years old, but it has yet to take an appropriate shape
especially in film education context. The only two national institutes offer courses like 3-years post
graduate diploma in Cinematography, Sound Recording and Sound Design, Editing, Acting and
Direction and a few short term courses in Screenplay Writing, TV Direction, and Electronic
Cinematography among others. Surprisingly, the total numberof seats together of both the institutes
isonly 22 in each course of study including the reserved category per academic year. Therefore,
aspiring students have been deprived for years due to limitation of seat capacity. There are several
regional film industries in India like Bengali, Oriya, Tamil, Malayam, Marathi, Telegu, Assamese,
Manipuri, Bhojpuri and others. Further, there are 5 - 7 local TV channels in each state of the
country. These film industry and TV channels require several hundred technically qualified people
every year. However, most alumni of these institutes are not employable in the audio-visual
industry due to lack of required expertise as per industry demands. This is the major constraint of
Indian audio-visual media education in India. There is also a demand for new courses like
production management, film distribution and exhibition, animation, gaming and others. But most
of these institutes are happy with their age-old courses and syllabus and teaching methodology.
The syllabi of most of the institutes are out-dated and by and large theoretical. There is lack
of space to hone ones creativity and to express talent. The syllabi are like other humanities subjects
and given less time for hands-on practices and experiments. The syllabus needs to be updated
regularly with current issues and case studies around the world. Regular orientation courses and
specialized training in the media industry should be made compulsory for teachers.
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There are some prominent institutes which offer some courses in A/V sector. For
example,Andhra University, Anna University Audio Visual Research Centre (AVRC), Asian
Academy of Film and Television, Marwah Studios Complex, Film City, NOIDA, Department of
Communication Studies, University of Pune, Department of Mass Communication, Nagpur
University, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, MG Ramachandran Film and
Television Institute of Tamilnadu, Chennai, Indian Institute of Mass Communications, New Delhi,
Manipal Institute of Communication, Manipal, Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Milla
Islamia, New Delhi, MS University, Vadodara, Gujarat, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad,
National School of Drama, New Delhi, Osmania University, Hyderabad, Pondicherry University,
Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta, Regional Government Film and Television Institute,
Guwahati, St. Xavier Institute of Communication, Mumbai, Symbiosis Institute of Mass
Communication (SIMC), Pune, and University of Hyderabad.
Teaching Infrastructure
Great disparities are noticeable in the case of teaching/academic infrastructure among the
central government institutes and state government institutes. There are few private institutes which
possessegood infrastructure but the fee is too high and it becomes impossible for even middle class
Indians to afford such education. Most of the Journalism Departments have no basic film screening
facility except the computer. There are no cameras, film lights and even required number of books
in the library. No internet facility is available and no subscription of specialized journals on audio-
visual media can be seen. In such circumstances, discussions in the classroom on such practice
oriented subject make no sense or serve any purpose.
Another serious issue of A/V media education in India is missing of industry- institute
interaction. Institutes never studied the requirements of the industry and are unaware of the
changing trends of the media. At the same time, the audio-visual media industry has always
undermined the graduates having some kind of training or diplomas or degree. The industry always
prefers the candidates who have some kind of experience and want a readymade workforce. This
communication gap between the industry and the academic institutes has created a major hurdle for
the students who want to join the industry.
Faculty members and technical staff
A major drawback of the media nstitute and media department of the universities is the
absenceof required number of permanent faculty members and technical staff. Further, the faculty
may be academically qualified but to teach subjects like cinematography, sound engineering,
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editing, direction, electronic journalism and others they must have the professional experience in the
industry. University teachers and other media institutes‘ teachers should be permitted to work in the
industry without hampering theregular academic schedule. Teachers should be permitted to have
regular interaction with the industry. Teachers should be given autonomy to change the course
curriculum with permission from an expert committee.
The technical staff like art director, camera care taker, light boy, production assistant, trolley and
dolly operators, crane operator, electricians and studio assistants are very much essential for a
technical institute without which shooting cannot be done smoothly. Therefore, each institute
should have sufficient technical staff to assist students during production and post-production of
audio-visual programmes.
Perception of media education in India
The Indian media education is basically is to produce journalist for print media. The
convergence of media and technology is changing the very foundation of media operation and
media education. Earlier it was a common belief that journalism education is not necessary to be a
journalist and it is an inborn capacity of a person. People having any degree in literature, history,
political science or economics were qualified to join the profession. It is considered that it is
possible to gain knowledge of media by exposure to media. But the changing technology and
market competition have compelled the media houses to prefer persons having systematic media
education to maintain the standard of their product. At the same time, the media industry, either
print or audio-visual, is not organized like other sectors viz. manufacturing or banking. So the job
security is less in comparison to other sectors. Therefore, it is observed that Indian parents are not
inclined to send their children to the media schools/institutes. Hence, there isa scarcity of talent in
Indian media education. But gradually the situation has changed and media education is recognized
as a professional subject.
Suggestions
In the light of the above discussion, the following suggestions are made to overcome the
limitations of audio-visual media education in the country:
1. Availability of faculty: The media institute should recruit teachers who have sufficient
academic qualification and professional experience. There should be scope for teachers to
interact with the industry. Industry people should also be involved in conducting workshops
and classes in the institute.
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2. Courses of study and syllabus: Media institutes should introduce new courses as per the
market demand. The syllabus should be updated at regular intervals. The syllabus committee
should include persons from academia as well as from the media industry.
3. Infrastructure: The institutes must ensure minimum teaching infrastructure before
introduction any course. The teaching equipment should be updated as happens in the
market.
4. Basics of media course should be introduced at school level and specialized courses at
higher level.
5. There should be a regulatory body for media education for print and electronic media like
MCI for Medical Education, AICTE for Technical Education. Without accreditation, no institute
should be permitted to introduce any course on media subject.

REFERENCES
Banerjee, D. (2008). Legend of Culture form India‘s North East. Guwahati: Jyoti Prasad Agrawal,
Jeewan Ram Mungi Devi Goenka Public Charitable Trust.

Borpujari, M. & Kalita, G.(eds.).(2007). Perspective on Cinema of Assam. Guwahati: Gauhati Cine
Club.

Barua, J. (2006). 4th Jyoti Prasad Agarwala Memorial Lecture, 25th August2006, organized by
Gauhati Cine Club

Chitra, C. (2004). A film-journal published on the occasion of Festival of World Cinema, 2004,
Gauhati Cine Club,

Chitra Chita (2006). A film-journal published on the occasion of Festival of World Cinema, 2006,
Gauhati Cine Club.

Dhama,O.P& Bhatnagar, O.P. (1980). Education and Communication for Development. New Delhi:
Oxford/IBH.

Mukhopatra Adda (2009), a souvenir of 6th Adda Film Festival 2009 at Rabindra Bhawan,
Guwahati, Assam.

Mehra, M. (1985). Broadcasting and the people. (2nded.). New Delhi: National Book Trust.

Narayanan, Andal: The Impact of TV on Viewers, Bombay Somaiya,1987

Souvenir of Second Biennial Session, August 6, 2006 of North East Film and TV Producers‘ –
Directors‘ Association at Swahid Nyash Bhawan, Uzan Bazar, Guwahati
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Souvenir of Third Biennial Session, May29,2010 of North East Film and TV Producers‘ –
Directors‘ Association at Swahid Nyash Bhawan, Uzan Bazar, Guwahati

Thoraval, Y. (2000). The Cinemas of India (1896 – 2000). New Delhi: Macmillian India Ltd.
78 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

Of Media Education, Professionals and the Market in Assam:


Issues and Challenges

Piyashi Dutta Swikrita Dowerah


Doctoral Fellow Research Scholar
Department of Sociology Department of Sociology
Tezpur University, Assam
Abstract
Mass media in India and across the globe has been constantly evolving. With the increased
participation of market forces and instances of cross media ownership, the media industry has come
under greater public scrutiny than everbefore. Questions have been raised on the ethicality of
media coverage and crass violations of public and private spaces, even amounting to human rights
violations. In today‘s times, the media consumer is in awe of the overwhelming news stories with
which they are bombarded 24x7. The question that arises is-- how these reporters come with such
news items. Skepticism is being built about media ethics and the education of the media
professionals. In this larger debate on media ethics, what is the role of media educators? Media
education,as expected, aims to increase the students‘understanding how media works, how they
produce meanings and shape public opinion on issues of political, economic and social
significance. At the same time, they are also entrusted with the duty of producing ‗quality‘
journalists who abide by the cannons set by media watchdogs. However, with the increasing
pressure of market forces and the evil of cross-media ownership, ethicality has become a contested
term, altered, redefined and abused by the day. While on one hand, classroom ethics encourage the
journalists to tread the ‗ethical‘ path, the commercial nature of media organisations prevents the
exercise of the same. This gap between the academia and the market forces poses a big threat on
the nature of quality journalism and has redefined the idea and nature of journalism. There is a
tendency to homogenise news using the gate-keeping strategies for the sake of competition and
higher TRPs. In this light, the paper looks into the impact of a market driven economy on media
production and media professionals. The paper will also explore the feasibility of using media
education in real life news production and distribution and assess the growing disparity between
classroom teaching and field reality.

Keywords: Media, Ethics, Media Education, Violation, Assam, Market, Professionals, Northeast.
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….News is a perishable commodity; yesterday's events are washed over


by today's headlines, as the media pursue new news in the race to break a
fresh story. There is also more news because it is collected globally and
broadcast almost instantaneously (Newton, 1999:578).
Introduction
Fundamentally mass media are the apparatus and technology that assists in the transmission
of information and entertainment to a large number of consumers, ―they are the tools of large-scale
manufacture and distribution of information and related messages‖ (Kumar, 2009:41). Scholars
agree that in principal, mass media forms are the fallout of technological revolution, are driven by
technology and aid in the process of mediating the message. According to Wilbur Schramm, mass
media ―is essentially a working group organised round some device for circulating the same
message, at about the same time, to large numbers of people‖ (cited in Kumar, 2009: 41). Herein, it
is important to note that the term ‗mass‘ itself comes under scrutiny for it implies that the audience
do not engage in the media experience as an individual or group who are a part of distinct culture,
but are considered to be a part of mass culture. ―The term ‗mass‘ also suggests that people‘s
interaction with the media is homogenous,inactive and unquestioning‖ (Kumar, 2009:42) whereby
communication is interpolated and mediated. It is worthwhile to remember that mass media was
founded on the lines of mass production and distribution, a typifying characteristic of the industrial
society.
From the time of its commencement, efforts have been made to codify the working of the
mass media. Many theories have developed subsequently, each having a certain economic and
political milieu, defining the relationship of the media to its audience with focus on ownership and
control. Two theories that are particularly relevant in the present times in the context of India are 1)
development communication theory and 2) democratisation theory. In essence, development
communication theory talks about the duty of the journalists to support the initiatives of the
government in eradicating illiteracy, unemployment, promoting family planning and the like. But
the irony lies in the fact that, the prime premise on which this theory is based is often paralleled
with government propaganda. On the other hand, democratisation theory quintessentially harbours
the ideas of local and community participation in media production, the right to communicate where
the people speak for themselves and not the media producers. The top-down, non-participative
methods of information dissemination is rejected. Media is the fourth pillar of democracy where it
serves the interest of the people and not of the government, hence, commercial or political
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ownership / control of the media is strongly opposed. The ‗demassification‘ of the media according
to this theory is of significance, for the final goal is to place the media in the hands of the people
―for their own ‗liberation‘ through a process of ‗conscientization‘‖ (Kumar, 2009:51). Over the
years, many scholars have argued that these are merely hypotheses and not theory, which in today‘s
time seems to hold true. Nonetheless, these theories have been in existence and are of significance
in understanding the current media scenario.
The mediascape across the globe has been undergoing tumultuous change - driven by the
economy, ownership pattern and competitive market. The ideas propagated by the aforementioned
theories evidently are redundant, as the media organisations work based on their own ethos and
create media professionals that work like gizmos trying their best to meet the demands of the
employers. Sadly, like all other organisations, the media has become bureaucratic in operation and
media conglomerates have dominated the media market. Deliberation on media economics could
never be more pertinent than in the contemporary times, for other than financial pressures and
capriciousness met by organisations universally; media organisations have been facing the burden
put by technological boom and structural alteration as they strive to remain worthwhile in a rapidly
fluctuating business and social milieu.
AOL and Time Warner planned a merger in the year 2000. It was a move to meet the
challenge posed by technological modifications and financial demands of investors. It turned out to
be a failure and has become a classic example to assess the challenges media firm‘s face in general
(Owers, Carveth & Alexander, 2004:3).
This shows that the ideal propositions put forward in the communication theories are far
from being implemented and media organisations and professionals get caught up in market and
money game in contemporary times. As ―A. J. Leibling once said, ―Freedom of the press belongs to
whomever owns one.‖ Although this may be a cynical quote, ownership of a mass-media vehicle
requires substantial capital investment, linking economic means to the information in the media
environment (cited in Owers, Carveth & Alexander, 2004:4). Economics unmistakably rules the
roost in modern-day media operations, ―media economics is concerned with how the media
industries allocate resources to create information and entertainment content to meet the needs of
audiences, advertisers, and other societal institutions‖ (Owers, Carveth & Alexander, 2004:5).
Needs of the audience takes a back seat while all economic and organisational aspects come to the
fore, wherein the bigger players incorporate the production and distribution assets to dominate the
overall industry. Such operation mechanism has been displayed by media giants like News Corp
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owned by Rupert Murdock, Disney and Viacom/CBS. Also, there are several other players who
directly do not own media organisations but have huge interest in the media business.
For e.g. the deal between Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Network18 Group in 2012 of a
whopping Rs 1,700 crore, hinted at the fact that the proprietorship of Network18, with a horde of
news and entertainment TV properties like as CNN-IBN, CNBC 18 and CNBC Awaaz, had altered,
and shifted into the hands of India‘s biggest private sector business group. Though the owner of
Network18 Group declared that the ownership did not change but the business tactics used to make
the deal is still under scrutiny.
The media industry has witnessed an unparalleled level of operational change in the past
decade, owing to financial dealings, chiefly mergers and procurements; there has been a rise in the
concentration of proprietorship, cross media ownership, bigger conglomeration of the industry,
multinational media ownership and the globalisation of media content. It is pragmatic to reinstate
that founded on the lines of industrial society even to this day, media characteristically operates like
other industries; these modes of functioning are not unique to the media houses.
This paper is an attempt to critically analyse the structures that influence the news
production system of media houses in Assam and how media education can play an important role
in ensuring quality journalism. The paper is analytical and interpretative in approach and is based
on both primary and secondary data. For primary data, an unstructured interview was conducted
among 30 media graduates and working professionals, where questions were asked on their
experience in the media house, who controls the decision making process and the difference they
experience between the taught and the practiced. Based on the data, in-depth analysis and
interpretations have been made to understand the link between ethics and education. Secondary data
for the same has been taken from various newspaper articles, books, journals and research
documents to support the analysis of the nexus between corporate and political forces and media
houses in the State.
Mediascape of Assam:
Print dominated the Assamese media scene until 2004 when Positive Television Private
Limited based in Guwahati started the first satellite channel from the Northeast called NETV. Till
then, DD Northeast was the sole television broadcaster of news from the region. With privatization
of television and advent of satellite channels in India, the need was felt to start a television network
which could cater solely to the needs of the people of the Northeast. Being the first indigenous
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television network spanning the entire northeast, NETV became an instant success and
revolutionized the media experience of the people of this region.
The success of NETV inspired others to launch their own TV networks. In January 2008,
News Live owned by Congressman Himanta Biswa Sarma‘s wife Riniki Bhuyan, entered the
television space followed by DY365, which was owned by steel businessman Sanjeev Jaiswal in
October the same year. The entry of these two television channels started a war for space and time
between the channels where TRP became a deciding factor for news content. The monopoly
enjoyed by NETV since 2004 was broken and in its place started cut throat competition for
advertising revenue. The television channels began competing not just with one another but also
with the established print sector in the State.
The success of the two satellite channels, News Live and DY365 was also triggered by
certain incidents like the famous Assam bombings of October 30, 2008. The gruesome bombing
gave instant feed to the two new channels and both interrupted their regular programs to broadcast
live footage of the serial bomb blasts. This extensive coverage of the bomb blasts followed by
media‘s active participation in the Assembly elections in 2010 demonstrated its irrepressible role in
moulding public opinion in the State.
The electronic media thus broke the hegemony of the print media and emerged as a force to
reckon with in the state. In 2010, another television channel was launched by the Rose Valley
Group called News Times Axom (2010), followed by Prime News owned by the Jiban Surakhya
Group in May 2011. During this period, Assam also saw many new takeovers and breakups in
media houses. News Time Axom became Pratidin Times after the Axomiya Pratidin group took
over the business in 2015. NETV also became Focus NE after it changed ownership to the Jindal
group, and a new television channel called Frontier TV was launched by Manoranjana Singh.
After a brief stint of success, Frontier TV, Prime News and Focus NE closed down in 2014
and 2015 respectively and in their place was launched Prag News, which was thus far only a local
cable channel in Guwahati. Along with electronic media, Assam also saw a surge of new
newspapers during this period. Sakal Bela and Seven Sisters Post which came as an alternative to
the national newspapers enjoyed only a brief stint of success. They were closed down following the
collapse of Kolkata based Saradha Group of Companies. Dainik Pratibimba, an Assamese daily
owned by RB publications closed down in 2014. Other Assamese newspapers like Ajir Axom, Ajir
Dainik Batori and Dainik Janakantha were also closed down in recent times. The takeovers and
closures and the entry of new players, especially in the electronic media sector provided a new
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stimulus to the media industry in the state, with Assam being the only state in the northeast to have
satellite channels of its own. These channels not just began to shape the day-to-day lives of the
people of the state with up-to-date information but also became a major force in shaping public
opinion in various issues concerning the state. Today, Assam boasts of five satellite channels: DY
365, Newslive, Prag News, Assam Talks, Pratidin Times and about 45 newspapers in various
languages.
Questioning Ethics
Because the market is peculiarly interconnected with media operation, questions have been
raised about how ethically the media operates, do the media professionals understand the true spirit
and nitty-gritty of media‘s role in the society. Has it turned into the loud speaker for the government
and fallen a prey in the mad run to procure highest TRPs (television rating points), readership and
the like. One hehas to helplessly agree to Edward Eggleston, American historian and novelist who
said ―journalism is organized gossip‖. It is alleged that journalists are indulging the audiences,
narrating them the stories they like to hear about superstars, scandals and otheers. The media has
failed to act as the watch dog of democracy and provide its audience with thought-provoking news
and views.
Thereby, it is imperative to reflect on the following issues that pose a threat to media ethics:
 First, the media house owners are not trained to be media experts; they understand business
and the market only.
 Secondly, the older and more established media professionals were self-taught. They
enlarged their expertise on the job, since media education only took a head start around mid-
1900s.
 Thirdly, the immense gap between the academic study of the media and the specialised skills
necessary for job ready media professionals is becoming evident by the day.
 Fourth, those who have formally received media education, do they have a favorable
environment to work and are they led by the right boss?
 Another issue of concern is that the academic procedures of journalism and media studies
have conventionally been a derivative from number of other disciplines. The issue of ethics
in journalism does not surface from the journalists‘ inability to judge between the right and
wrong, ―being ethical requires the facility to argue articulately and deliberate thoughtfully
about moral dilemmas, which in the end means being able to justify, publicly and
compellingly, their resolution‖ (Glasser and Ettema, 2008:512).
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Herein, it is interesting to assess the broadcast scenario in Assam with focus on television
news channels. Post the boom in the development of satellite news channels in the state, repetitive
cases of violation of ethics have become evident.
Case 1
During the Guwahati bomb blast on October 30, 2008, a leading TV channel from Guwahati
aired the unedited photographs of the blast scene for more than an hour. Soon other channels
followed suit and there was continuous coverage from explosion sites in Guwahati, Kokrajhar,
Bongaigaon and Barpeta. The penchant for broadcasting ‗breaking‘ stories did not deter the
channels from showing gory content related to the plight of the victims. The impact of the violence
was doubled by the electronic media coverage. Thereafter, many reports stated that those who
watched the news continuously showed signs of depression and suffered from a traumatic
experience.
Case 2
In November 2010, both the television and print media bombarded their audience with nude
images of Lakshmi Orang, the Adivasi girl who was stripped naked by an unruly mob during a
protest march. The media went on a rampage of ethical violation by revealing the girl‘s identity and
full face.
Case 3
Yet again the television channels of Assam was caught on the wrong foot when a television
reporter was arrested for instigating a mob to continue molesting a girl outside a pub so that he
could shoot the video of the incident, on the night of July 9, 2012. The television channel
sensationalised this incident with their trademark ‗exclusive‘ ticker along with dramatic music
playing in the background. The camera was zoomed again and again to give a close-up of the girl‘s
face. The reporter lured by an opportunity to cover exclusive news forgot his basic duties as a
citizen of a country. It is a classic example where media personnel sometimes get overwhelmed by
TRPs so much so that they bypass the minimum ethical standards that their profession demands.
Post this incident, the channel came under huge criticism. Media critic and editor of an online media
house, Sevanti Ninan questioned the editorial board of the channel for allowing the footage on air,
but there seems to very little that has changed even in the present times (The Deccan Herald, July
15, 2012).
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Case 4
The recent furores in the social media over Pratidin Times‘ story on women‘s attire speak
volumes about the news channel‘s lack of judgement in story selection. The story, which equated
women wearing short dresses with monkeys, was not only misogynistic in nature but also ethically
wrong as it showed zoomed in shots of the legs and posteriors of young girls without their prior
permission. The editorial board‘s permission to air the dramatic story and the journalist‘s choice of
words for describing the girls, reveal the media‘s lack of news sense. Hemen Rajbongshi shooting
women without consent and then branding their attire as ‗improper‖ is just the latest in a long line
of sexist programming on Assamese TV.
Another problematic area in the state of media affairs in Assam is the rise of low quality
journalism. Incidents like the GS road molestation and the recent Pratidin Times controversy over
women‘s attire show the deterioration of journalistic standards. Not only are reporters ill equipped
with proper journalistic guidelines, many even lack serious understanding of what is deemed fit to
qualify as news matter. As senior journalist, Manjit Mahanta says ―news media specifically,
electronic media is largely motivated, biased and mostly out of focus. Newspapers too give such
news and they have limitations, but channels have more limitations. They have to compromise
more, their business is larger, lot of money is involved and so called Television Rating Point (TRP)
game makes them to show many non-news as news, and real news they ignore.‖
The growth of media houses in Assam was definitely an impetus to the employment sector
as it opened up new job avenues for many. A few print media personnel with some knowledge of
mass media joined the newly established media houses to take the baton. The problem was that
majority of the new reporters and newsmen were unskilled and novice in the art of reporting and
media production. Lacking a journalistic background, anyone with a good set of Assamese speaking
skills and the knack of digging news could qualify as journalists in these media houses. What
resulted is a category of poor quality journalism that set the benchmark for many others to follow.
As Samudra Gupta Kashyap of the Indian Express highlights, one of the drawbacks of journalism in
Assam is ―they are not trained and not innovative; do not have any research back up. They don‘t
know what content analysis means and do not have expertise. When they see that these people are
talking about a scandal, they search for another scandal. If one (channel) has started an evening
song programme, the other also starts.‖ - (cited in Das, 2015: 91). Encouraged by profits and TRP
ratings, what was seen was thus a homogenization of programme content: one television aping the
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other in terms of reporting and coverage, in what Adorno and Horkheimer calls the ‗culture
industry‘-doling out similar content in a capitalist economy.
In relation to the issue of homogenization of media content, a look at the content of two
leading news channels of Assam—News Live and DY365 demonstrates how identical content is
broadcast by both channels with the only difference being in the name of the shows. If one has a
talk show called ‗Mat-Bhinnamat, the other comes up with ‗Prekhyapot‘, one channel‘s Talk Time
is met with ‗Prasongokrome‘, Reality show ‗Bihu Rani‘ has ‗Bihu Kunwari‘ to contend with, ‗DY
Medley‘ has a counterpart in ‗Jhankar‘, ‗Raijor Kathgora‘ is met with ‗Ji Kom Socha Kom‘. The
schedule of programming hints that in a bid to outdo each other, they end up being imitators of
others (Das, 2015: 96).
The next issue that comes to the fore is that of ownership and objectivity. According to
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting report, 2010, it has been observed that political parties
own majority of news channels broadcasting in the four primary southern Indian languages of
Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, which constitute over a third (approximately 36 percent) of
the total number of television channels that have been officially registered in the country between
2000 and June 2010 (Das, 2015:102). If one carefully observes the ownership structures of the
media houses in Assam, it can be observed that most of these media houses are controlled and run
by politicians or businessmen having diverse interest as varied as steel to cement to perfume.
 News Live one of the leading television news channels in Northeast is owned by former
congressman and minister Himanta Biswa Sarma‘s wife Riniki Bhuyan, while Matang Singh
who owned Positive Television Private Limited, was also a former Congress
parliamentarian. Newly launched satellite channel Assam Talks is said to have the backing
of Congress minister Rockybul Hussain.
 Apart from electronic media, political parties have also entered the print space in Assam,
especially the vernacular space. Anjan Dutta, a former minister of the Congress runs Ajir
Dainik Batori, and Bijoy Krishna Nath, a former member of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)
owns the largest circulated Bengali daily Dainik Jugasankha and the English daily Eastern
Chronicle (Das, 2015).
The political colours and biasness come to the fore in terms of media coverage of any issue
related to conflict. Noted journalist Monideepa Choudhury writes in The Hoot that while DY365
plays an activist role in uncovering mishaps and criticizing the government‘s inactions and failures,
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NewsLive plays a more conservative role, often shielding the government by toning down on
footages.
 One example of this stark difference in reporting came to the fore during the October 4, 2009
Bhimajuli massacre by the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). Both the channels
did extensive coverage of the violence, with live coverage of every aspect of the incident to
personal accounts of the tragedy to follow ups and commentaries. But the difference was quite
visible when NewsLive took a more restrained stand in its coverage of the mob violence and
DY365 continuously aired footage of the manifestations of public anger against the government
(The hoot.org, 2009). Similar slant was also seen during the BTAD riots in 2012 when News
Live took a more shielding approach towards the state government as against other channels.
The politicians in Assam have realized the potential of mass media in furthering their
political ambitions through social and political mobilization. At the same time, the nexus between
businessman and political parties cannot be ignored. Both live in mutual support of the other. As
such, whoever be the owner of the media house, media is used as a tool for businessman and
politicians alike, in furthering their agendas, favouring some party at the cost of some other. In
doing so, media somehow loses its objectivity. Tied to both sides by political affiliations and
business interests, questions now arise as to how unbiased the media can remain today? With media
providing lip service of political leaders, the leaders have become indifferent to criticism. The
editorial board of any newspapers or electronic media has also lost the liberty to work and function
independent of interference of the proprietors or market forces. The very foundation on which
media came into being, the ideals of truth, objectivity, honesty and accuracy are lost in the process.
Public service has now become only a façade for private service. Also, it cannot be denied that
corporates have a big stake in media. Hence, media ownership and commercial interests are seen to
work together, often overshadowing the social needs. This raises critical questions on the accuracy
of facts that media house bring forth to the public daily.
Many media personnel do not know what to news to take and what to reject. Dramatic
reading of the story by the news anchors, sensationalizing news stories as ‗exclusive‘ and stage by
stage breakup of stories as banal and simple as love affairs into something dramatic is a common
affair in the electronic media of Assam today. The television cameras are quick to pick up stories
like mob assault on women and captured thieves, couples found getting cosy in parks and cars
among others. Sometimes the reporters are even at a loss as to what to report. Many reporters are
seen to unnecessarily stretch a story by parroting the same lines again and again and asking
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irrelevant questions at irrelevant times. For instance, in the Sarita Tashniwal murder case, a reporter
of a leading television channel from Guwahati was seen asking the sister of the deceased to express
how she felt as the body of her sister lay before her. Such callous questions by media professionals
in times of crisis and grief once again rakes up question on the skills and training of these
professionals. Often media forget the sensitivity of the situation and barged in with their over
ambitious TRP raising questions and bring unwanted focus and embarrassment to the families of
victims. Such instances of callous reporting raise doubts on the credibility of media professionals
and their training. One reason for such blatant disregard for ethics could be the absence of proper
media training prior to joining as reporters and editors. This also brings us to the question of media
education and what role it could play in enhancing the quality of journalism in the state.
Media Education
Because the capability of the media professionals is being questioned based on ethicality and
quality of media production, attention has to be shifted to media education. The new age media
professionals need a degree in media at the entry level and owing to this, many institutes are
offering courses in media studies or Mass Communication. At the core, such courses should be able
to impart an understanding of ―how the media work, how they produce meaning, how they are
organised, and how they go about the business of constructing reality‖ (Masterman, 1983:44).
Although a large number of media institutes have mushroomed in the state (approximately 16) to
cater to the growing demand of trained professionals, there has been very little improvement in the
quality of news stories. Two reasons can be attributed to this situation:
1) Owing to the sorry state of salary in media houses as well as the poor working conditions, many
media graduates in the state look for alternative professions to pursue.
2) There is a widening gap between what is taught in the media schools and what is expected from
the professionals in the field. Under such conditions, does media education need a redesigning?
The respondents, which comprised of reporters and subeditors with work experience in
various media houses in the state, opined that they felt restrained when it came to featuring news
stories or features which directly or indirectly went against the interest of the organisation, be that
political news or business related. Even when reporters send in stories, the editorial board either
tones it down or exaggerates it. Sometimes, the editor even cancels the news item with a small
photo story. Therefore, the gate keeping mechanism of media houses, filter the stories in accordance
with their requirements and interests. As such, many stories which might be of interest to public are
left out.
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Also some of the respondents while mentioning their experiences in media houses stated that
there were instances when senior editors give permission to reveal the name and pictures of victims,
even children who are victims of sexual assault. This, they say, is quite contrary to what has been
taught in the media schools. However, one is helpless in such situations as they cannot speak
against their senior‘s better judgment.
When asked about the ethical violations that are commonly seen in media today and the
reasons for the deteriorating quality of news features, some respondents cited that there is increasing
pressure on the reporters to submit three stories per day along with one exclusive. In the mad hunt
for stories, often the reporter has to take whatever he or she gets and creates a story out of it. ―In
that rush hour, ethics is definitely not something you have in your mind. You need to file your daily
quota of stories else be answerable to the boss and get a salary cut. So ethics is all good in the
books. In the field, you just need a presentable story. And let the editor decide what to air and what
not to.‖
When asked whether they find any conflict between what has been taught in classrooms and
in their day-to-day professional engagements, most of the respondents answered in the positive.
Some of them said that what they learnt in graduation and post-graduation has been definitely
helpful in guiding them in their journalistic practice. ―We try to follow the rules and grammars of
writing and reporting and the news values that were taught to us.‖ However, they also reported that
what academics teach is more idealistic, something which is not always possible to follow in reality.
―We need to adapt to the requirements of the story and situation. So, one has to be practical in
digging for stories and reporting them.‖
It has to be made clear that the media is an integral part of the society; they are persuasive in
nature and hence influence people‘s perceptions in many ways. The media needs critiquing from
within in the present times and it becomes the prerogative of the media educators to do so.
―Traditional subject specialists who teach media need to gets outside their own discipline, to jettison
their habitual ways of thinking and seeing, and to regard the media as areas worthy of investigation
in their own right rather than as adjuncts of their own subject‖ (Masterman,1983:45). Media
essentially must base itself on the central premise that- media is engaged in the creation of reality
and not 'merely in nonpartisan transmission of it, which implies that they are liable for creating
‗representations‘ of various philosophies and that media products are ‗constructs‘. In this context
particularly, ―Murdock and Golding (1977) have argued that media education must begin from a
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concrete analysis of economic relations and the ways in which they structure cultural processes and
products‖ (cited in Masterman, 1983:46).
In a technology driven information society, people are drowned in media. But rarely do
people reflect on the role the media plays. Thus, media studies ought to take up the analysis of the
media effects on the life world. The practical skills are easily imparted to the students since a
structured curriculum is available and one can uncritically follow it. The need of the hour is to
develop the critical mind of the future media professionals, mass media ought to evolve as a critical
domain at the academic level. This is necessary as the impact of the media is such that it cannot
isolate itself from the social and political processes.
Media education as an academic subject is being offered by many institutes both public and
private but the question is who monitors what is taught and how the students are being nurtured.
Market here also plays a vital role as there is a trend whereby media giants themselves open media
institutes. For example- Asian College of Journalism operated by the owners of The Hindu, Express
Institute of Media Studies started by The Express Group and the like. These institutes educate the
students along the lines of their media houses and they develop a mindset that suits their
requirement. Other institutes have some other approach in educating the media students. The
dichotomy lies in the fact that media studies being a professional course can be modulated and
taught in a manner that the institute thinks is befitting to equip the students with the skills required
in the industry. The focus on nurturing a critical mind evidently is absent. Ethics is a vast concept
for novices to grasp early on, but what is also missing is the process of judging between the right
and the wrong. Media students need new outlooks on the evolution of Indian television from a state
controlled to a market-driven system alongside developing an understanding of the impact of
liberalization on Indian media in particular. Focus has to be given on engaging the students with
several theoretical viewpoints encompassing politics, economy cultural studies, media theory and
popular culture. This does not imply mere reading but critical assessment is the need such that
media hegemony can be understood and critiqued. Academically, media studies have visibly failed
in this domain. Since, media studies emerged out of other social science disciplines; it is time that it
adopts the critical approaches that guide the learning process in subjects like economics, sociology,
political science, etc. That media study and media as a profession is characterised by
‗transdisciplinarity‘ and complexity has to be reckoned with.
This view is echoed not only by the media critiques but also by media students and working
professionals, who have had their share of experiences in the media world. Media does not operate
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in isolation, it operates within a social set-up and cannot turn its back on those for whom it actually
exists.
Media „Professionals‟ A Contested Term
In the past, the mass media was looked only as a means of communication but it is
remarkable that researchers have started to examine media from varied angles. ―Theodor Adorno
and Max Horkheimer, for example, coined the phrase ‗the culture industry‘ in referring to the
collective operations of the media (Horkheimer & Adorno, 1972) whereas, more recently, Louis
Althusser has grouped the media with the family, the church and the education system under the
heading of ‗ideological state apparatuses‘ (Althusser, 1971)‖ (cited in Bennett, 2005: 27). This goes
on to reinstate the fact that media is a part of the society and media professionals ought to act
responsibly.
A debate that has emerged in the recent times is that whether persons engaged in the media
industry should be called ‗professionals.‘ ―Early studies of professionalism in the media raised the
question whether those employed in the media deserved the accolade of being described as a
profession‖ (Curran, Gurevitch and Woollacott, 2005:14). The question arose from the assessment
of media occupation to understand if the job embraced the characteristics of professionalism, which
well-defined standard professions, of teaching, medicine and law exhibits. ―One of the attributes of
professionalism has been the development of professional ethos or ideology which defined the
beliefs and values of the profession, laid down guidelines for accepted and proper professional
behaviour and served to legitimate the profession‘s sources of control and its insistence on the right
to regulate and control itself and its members‖( Curran, Gurevitch and Woollacott, 2005:14). It is
seen that the notion of professionalism in media, more specifically in journalism is derived from the
tenets of freedom of speech and expression, the right to information and democratic system.
Additionally, media ideology talks about allegiance to principles such as impartiality, neutrality,
and fair-mindedness. But the irony being, academic discussions and research on ideologies of media
professionals disclose a completely contrasting picture. The principles are in pace and they are also
orated to the students during the training period, but how effective it is the debate. The fundamental
idea of responsibility, accountability has to be instilled through critical academic discourse and the
authentic industry scenario has to be put forward for the budding media workforce. Because the
actual on-job situation is very much different than what a student can perceive in a classroom, the
real dilemma begins.
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In an era when every person can report the events they see, the challenge is tougher for the
working media professionals to ascertain their trustworthiness. Given the fact that the market
dominates the functioning of the media houses, the task of the employees becomes even more
difficult. Yet another factor that potentially deters media staff from thinking critically is low wages
more so at the entry level and to sustain their jobs, they comply with the profit making demands of
the organisation; the professional conduct being guided by such factors. This paints a sorry picture
of the media industry. Thus, many concede to the fact that there are boundaries on the independence
of media professionals, that the predominant socio-political unanimity outlines the frontiers and
restrains the cosmos in which media professionals can be independent. What the media persons fail
to understand in contemporary times is the idea that their obligation to the tenets of impartiality and
fairness, also shields them from denunciation of their work as professionals. Such commitment also
provides a foundation for building the profession‘s self-esteem, and assertion for reverence from the
public.
Conclusion
Over the years, mass media theorists and researches have primarily focused on the
technological aspect of the varied media forms, discernably ignoring the idea that mass media are
located within the society, it is intricately connected to social interaction and social order. Neither
mass media nor the media personnel‘s are dissipated; it is the socio-political context in which they
operate that decides their providence. The forces that transcend mass media operations are the prime
cause of concern. Typically, they haven‘t given media the space, to walk away from the lines of
operation of any other industry. Mass media was established on the foundations of mass production
and distribution, a characteristic feature of the industrial society. In this kind of a market driven,
competitive media operations, media persons too find it difficult to live up to the expectations of
their chiefs, who particularly in Assam are media illiterate. The new entrants who hold a media
degree have little option left but to follow the established best practices of the organisation, even
though it may be faulty. Then it becomes imperative to reflect back on the basic questions about the
connection between power and agency, propaganda and media being the bullhorn. The general
public and media critiques look at mass media as distrustfully. Some also argue that the modem
mass media have a destructive influence on the democracy structure, inclined to prompt political
indifference, estrangement, cynicism and a damage of social capital, 'media malaise‘ being the term.
Media in Assam has also fallen prey to the market and ownership battle. Market competition
necessitates a media house to reach out to a larger audience and circulation numbers compel the
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media to camp on theatrical news production, particularly related to crime and conflict, sex and
scandal, disasters and corruption, anything that can be sensational. Thus, questions have been raised
on the professionalism of the media persons, their sense of ethics and accountability, which is but a
natural fallout. It also implies that media education has some loopholes that are favouring the
activities of the media house owners and the market. Media education needs an overhaul in the
present times. Also, a question arises is media education only for aspiring media professionals or is
it about time that the audience is media literate as well.

REFERENCES
Understanding Media Ownership in India – Part 1. (2013). The Indian Medialogue.
http://indianmedialogue.com/2013/06/03/understanding-media-ownership-in-india-part-1/,
Retrieved on March9, 2015.
Bennett, T. (2005). Theories of the media, theories of society. In Gurevitch, M., Bennett, T.,
Curran, J. & Woollacott, J. Culture, society and the media (pp. 26-51). London And New
York: Routledge.
Das, J. V. (2015). Local press in the making: A study on the emergent media of
Assam.http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/10603/48269>, Retrieved onSeptember18,
2015.
Ettema, T. L. (2008). Ethics and eloquence in journalism: An approach to press accountability.
Journalism Studies, 512-534.
Curran, J. & Gurevitch, M. (2005). The study of the media: theoretical approaches. In Gurevitch,
M., Bennett,T., Curran, J. & Woollacott, J. Culture, society and the media (pp. 1-25).
London and New York: Routledge.
Owers, J. & Carveth, R. (2004). An introduction to media economics theory. In Alexander, A.,
Owers,J., Carveth, R., Hollifield, C. A. & Greco, A. N. Media Economics Theory and
Practice (pp. 3-48). London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates .
Kumar, K. J. (2009). Mass Communicatin In India. Jaico Publishing House.
Masterman, L. (1983). Media education in the 1980s. The Journal of the University Film and Video
Association, 35(3), 44-58.
McQuail, D. (2005). Mass Communication Theory. New Delhi: Vistaar Publications.
Newton, K. (1999). Mass media effects: Mobilization or media malaise? British Journal of Political
Science, 29(4), 577-599.
Question raised over media‘s role. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/264498/questions-raised-
over-medias-role.html, Retrieved on September 18,2015.
Media watch and media practice Assam TV channels live off conflict.
http://www.thehoot.org/media-watch/media-practice/assam-tv-channels-live-off-conflict-
4156, Retrieved on September18, 2015.
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From Media to New Media Literacy: The Need of the Hour

Premshila Singh Sayanika Dutta


Research Scholar Guwahati Journalism,Cotton College,
Dr Bhupen Hazarika Centre Guwahati
Tata Institute of Social Sciences for Mass Communication

Abstract
We live in a media saturated environment; media seems to have an all encompassing
presence in our daily lives. The media scenario is becoming complex more so with the advent of
new media enabled by information and communication technologies (ICT). Media literacy broadly
refers to the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media. Interactivity stands at the core of
new media as unlike other existing media the new media has no gatekeepers, demassification refers
to the control of the individual over the medium while asynchroneity means that the messages can
be staggered at times, so the senders and receivers can send, receive, save or retrieve messages at
any time they want.
Internet penetration in India remains a concern. However going by the recent figures the
country has 350 million internet users as on June 2015, which is likely to reach 500 million by 2017
(IAMAI-KPMG Report 2015). Internet reach in northeastern part of India is way below the country
average. However, the smartphones are gradually paving the way as more and more people are
accessing internet through their mobile device. Given the increasing penetration, internet usage
and the ever increasing use of new media platforms by the media industry and common people, it
becomes pertinent to gauge what is the way forward in terms of media literacy in the region with
special emphasis on new media literacy. This paper is also an attempt to understand the necessity of
new media literacy in the region. By way of interaction, an attempt has been made to understand
how graduate and post-graduate students make use of new media platforms and whether they
possess adequate new media literacy skills. The researchers have not come across any study related
to new media literacy in the region and, therefore, the study is likely to give an insight into the
issue.
Keywords: Media Literacy, New Media Literacy, New Media Literacy Skills
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Introduction
The all-encompassing presence of media and media technologies in our lives cannot be
denied. We currently inhabit a media-saturated environment. Adding to the already existing
complex media environment is the new media that has witnessed a sudden boom due to advances in
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Before the arrival of the print medium, the
world was comprised of oral communities. However, with the advent of print and later radio, TV
and now internet and mobile media, our perception of the world is mostly based on what we see and
read on various media. In view of the growing influence of media, the concept of media literacy has
gradually gained prominence. Marshall McLuhan‘s remark that ‗the medium is the message‘ further
reiterates the fact that media literacy is vital in today‘s information society.
As documented by researchers, literacy has evolved historically from classic literacy to
audiovisual literacy to digital literacy or information literacy and recently to new media literacy
(Jing Wu & Wang, 2011). The concept of media literacy has a long past and has been there since
the early days of print literacy (Livingstone, 2005). Media literacy broadly refers to the ability to
access, analyze, evaluate and create media / content. These four components together compose a
skills-based approach to media literacy. Each of the components is interrelated and offers support to
other components in a non-linear process (Livingstone, 2005).
While print media, radio and TV revolutionised the communication scenario, the new media
enabled by ICT has three characteristics which is based on the notion of active users; interactivity,
demassification and asynchroneity (Ruggeiro, 2000). Interactivity stands at the core of new media
as unlike other existing media the new media has no gatekeepers, demassification refers to the
control of the individual over the medium while asynchroneity means that the messages can be
staggered at times, so the senders and receivers can send, receive, save or retrieve messages at any
time they want. In view of these attributes the concept of new media literacy is gradually evolving.
It relates to the ability to use computers, social media, and the Internet (Hobbs, 2010). However, the
emphasis in new media literacy is not just on how people respond to media messages, but also on
how they engage proactively in a media world where production, participation, social group
formation, and high levels of nonprofessional expertise are prevalent (Gee, 2010).
The New Media Consortium defines the twenty-first century literacy as ―the set of abilities
and skills where aural, visual, and digital literacy overlap. These include the ability to understand
the power of images and sounds, to recognize and use that power, to manipulate and transform
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digital media, to distribute them pervasively, and to easily adapt them to new forms.‖ New media
literacies include the traditional literacy that evolved with print culture as well as the newer forms
of literacy within mass media and digital media (Jenkins et al. 2009).
Jenkins et al. (2009) further state that new media literacy should not just be seen as
individualized skills to be used for personal expression but as social skills and as ways of
interacting within a larger community.
Jing Wu & Wang (2011) identified four types of new media literacy: (1) A Functional
Media Consumer who is capable of accessing media content and understands what is being
conveyed, (2) A Critical Media Consumer who studies the social, economic, political and cultural
contexts of the media content and has a good understanding of construction of media message,
embedded values and ideologies and the purpose it aims to serve, (3) A Functional Prosumer who
knows how to participate and in new media platforms and create new media content and (4) A
Critical Prosumer who understands his/her position and identity in media construction, media
publication and media participation and utilizes the media message in a productive way.
‗Consumer‘ is one who posses critical skills of analysis and critique and ‗prosumer‘ based on
‗prosuming‘, a notion developed by Alvin Toffler, is a both a producer and consumer of media
messages.
A media literate person in contemporary time should be a functional consumer and prosumer
as well as a critical consumer and prosumer and that new media literacy is a convergence of all
these essential components (Jing Wu & Wang, 2011).
Need for New Media Literacy
A section of defenders of the new digital culture believe that children and youths are more
into new media environments and hence they acquire new media skills by themselves without the
need of adult intervention. However, this belief has three vital flaws: participation gap, transparency
problem and ethical challenge. The participation gap refers to the access to new media technologies
by young people and the opportunities for participation (Jenkins et al. 2009).
In India, Internet penetration remains a concern. As per recent figures, the country has 350
million internet users as on June 2015, which is likely to reach 500 million by 2017. Further, 40
million Indians go online every day and spend over 40 to 45 hours over the Internet in a month
(IAMAI-KPMG Report, 2015). Internet reach in northeastern part of India is way below the country
average. However, smartphones are gradually paving the way as more and more people are
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accessing internet through their mobile device. Increased access to new media and overall media
exposure is expected to lead to higher levels of new media skills (Literat, 2014).
Jenkins et al. (2009) refer to transparency problem as to whether children and young people
are actively reflecting on their media experiences and articulating from what they learn from their
participation. Lastly, the ethical dimension assumes importance as it is essential to cope with
complex and diverse online environment. Considering these three problems and the existing
complex digital environment, new media literacy assumes importance. Media literacy holds new
importance in a new, complex and converging media and communication technologies that affect
everybody in some way of the other and therefore require a set of skills and knowledge to
effectively and efficiently deal with it (Livingstone, 2005).
In the U.S., media literacy education began in the 1970s with an emphasis on protection
(from the so-called ―bad‖ media content). Since then, there has been a shift toward an emphasis on
media literacy as empowerment (stressing critical thinking and production skills); more materials
are now aimed at schools and teachers. The empowerment model emphasizes the political, social,
and economic implications of media messages and stresses the importance of using media
effectively and wisely (Scheibe& Rogow, 1999).
Media literacy is critical as it instils the two important skills of critical thinking and self-
expression and enables citizens to contribute to public discourse and make informed political and
voting decisions (Thoman & Jolls, 2003). Critical media literacy teaches students not just to learn
from media, but also to resist media manipulation, use media materials in constructive ways,
develop skills that create good citizens and become active participants in social life (Kellner, 2002).
New media literacy is essential and enables citizens to participate fully in the twenty-first century
society (Jing Wu and Wang, 2011).
Jenkins et al. (2006) stress on the importance of media literacy and its increasing importance
in today‘s digital environment. They have identified twelve ‗new media literacy skills‘ (NLMs) that
are essential active participation in today‘s digital environment. These include 1) Play or the
capability to experiment with one‘s surroundings as a means of problem solving; 2) Performance or
the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery; 3)
Simulation or the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes 4)
Appropriation or the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content; 5) Multitasking or the
ability to scan one‘s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details; 6) Distributed
cognition or the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities; 7)
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Collective intelligence or the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a
common goal; 8) Judgement or the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different
information sources; 9) Transmedia navigation or the ability to follow the flow of stories and
information across multiple modalities; 10) Networking or the ability to search for, synthesize, and
disseminate information; 11) Negotiation or the ability to travel across diverse communities,
discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms and
12) Visualization or the ability to interpret and create data representations for the purposes of
expressing ideas, finding patterns, and identifying trends. These twelve skills are key to active and
meaningful participation in the information society.
New media literacy may vary in different age groups. It is seen that individuals who
extensively consume and produce new media have higher levels of NLM skills. New media literacy
levels could be boosted by more online engagement (Balaban-Sali, 2002). Our values and norms in
education, literacy, and public participation are being challenged by a shifting landscape of media
and communications in which youth are central actors (John & Catherine, 2008). While there has
been a considerable amount of research on internet access, studies on how children understand and
use different forms of internet content are limited. It is necessary to explore how children respond to
online content and evaluate the reliability of information they come into contact with (Buckingham,
2005). Going by the discussion above, the importance of media literacy, new media in particular,
cannot be ignored in a digital, complex and converging society.
Discussion
All media work over us completely. They are so persuasive in their personal, political,
economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part
of us untouched, unaffected and unaltered. The medium is the massage. Any understanding of social
and cultural change is impossible without knowledge of the way media work as environments
(McLuhan, 1967)
The above lines from famous media theorist Marshall McLuhan echo present day media
environment where there are so many forms of digital devices, so many digital forums and
platforms to express one self. It has been found that those who don‘t have computer and internet
access at home do participate in the shared culture of social media and digital participation. Also
with the increasing internet penetration and third generation and fourth generation mobile
technologies the media exposure has increased manifold. It has been found that young people are
not only consumers but they are the producers as well.
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As an extension of this study, 30 students were separately interacted with. These students
comprised of graduate and post-graduate students of different institutes in Guwahati, Assam. The
interaction consisted of certain statements adapted from Jenkins and Literat‘s study based on five
options namely- strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree, agree and strongly agree.
The interaction was conducted with a view to gauge new media use among the students and the
skills they possess. Based on the interaction, it was found that majority of the respondents learn
something new on a computer through fiddling and trials. Students also do not shy away from
fiddling with apps and buttons available on a phone or any electronic device. They are also engaged
in problem solving by trying out different ways without giving up. On being asked whether they
feel they are a different person online than how they act in person, majority of respondents
disagreed. This reveals that students are now open to presenting their own self rather than
pretending to be someone else. However, they agreed that in certain situations it is not necessary to
be oneself. They strongly agree that one needs to learn from their surroundings and new
technologies in order to keep pace with the digitally changing complex world. A common finding
among most of the respondents was that they like to multitask when using new media technologies.
Internet happens to be one of the key sources of finding information. Students agreed to have a
sense of judgement in determining the reliability and correctness of information found online.
Internet provides a pool of information on a variety of issues and this where the sense of judgement
plays an important role. The ability to pick up the most useful and reliable information from a big
pool of information is important. Students also agreed to stay informed on current events and
politics through new media platforms.
If we take into consideration the above revelations and compare it with Jing Wu & Wang‘s
(2011) study, we can arrive at the following points. Students to a certain extent fulfil the criteria of
being ‗functional consumer‘ and ‗functional prosumer.‘ However, the skill of being a ‗critical
consumer‘ and a ‗critical prosumer‘ is one area that needs to be worked on. As the digital divide
gets narrower and access to internet and new media gets better, new media literacy is one area that
needs attention from the policy makers and the educational system of the country. Being an open
platform, new media is ridden with both positives and negatives. In the absence of new media
literacy, there is a high chance of misuse and miscommunication over new media platforms. Social
media is a glaring example of how users often get mislead by hoax messages and circulate the same
by sharing them on such platforms. No wonder, Facebook warned users against a hoax message that
asked users to post a legal notice in order to retain copyright of their photos. Users readily believed
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and shared this hoax message without critically examining its correctness (Facebook warns users
against hoax messages, 2015). Even chat application like WhatsApp went viral with hoax message
on an impending terror attack in Bangalore (Varghese, 2014). In a similar incident, text messages
claiming that dwellers from North east India living in Delhi will be targeted made the rounds
around three years back (Mischievous text messages on NE people, 2012).
In the context of Assam, a satirical piece on women‘s safety in India and Assam - ‗Rape
Festival in Assam‘ - by a US-based website had a snowballing effect after it was widely shared on
the internet and social media platforms. Although intended as a satire, the wide circulation led to
rage among people who slammed Assam for ‗celebrating‘ rape and anger among those hailing from
this region (Dowerah, 2013). Such instances clearly reinstate the flipside of internet technologies.
This is probably due to the fact that while people have actively started to use such platforms to
voice their opinion and share information and messages, they lack a sense of judgement. While they
actively engage as ‗functional consumer‘ and ‗functional prosumer,‘ the setback comes in terms of
being a ‗critical consumer‘ and ‗critical prosumer.‘
Going by the above discussion it becomes clear that we are living in an ever-changing
environment and there is a need for children, youth and adults to critically understand the
bombarding texts generated by the various forms of media. Hundreds and thousands of texts,
images and videos are being generated globally which calls for understanding the intended and
unintended meanings which might lead to various precarious situations as mentioned earlier in
terms of hoax messages. The digital divide remains a concern. However, one can see people across
ages and especially youths and increasingly children are seem to be fond of electronic devices. Such
devices are increasingly becoming part of life and even in the case of people who do not own such
devices it cannot be ruled out that they get affected in some way. New media literacy is crucial to
know, analyze and differentiate between accurate and inaccurate portrayals of the world. It is time
policy makers made media literacy an essential component of the education system by making it a
part of the curriculum.
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Dowerah, S. (2013).US website takes satire too far, makes up 'Assam Rape Festival.
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Facebook warns users against hoax messages on privacy. (2015). The Times of India.
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Gee, J. P. (2010). New Digital Media and Learning as an Emerging Area and ―Worked Examples‖
as One Way Forward. http://dmlcentral.net/wp content/uploads/files/new_digital_medi
a1.pdf, Retrieved on September 20, 2015.

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on 2 September 2015.

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Jing, WU & Wang.Y.(2011).Unpacking New Media Literacy. Systemics, Cybernetics and


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Kellner, D. (2002). New technologies / new literacies: Restructuring education for a new
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Need for Professional Organizations of Media Educators

Ravi Chaturvedi
School of Journalism & Mass Communication
Manipal University, Jaipur

Abstract
With the emergence of globalization, the need for proper media education becomes a
necessity as the education is being internationalized. There are number of reasons why it is
imperative for the teaching community to adopt new technologies. The need to introduce new
methods has gained new urgency in teacher training, the foremost reason being the need to provide
students with the latest skills in the era of rapid technological transformation and innovation.
Hence, the modern media educators and teachers are needed to be armed with new technological
skills and qualities which will definitely be helpful in the growth of media education of the nation.
There is dire need of creating a community for the purpose of networking, professional
development, empowering individual teachers and educators, and giving the young generation of
the country, the best educational and media career opportunities and to generate a common voice
for advocacy, connecting education and industry, and improving media education. On the other
hand, a platform is required to create and strengthen our community and industry connections.
Teachers involved in media production share resources and best practices, while industry partners
provide up-to-date information about media related trends, practices, and prospects. The organized
efforts could achieve the goals to enhance students‘ employability and to strengthen the media
entertainment world of the country as well.
In Indian democracy, media has a responsibility which is deeply associated with the socio-
economic conditions. The present scenario is not quite encouraging and certain areas need to be
addressed. Media organizations, whether in print, audio visual, radio or web have to be more
accountable to the general public? It should be monitored that professional integrity and ethical
standards are not sacrificed for sensational practices. The freedom of press in the country is a
blessing for the people. However, this blessing can go terribly wrong when manipulations set in.
The self-regulatory mechanism across media organizations need to be strong enough to stop
anomalies whenever they occur. Under such circumstances, the role of media educators increases
many fold which is otherwise not possible to act in absence of a professional platform. This paper is
an effort to underline these issues and to argue for the need of strong professional organizations of
media educators in the country.

Key words: Media Educators, Employability, Industry Connections, Self-regulatory Mechanism


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Introduction
Journalism and mass communication educators, or in wider terms we can call media
educators, believing in the worth and dignity of each human being, recognize the supreme
importance of the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence and the nurture of democratic principles
— especially the nurture of freedom of expression. They recognize the magnitude of the
responsibility inherent in the teaching process. By and large, they are committed to greater
participation in higher education in journalism and mass communication, and especially committed
to equality of educational opportunity.
Bishvajit Das has rightly commented on the situation that ―Media education as a field of
enquiry has received less scholarly attention among pupils and pedagogues in Indian society than
other fields. Although there are stray writings and projects initiated by international bodies like
UNESCO, it has rarely gained academic acclaim or collective concern. Though the field has been
the object of critical attention and academic debates across the world, it seems that the prefix of
«media» to education has foreclosed any scholarly attention in India.'' In fact, it will not be wrong
to say that media is the backbone of a society. It is not at all possible to conceive of a society
without media.
During recent years, while experiencing different types of political and economic constraints
as well as ups and downs, exceptional development in the media sector has been witnessed in India.
Not only in electronic media but also in print and new media, an entrenched structural change for
reaching the unreached part of the country has been discerned. So many entertainment and news
channels, widely circulated newspapers, emotionally charged cinema, and newly revitalized radio
have imbued the media scenario with different colours. Two Assamese scholars Anamika Ray and
Ankuran Dutta have pointed out in their study that ''it is high time for media education and training
to be taken very seriously and in a proper manner. There should have coordination not only among
the media institutions but also in curricula throughout the world so that one person, once trained in a
particular institution, can be eligible to work in any part of the world. This ubiquitous issue is very
delicate and of utmost important also. It needs spontaneous, continuous, and collaborative research
covering every aspect''(Ray & Dutta, n.d).
Although, apparently, it is visible that India is experiencing a media boom, however, the
state of media education is not very promising. There is hardly any proper media education in
school and college programs in general except that CBSE has introduced mass communication
courses for the students of 10th to 12th standard. But again, there are no regular qualified educators
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to teach the students. Media education is normally imparted in the form of workshops, seminars, or
as one subject in the school/college curriculum. The older day media educators are not able to
comprehend the present day media technologies. The developments in the media have gone beyond
their grasp. But there are no serious attempts on the part of the media centers to deal with the
situation. Most of the media educators are self-taught. Many of them are from a social action
background. They want to criticize the media from the political and moral viewpoint rather than
providing tools to analyze and understand them. This is a general feeling that most of the media
educators have neither studied about the media properly, nor they have any working experience in
the media creating a huge gap of understanding between the working media persons and the
educators. While, on the other hand, as earlier underlined, the media education has been placed at a
low priority in educational institutions and communication centers (Aram, 2014).
Although media education is an ancient concept, but unfortunately most of the people still
do not have proper awareness in this respect, which resulted in a situation where media education is
struggling for its own existence even in this modern age. It is the time to understand that media
education provides the critical knowledge and the analytical tools that empower media audiences to
function as autonomous and rational citizens, enabling them to make informed use of the media.
Media education, which is an important part of civic education, helps to make people well-informed
and responsible citizens, aware of their rights and duties. With the rapid growth of ICTs and the
resulting convergence of new and traditional media, it is necessary that media and information
literacy be considered holistically and applied to all forms of media, regardless of their nature and
the technologies used.
''Media literacy'' may be defined as the ability to access the media, to understandand
evaluate critically their contents and to create communications in a variety ofcontexts. This
definition is the result of the work of many different people (institutions, media professionals,
teachers, educators) and it is built on three main elements:
1. Access to media and media content;
2. Critical approach, ability to decipher media messages, awareness of how the media work
and
3. Creativity, communication and production skills.
Media literacy relates to ''all media'', including television and film, radio and recorded
music, print media, the Internet and other new digitalcommunication technologies. Media literacy is
an extremely important factor for ''activecitizenship'' in today‘s information society, a real pre-
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requisite just as literacywas at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a fundamental skill not
only for theyoung generation but also for adults (elderly people, parents, teachers and
mediaprofessionals). As a result of the evolution of media technologies and the presence ofthe
Internet as a distribution channel, an increasing number of people can nowcreate and disseminate
images, information and contents. In this context, media literacyis viewed as one of the major tools
in the development of citizens‘ responsibilities.
This is subject to be realized seriously that media has become very important in the lives of
young generation of India as they spend lot of time with it. They learn from it and they get
entertained by it. Keeping in view the importance of media in society, it is important that they start
understanding it right from the school days, rather than just being a passive viewer or reader. The
way we help children to understand language, social science, science and mathematics similarly the
time has come that they should understand media as well. Till now the focus all over the world was
on literacy which meant the ability to read and write. But today when students are learning a lot
from various media other than print, there is an urgent need to focus on media literacy as well.
Called by various names in different parts of the world, the efforts towards media education strive
not only to guide adults and children to be better, more responsible, more responsive recipient of
media content, but also at times to influence the media managers and governmental bodies
responsible for overseeing them. The various projects on media literacy across the world also hope
to influence the quality of media content by developing selective, non-passive audiences who seek
out and support program content of high quality. Some projects also strive to influence directly
media decision-makers, structures, and content by activist (or "reactive") involvement. The ubiquity
of media in the life of young generation calls for more intensive and extensive efforts for systematic
media literacy education. Inserting education into already crowded school curricula is a challenge
everywhere. But if that challenge is not met, children will be left unprepared to deal with one of the
most powerful forces shaping their lives (Yadav, 2009).
With this background, the role of a professional body of media educators may provide
networking, leadership and the opportunities of professional learning for educators, not only
through the regular meetings, but they may organize workshops, conference, and affiliate with the
leading institutions of the field. There is strong requirement of published journals and to provide
online collaborative environments. Undoubtedly, the professional body of the media educator will
prove an important locus of expertise, professional dialogue and innovation for the profession of
media teaching and media literacy in general. A professional body of media educators is expected to
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prove to be a dynamic, adviser-focused organization serving a diverse media community. To


develop and support effective media advisers, the body is expected to protect scholastic media and
speech freedoms of educators and the students; provide an environment that attracts, develops and
retains the best educators in the profession; build diversity at the scholastic and professional levels;
promote and demonstrate educational use of the latest technologies, and support innovative,
consistent and quality services.

REFERENCES

Aram, A. (2014). Challenges facing media education in India.Research Gate.http://www.


researchgate.net/publication/226233307, Retrieved on September 20, 2015.

Ray, A. & Dutta, A. (n.d).Media education in India: peer perspective, in education for a digital
world 2.0. In Sandy H. & Kevin, K. (eds.). Innovations in Education
Vol.1.http://www.academia.edu/8948833/, Retrieved on September20, 2015.

Yadav, A. (2009). Media literacy in India. http://wikieducator.Org/User:ANUBHUTI _YADAV


/media_literacy_in_India#Conclusion, Retrieved on September 27, 2015.
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Identifying New Areas of Studies on Ethics in Journalism Vis-a-Vis


Changing Professional Scenario with the Emergence of New Media

Sharmistha Jha Utsav Chatterjee


Dept. of Journalism and Mass Communication Dept of Journalism
& Videography, St. Xavier‘s College St. Xavier‘s College, Kolkata
Kolkata

Abstract

Media education in India is now more than six decades old. The intermediary years
witnessed not only technological advancement but a paradigm shift in the business models too. The
‗Steel Press‘ and the ‗Jute Press‘ of the yesteryears have now become the ‗real estate press‘ and
many more such types of non-journalism firms controlled presses. Though the basics of journalism
related studies continue to be much the same, but the execution and the profession itself has
undergone a sea change. The Press Commissions of India had expressed concern over the declining
status of the editor and the increasing influence of advertisements and other external elements.
Doordarshan is a fine example of bending to these forces. However, the arrival the new media, with
its own characteristics and rules, is again bringing the balance back.
Here comes the question of, therefore whether to put more emphasis on the existing
discourses of media ethics which advices journalists to stick to news values, stay objective and
serve public interest or rather empower them with technology and aesthetics to brave the
challenges in future? As for the question on objectivity, media educators of course educate students
on the concept but not on how to maintain the same in the professional world. On this question, the
paper tries to seek answers by interviewing two categories of media professionals: 1. the fresh pass
outs that have just joined the profession and 2.The veterans of the profession. The questions will
mainly try to seek how media education will be influenced with increasing presence of new media
and the associated changing perspectives. Thus the questions of ethics in citizen journalism,
narrative journalism and web features will be dealt with.

Keywords: Journalism, New Media, Citizen Journalism, Market Forces and Ethics.
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Introduction
Media education in India is now more than six decades old. The intermediary years
witnessed not only technological advancement but a paradigm shift in the business models too. The
‗Steel Press‘ and the ‗Jute Press‘ of the yesteryears have now become the ‗real estate press‘ and
many more such types of non-journalism firm controlled presses. Though the basics of journalism
related studies continue to be much the same, but the execution and the profession itself has
undergone a sea change. The Press Commissions of India had expressed concern over the declining
status of the editor and the increasing influence of advertisements and other external elements.
According to Robert G Picard, in his book ‗The Economics and Financing of Media Companies‘,
four major categories of economic forces affect operations and choice of managers in media firms:
1. Market Forces, 2. Cost Forces, 3. Regulatory Forces, 4. Barriers to entry and mobility(Pikard,
2002). The influences have only grown stronger over the years. With this comes Walter Lippman‘s
observation on the ‗economic necessity of interesting the readers quickly‘ (Lippman, 2004). This
almost directly refers to the influence of market forces on mainstream journalism; forces which
have made entertainment more important than social development. Doordarshan is a fine example
of bending to these forces. However, the arrival of the new media, with its own characteristics and
rules, is again bringing the balance back. Online journalism, citizen journalism and independent
journalists are trying to create a journalistic space that is comparatively freer from the controlling
forces. This is not only changing the mode of business but the newsroom altogether (Fenton, 2012).
Convergence is the most sacred word in journalism now.
Here comes the question of, therefore whether to put more emphasis on the existing
discourses of media ethics which advices journalists to stick to news values, stay objective and
serve public interest or rather empower them with technology and aesthetics to brave the challenges
in future? Robert M. Entman, in his book ‗Democracy without Citizens: Media and the Decay of
American Politics‘ recognizes the ―vicious cycle of interdependence‖ in which an uninformed
population cannot create demand for quality journalism and this in turn makes them more
uninformed (Entman, 1989). This is an established fact, especially in the third world countries. In
this context it is therefore necessary that new age journalism and media studies be reconstructed to
boost the profession of new media journalism.
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Civic journalism will rise and so will the pressure from the external forces in media
Civic journalism (also known as public journalism) is the idea of integrating journalism into
the democratic process. The media not only informs the public, but it also works towards engaging
citizens and creating public debate. The civic journalism movement is an attempt to abandon the
notion that journalists and their audiences are spectators in political and social processes. In its
place, the civic journalism movement seeks to treat readers and community members as participants
(Cram101, 2014). We have witnessed the increasing prominence of such journalism in the country
in the last two decades. In various tragic or unhealthy occasions like heinous crimes, scams and
corruption (for example the Nirbhaya Case, the Fodder Scam, the 2G Scam) media has heavily
practiced ‗Media Activism‘. Many a time there had been petitions filed to restrict the media from
reporting sub-judicial cases, for example in the Jessica Lal and Nirbhaya cases, but the Supreme
Court honoured the media and said in its judgement that such reporting is healthy for the society.
This clearly reflects the importance of not only Media Activism, but actually civic journalism.
Clearly before some of the major elections held in India in the recent times, we witnessed how
media actively participated in the public debates. Tendencies are rising. The media not only
discusses about political issues, but creates debates in the society on their merits and demerits. The
local community is now more prominently represented than ever before. It is not only the North and
South Block, but every lane, by-lane, gully and ‗muhalla‘ of the country that is important for the
media.
But while this holds true, it is also true that such a powerful media will be subjected to
external controls too. According to Robert G Picard, in his book ‗The Economics and Financing of
Media Companies‘, four major categories of economic forces affect operations and choice of
managers in media firms: 1. Market Forces, 2. Cost Forces, 3. Regulatory Forces, 4. Barriers to
entry and mobility. Market forces are external forces based on structures and choices in the market
place. Cost forces are internal pressures based on the operating expenses of the firm. Regulatory
forces represent the legal, political and self-regulatory forces that constrain and direct operations of
the media firms. Barriers represent factors that make it difficult for new firms to enter and
successfully compete in a market (Pikard, 2002).
The Need to Introduce Studies on Ethics for a Mixed Media Platform
The media is going through a revolution which is transforming irrevocably, the nature of
journalism and its ethics. Every news room will now agree that the means to publish is now also in
the hands of citizens, while the new media is encouraging new forms of journalism that are
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interactive and immediate. Professional journalists now a days share the journalistic sphere with
tweeters, bloggers, citizen journalists, and social media users (Nasir, 2014). We do acknowledge
that every revolution or transformation gives rise to new possibilities and old practices are often
threatened. That is what exactly is happening in the media fraternity of the present. It is quite visible
that the economics of professional journalism are struggling as audiences are migrating online. In
this respect the media educators should focus on the aspect of the shrinkage of newsrooms which is
creating concern for the future of journalism. Yet these fears also prompt experiments in journalism,
such as non-profit centers of investigative journalism.
We are moving towards mixed news media – news media that consists of citizen and professional
journalists across many media platforms. This new mixed news media requires a new mixed media
ethics – guidelines that apply to amateur and professional whether they blog, Tweet, broadcast or
write for newspapers. Media ethics needs to be rethought and reinvented for the media of today, not
of yesteryear (Ward, 2011).
Need to Understand the Ethics for Mass Media
Before discussing the challenges for the new mixed media platform, the paper takes into
consideration the mass media ethics. It is important that students of media and especially journalism
be acquainted with these principles. It is quite apparent that the principles hold enough moral
powers even in the twenty-first century, at a time when the profession itself is going through
revolutionary changes. Media ethics for the traditional media draw on a range of philosophical
principles that includes basic Judeo-Christian values, Aristotle‘s ideas about virtue and balanced
behaviors (the golden mean), Kant‘s categorical imperative, Mill‘s principle of utility, Rawls‘s veil
of ignorance, and the Hutchins Commission‘s social-responsibility ethics. One way contemporary
journalists can resolve their ethical problems is by using the Bok model for ethical decision making.
A brief description of each follows:
Aristotle - the golden mean: Moral behavior is the mean between two extremes - at one end
is excess, at the other deficiency. Finding a moderate position between those two extremes, and one
will be acting morally.
Immanuel Kant - the categorical imperative: As human beings we have certain moral rights
and duties. We should treat all people as free and equal to ourselves, and our actions are morally
right only if we can apply them universally. In other words, are we willing to have everyone act as
we do? It's an absolutist view - right is right and must always be done, regardless of the
circumstances.
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John Stuart Mill - the principle of utility: Our actions have consequences, and those
consequences count. The best decisions have good consequences for the largest number of people –
―the greatest happiness for the greatest number.‖
John Rawls - Veil of Ignorance: As Rawls puts it; ―Among the essential features of this
situation is that no one knows his place in society, his class position or social status, nor does
anyone know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence, strength
and the like. I shall even assume that the parties do not know their conceptions of the good or their
special psychological propensities. The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance.‖
In simple words, it means, people remain ignorant about themselves (their positions and status), and
they would feel urged to make fair decision without biasness or special interest.
The Hutchins Commission: The press has a moral obligation to consider the overall needs of
society when making journalistic decisions in order to produce the greatest good. The press plays an
important role in the development and stability of modern society and, as such, it is imperative that
a commitment of social responsibility be imposed on mass media.
Judeo-Christian Ethics: ―Do unto others as you would have them do unto you‖ i.e. treating
people with the same respect that one expects to be treated by them and therefore trying to minimize
harm (Day, 2006).
The researchers spoke to five ex-students of their department who have freshly joined five
different news organizations in the country. The interview was mainly oriented to find the challenge
the students faced in terms of their learnt theories and concepts (also in terms of ethics) in the new
professional world. The outcome of the interview has been summarized here:
Learning inside a classroom and having to execute the same in the industry are two different
experiences. In their opinion, the latter is slightly more beneficial than the former.
Sitting inside a classroom, one surely learns the media laws and ethics, journalism and its functions,
and the related topics. It provides one with a background of what he/she is supposed/ allowed to do
and what he/she is not. It helps one to build his/her base. But the real learning takes place in the
industry. Perhaps it starts with Day One of internship. Writing professionally for the print or
electronic/ TV scripts and web scripts, making packages, going for shoots/interviews, clicking
photographs in maddening scenarios, covering shows, coming back to the news room, rewriting,
checking for facts, editing… one is taught the A-Z of the news media industry in those first few
months itself.
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But in the industry, one learns something more- when one is given an assignment and asked
to complete the entire work within ten minutes approximately. Within those ten minutes when one
is under extreme pressure, problems and errors are bound to happen. But that is how one
remembers them in the future. In the classroom, when one makes a mistake, it remains between the
teacher and the student. Whereas in the real media world, the mistake is picked up by the world all
over and one never knows, he/she might just make it to the Twitter trends (and become famous, for
the wrong reason though!)
With this come the second problem, what to write/show and what not to. Even simple
actions like asking the camera person to turn the camera to another side to portray a situation
demands great deal of decision making. There have been situations when such an action had to be
restricted as the journalist was not certain whether the news room is for or against the developing
situation. This is an area where mistakes are not forgiven. Every journalist works under the constant
worry; whether his/her action will result in a show cause notice from the management.
The Need to Understand the News Room of the Future
The concepts of newsroom are changing. The BBC 3600 news room can be cited as an
example. It is one news room that serves the television, radio, print as well as the new media. It not
only calls for multi-tasking but also consists of a variety of professionals that was never there in the
yesteryears. The newsroom is what is often called a ‗layered newsroom‘.
Students need to be acquainted with the concept of such layered journalism and newsroom of the
future. Let us have a look into what will constitute such a newsroom.
Vertically, there will be many layers of editorial positions. There will be citizen journalists
and bloggers in the newsroom, or closely associated with the newsroom. Many contributors will
work from countries around the world. Some will write for free, some will be equivalent to paid
freelancers, others will be regular commentators. In addition, there will be different types of editors.
Some editors will work with these new journalists, while other editors will deal with unsolicited
images and text sent by citizens via email, web sites, and twitter. There will be editors or
―community producers‖ charged with going out to neighborhoods to help citizens use media to
produce their own stories. Horizontally, the future newsroom will be layered in terms of the kinds
of journalism it produces, from print and broadcast sections to online production centers (Ward,
2011).
Newsrooms in the past have had vertical and horizontal layers. Newspaper newsrooms have
ranged vertically from the editor in-chief at the top to the cub reporter on the bottom. Horizontally,
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large mainstream newsrooms have produced several types of journalism, both print and broadcast.
However, future newsrooms will have additional and different layers. Some news sites will continue
to be operated by a few people dedicated only to one format, such as blogging. But a substantial
portion of the new mainstream will consist of these complex, layered organizations (Ward, 2011).
Need of knowledge on web hosting and economy of websites
Alternative media journalism (whether civic or citizen journalism) will rise to a great extent.
In this respect citizen blogs and civic blogs will lead. One of the biggest reasons is that as the
external controls are increasing in media so is increasing people‘s awareness on those influences.
The voice for an unfettered and unbiased media is only growing strong in the public. But the mass
media so far have failed to keep off such influences. It‘s the alternative media, which people often
turn to when considering uninfluenced news (Bulkley, 2012). The tendency is pointing towards one
reality: The alternative media is rising as a new potential enterprise; an enterprise which will incur
operational cost, receive financial profit out of advertising revenue, which in turn will be dependent
upon its regular traffic.
Apparently there seems little difference between the mass media and alternative media, as
both depends on advertising revenue (the rates of which are decided on the basis of
circulation/viewership and web traffic respectively). But the difference is clearly felt if the
advertising structure for the alternative media could be understood. In case of mass media, revenue
is mainly dependent on advertising, thus giving full powers of control in the hands of the
advertisers. But for the web media, since a third party server and a curious process of real time
online bidding is involved, no advertiser is sure about which website its ad will land up at. Similarly
the web sites too are ignorant till the last second (before one opens it on his/her browser) as to
which company‘s ad will land up in the space that they have rented out to the third party server
(Lee, 2005).
Thus it is highly necessary for media students, researchers and educators to have a firm
understanding on the economic structures of the new media. On this depends the democracy of
news (i.e. information) that flows in them. Hence detailed discussions on these topics are needed in
the media schools.
With this is also required the technical knowledge of web hosting. Alternative media will
emerge as an enterprise, but students need to know how to enter that business and establish
themselves as independent journalists. The computer science departments could render such
knowledge. HTML, CSS, Java Script and Flash are the most essential subjects that should be taught
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to the students. Along with this, knowledge in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Indesign should also be
delivered as these are required to design the web pages. This will help the media students to design,
create and host their own independent news web sites. Next is required the knowledge of increasing
visibility of a web site. With this comes the need to showcase the web site in the off line world. This
demands hands on training in advertising and publicity for web sites in the off line world. If all of
these, as a package, are successful, then only will the alternative media emerge as a potential
opportunity for students, where they will not only host unbiased news but will also earn from.
The old school ways of creating sources is now perhaps more important
A major problem, created by new media, is how to handle errors and corrections when
reports and commentary are constantly being updated, and at a quite fast pace. Increasingly,
journalists are blogging ‗live‘ about sports games, news events, and breaking stories. Inevitably,
when one works at this speed, errors are made, from misspelling words to making factual errors
(Oyibo, 2014). But on a serious note, many a times in the frenzy of ‗breaking‘‗exclusive‘ news,
reporters upload stories verified by undependable sources, or not verified at all. In this regard, it is
now perhaps more important for media students to understand that all sources cannot be depended
upon. It is those personal connections or verified documents that one has to fall back upon, for
publishing an errorless copy. Walking a step further backward, one has to realize the importance of
communicating in a non-networked and personal environment to create personal sources. It is a
quality that one has to develop on his own rather than studying theoretical discussions on them. The
media educators of the future will have to inspire their students to create a perfect amalgamation
between digital publishing on one side and personal contacts creation in the non digital world in the
other.
Conclusion
The media is going through a rapid transformation which on one hand is enriching it
technically, but on the other hand is raising questions on its credibility. However the emergence of
new media has rendered a balance. It is poised to become the most valued and effective media of
the future. But it is essential to have in-depth understanding about its technicalities economy and
usability.
In this light, media educators of the future should empower the students with technical
knowledge of the new media but aesthetical values of the old. The predominant requirement is to
install the human values in students/practitioners by which they will be able to not only respect their
audience but also render voice to the voiceless.
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REFERENCES
Bulkley, K. (2012). The rise of citizen journalism. http://www.theguardian.com
/media/2012/jun/11/rise-of-citizen-journalism, Retrieved on September 15, 2015.

Cram101. (2014). E-study guide for media ethics: Issues and cases. Just The Facts 101.

Day, L. (2006). Ethics in media communications: Cases and controversies. USA: Thomson
Wadsworth.

Entman, R. M. (1989). Democracy without citizens: Media and the decay of American politics. New
York: Oxford University Press.

Fenton, N. (2012). New media, old news: Journalism and democracy in the digital age. London:
Sage Publications.

Lippman, W. (2004). Public Opinion. New York: Dover Publications.

Monle Lee, C. J. (2005). Principles of advertising: A global perspective. Oxon: The Howorth Press.

Nasir, M. ( 2014). Digital Media Ethics and the Role of Media. Interdisciplinary Journal of
Contemporary Research in Business .

Oyibo, D. A. (2014). Ethical Implications of Information Dissemination on the New. New Media
and Mass Communication .

Pikard, R. G. (2002). The economics and financing of media companies. New York: Fordham
University Press.

Ward, S. J. (n.d.). Digital media ethics. Centre for Journalism Ethics. https://ethics.journalism.
wisc.edu/resources/digital-media-ethics/, Retrieved on September 15, 2015.

Ward, S. J. (2011). Ethics and the media: An introduction. New York: Cambridge University Press.
117 | Quality Configuration of M e d i a E d u c a t i o n i n I n d i a

Communication: A Complex Area of Study with Deficit of


Understanding, Scholarship, and Recognition
Sisir Basu
Dept. of Journalism & Mass Communication
Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

Abstract
In this academic paper several areas of Communication will be focused on. The author
intends to have a broad sweep over the various issues related to Communication. The strands that
are to be discussed in the beginning of the paper are:
i) An account of the historical perspective of the area of study as an academic subject in
formal institutions such as university;
ii) The contributions of Rockefeller Foundation and its Communication Seminar;
iii) The missionary-like zeal of Wilbur Schramm and his efforts will be accounted for;
iv) The post-war era and the development of transmission models for a long time in the
American continent;
v) A counter force: The Frankfurt School‘s contribution
vi) The break from the past - Ferment in the Field phase will be explained;
vii) The European contribution in the field of Communication particularly of the
Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies;
viii) After ferment: The developments in the last two decades; and
ix) A historical account of the development of Communication in India.
After having some broad strokes on the historical and chronological development of the
area of study of Communication, the paper will analyze the reasons and factors for the development
of the popularity of the field even without having a deeper understanding of it. At the political level,
one needs to assess the reasons as to why during the acute political crises the need for
communication is deeply felt.
The paper will then focus on how the academic institutions develop their programmes. The
class rooms have been followers of what happened in the society in the area of Communication. By
the time these issues are understood and researched on, the new issues emerge and make the issues
in the classroom dated and irrelevant, even though those may be fresh and newly introduced ones.
Thus, Communication has always been embroiled in debates and controversy such as field versus
discipline, skill versus education, and technology versus application. This paper thus will partly
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focus on these debates and issues of curricula, principles and theories, and the status of
Communication.
Another issue that the paper will focus on is the question of whether it is technologically
determined or socially driven. The debate goes on.
The technology, particularly communication technology, has become ubiquitous. It is an all
enveloping dark matter in our social life. In the institution of higher education, scholars from
various subject disciplines have been looking at the impact of Communication on their own
disciplines. Therefore, niche areas of study are being created in large number of these disciplines
attaching the name of Communication as prefix or suffix. One thus can see that Communication is
expanding horizontally instead of vertically, creating areas of disjointed or thinly linked
specializations.
It can thus be concluded that the Communication is still in evolution, a field of study that is
in crises, seemingly though, a field that has a deficit of understanding,
scholarship and recognition. However, it has tremendous ability to attract attention of scholars
and professionals and thus remains a field of future.

Keywords: Rockefeller Foundation, Communication, Skill versus Education, Transmission Models


and Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies
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Introduction
In this academic paper several areas of Communication will be focused on. The author
intends to have a broad sweep over the various issues related to Communication. The strands that
are to be discussed in the paper are:
1. An account of the historical perspective of the area of study as an academic subject in
formal institutions such as university;
2. The contributions of Rockefeller Foundation and its Communication Seminar;
3. The missionary-like zeal of Wilbur Schramm and his efforts will be accounted for;
4. The post-war era and the development of transmission models for a long time in the
American continent;
5. A counter force: The Frankfurt School‘s contribution
6. The break from the past - Ferment in the Field phase will be explained;
7. The European contribution in the field of Communication particularly of the Birmingham
Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies;
8. After ferment: The developments in the last two decades; and
9. An account of the development of Communication in India.
Communication as a concept existed since the dawn of civilization. But Communication as
an area of study is of recent origin. The beginning of the discipline has been during the Second
World War in Washington D.C. The United States of America was not involved in the Second
World War in the beginning. The appeal from the European power forced it to reconsider its
position. The American public was against the USA joining the war. At the end, President
Roosevelt decided to join the Allies and officially entered the war in October, 1941.
In Washington, the American war effort started putting various agencies in place with
specific tasks to help the government to win the war. The task was of three folds: i) to
communicate to the American citizen that it was necessary for the USA to join the war; ii) to assure
the allied partners that the help was on the way; and iii) to communicate, in no uncertain terms, to
the Nazi government that they would be countered with a greater force. All these three tasks were
to be achieved through communication at the initial stage. Hence the government in Washington
established some important agencies and committees to achieve its goals. Research branches and
agencies such as the Division of Information and Education; Survey Division of the Office of War
Information; US Department of Agriculture; and the Office of Facts and Figures were established.
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These agencies were working at tandem to make the USA an important player in this war (Rogers,
1994:11).
Wilbur Schramm was the director of the Office of Facts and Figures. He joined the other social
scientists in Washington D.C, to help the US government in its effort to win the heart of American
public and win the war on the other side of the Atlantic.
The war effort demanded an interdisciplinary approach mostly centered on Communication
problems. Scholars and social scientists from other disciplines converged on Communication in
Washington. Thus, World War II created the conditions for the founding of Communication
Studies.
Wilbur Schramm took special interest in Communication. He had an academic background
in liberal arts and social science. He was not rooted deeply in any particular discipline. His
bachelor‘s degree was in History and Political Science, Masters in American Civilization from
Harvard and doctorate degree in English Literature. He was later appointed as the director of the
Writers‘ Workshop at the University of Iowa. With this background, he went to Washington D.C
during the Second World War (Rogers, 1994:4).
After returning from Washington D.C, Schramm founded a doctorate programme in
Communication in the Department of Journalism at Iowa. Subsequently, he established similar
programmes at Illinois in 1947, at Wisconsin in 1950, at Minnesota in 1951 and at Stanford in 1952.
By this time, the emergence and establishment of the discipline of Communication as an area of
academic study has been completed.
Scholars and social scientists from various disciplines had started working on various
aspects of Communication. Harold D. Lasswell was a political scientist. His doctorate
dissertation, Propaganda Techniques in the World War contributed immensely on how
Communication is used by the dictators. Later, as a Rockefeller scholar, he devised a
communication model: Who Says What to Whom via What Channels with What Effect? Paul
Lazarsfeld established the study of Mass Communication effect. His famous two-step and multistep
flow of information theory contributed towards the enrichments of the discipline. Carl I. Hovel
established the tradition of studying of persuasion in Communication. Claude E. Shannon
established the Information Theory. Schramm himself named these four as the founding fathers of
Communication(Rogers, 1994:12-13).
With this development, simultaneously one has to study the post World War II events. After
the War, the world was divided into two camps: i) USA and its allies; and ii) USSR and its allies.
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Both the camps wanted to outdo each other by possessing sophisticated weaponry. Thus the huge
amount of fund was invested and is being invested in both the camps in research for new
technology. Within a short period of time, weapons with capacity to destroy huge areas and large
number of people have been invented and commissioned. As the number of new technologies was
being invented, the older technologies were being allowed to be applied and modifies for the benefit
of the civilians such as computers, and satellite. These technologies in the civil society created and
are still creating a sea change in the way people live and communicate. There have been regular
impact studies of these technologies on the society. Over a period of time, these studies and reports,
gave the area of Communication its principles, models and theories.
The discipline of Communication, as we understand it, is a by-product of the advancement
of Communication technologies. Since the end of the World War, these technologies were being
invented and first employed for military purposes, later these were applied and modified for
civilians. How were these applied? What benefit did they bring to the citizens? What could these
do and could not do? Over a period of time these studies formed the body of knowledge of
Communication.
Over a period of time, various areas were created for the application and study of
communication technologies. Some of these are Advertising, Public Relations, Corporate
Communications, Political Economy, Journalism, among others. In all these areas, professionals,
research scholars worked with Communication. The core of the subject matter, the fundamental
intention of the initiator is to communicate. What to communicate and how to communicate varied
in subject matter. These subject matters are specialized areas.
This is one version of the history of Communication study that generally makes round. The
Second World War was the watershed period of the communication study and Wilbur Schramm
was the person who brought it to the academic world. Let us consider another additional historical
account.
Rockefeller Foundation and the Communication Seminar
But if one reads Jefferson Pooley‘s article ‗The New History of Mass Communication
Research‘, one could discover a detailed backdrop on how Wilbur Schramm came into
Communication. It points to the commanding role played by Rockefeller Foundation in shaping a
response of the United States of America to the request of the allied forces in the European
continent. This part of the history…‖ stresses the conditioning role of Rockefeller, military, central
Intelligence Agency (CIA), the State Department funding, and also the tight interpersonal network
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of the future communication scholars that coalesced during their common wartime government
employment as the overseas and domestic propagandists‖ (Pooley, 2008:48).
The Rockefeller foundation‘s Assistant Director of the Humanities Department, John
Marshall was interested in educational radio broadcast. He engineered and approved various
research projects, particularly the audience survey studies, to find out whether or not it was possible
to transmit educational programmes interspersed in-between commercial programmes in radio
networks existing in the USA at that time. This was one of the reasons why the Rockefeller
Foundation funded Paul Lazarsfeld‘s Office of the Applied Social Research at the Columbia
University. John Marshall‘s main interest in educational radio was to find out whether or not
audience could be taught one or two things through educational programmes in the midst of the
commercial programmes. He also wanted to find out how prepared the audience were to accept
such programmes through commercial networks. The Foundation‘s interest was centered on
propaganda and the educational aspect of propaganda.
After the outbreak of World War II and the rapid progress of the Nazi forces in Europe, John
Marshall organized ‗Communication Seminar‘ to analyze and understand the Nazi propaganda
machinery, content and impact and also the response that could be possible from the America‘s side
to counter it. ‗One of the outcomes of the Seminar was the consolidation of the Communication
label itself…(which) was forwarded as a deliberate alternative to the propaganda analysis
tradition… this Seminar as was considered both an emerging scientific field and as a crucial
instrument of effective propaganda design(Pooley, 2008:52).
The Seminar also acted, ―to map out the scientific study of Mass Communication and design
an extra governmental plan for combating Nazi propaganda and mobilizing the support‖ (Pooley,
2008:52). The propaganda war that started during the Second World War by the United States of
America, strongly aided by the extra-state agencies, continued after the Second World War.
This tradition of studying propaganda techniques and countering propaganda through
designs began by the Rockefeller Foundation, and its radio project became the foundational
framework for the Studies of Communication conception, design and evaluation in the American
context. Seeds sown by the Rockefeller‘s Communication Seminar gave the models and theories of
the early period of Communication.
At this point of this paper, let us pause briefly and look into the past at the beginning of the
twentieth century. Since, we are discussing about the genesis of the discipline of Communication,
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therefore, it is also proper that we search and find whether or not there was any other effort to teach
Communication or Journalism as an academic discipline.
Willard Bleyer and His „Children‟ in Journalism
Willard G. Bleyer first taught Journalism in 1904 at the University of Wisconsin to twenty
five students. Bleyer was basically a teacher of English literature and came from a family the
members of which worked in newspapers as reporters and editors. Later this effort helped him to
establish the first department and later a school of Journalism in the American University system
with Bleyer as Chair. His students later went on establishing departments in other universities and
they were known as ‗Bleyer‘s children‘ (Rogers, 1994:18).
So, from the Willard Bleyer and his children to Rockefeller Foundation‘s Communication
Seminar to the missionary effort of Wilbur Schramm, Communication as an area of study
progressed in a linear fashion following the propagandist model. This, we say, many times as the
transmission model making period. The versions of the transmission models were centered on a
powerful sender reaching out to a receiver who would completely be overwhelmed by the message.
Frankfurt School
While this was in progress in the American continent, there was a development in Europe to
look at Culture, creation of art, and dissemination of the same to a wider audience in a very
different way precisely from Marxian point. The Frankfurt School came into being after the
Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. The rest of Western Europe was stunned by the happenings of the
Bolshevik Revolution --- unseating the Zar, Lenin swept over the whole of Russia installing the rule
of the proletariat. A wheat merchant of Germany, Felix funded the institute to study this
phenomenon. Popularly, this institute is known as Frankfurt School.
The ―Frankfurt School‖ refers to a group of German-American theorists who developed
powerful analyses of the changes in Western capitalist societies that occurred since the classical
theory of Marx. Working at the Institut fur Sozialforschung in Frankfurt, Germany in the late 1920s
and early 1930s, theorists such as Max Horkheimer, T.W. Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Leo
Lowenthal, and Erich Fromm produced some of the first accounts within critical social theory of the
importance of mass culture and communication in social reproduction and domination. The
Frankfurt School also generated one of the first models of critical cultural studies that analyze the
processes of cultural production and political economy, the politics of cultural texts, and audience
reception and use of cultural artifacts (Douglus, n.d). The working of the school came to a halt in
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Germany as Hitler swept across the country and much of Europe. However, the scholars and
theorists continued their work in the USA where they migrated.
Two prominent members of the School, Max Horkheimer and T.W. Adorno after having
seen the rise of mass media in the United States of America termed the production and
dissemination of media programmes as the work of Cultural Industries‘. They analyzed the media
artifacts as the Standardized Commodity for mass consumption. They developed critical studies on
mass media focusing on political economy, textual analysis, and social and ideological effects
(Douglus, n.d).
They found that the American capitalism ‗…Controlled by giant corporations, the culture
industries were organized according to the strictures of mass production, churning out mass-
produced products that generated a highly commercial system of culture which in turn sold the
values, life-styles, and institutions of ―the American way of life‖(Douglus, n.d).
Overall, the Frankfurt School talked of a technology aided communication media which
promoted homogenous and massified culture. This perspective of Communication was
diametrically opposite to what we have discussed earlier in the transmission model.
Ferment in the Field
Les Switzer in his review article published in the third volume, number three, in Critical
Arts, in 1985, titled: Ferment in the Field? States that ‗Communication as a field of study has been
virtually transformed in the past twenty five years by the work of various scholars emanating
mainly from Europe and parts of Asia and Latin America. Much of this work, has been a critique of
the media of communication in capitalist and colonialist societies and it has been influenced directly
or indirectly by the tradition of historical materialism…In the special issue of the Journal of
Communication published by the Annenberg School of Communication and edited by George
Gerbner gave an opportunity to 41 scholars , mostly from America , others from Europe, to express
their opinion on the status of Communication, its research and the role in the contemporary modern
society (Switzer, n.d). It was watershed issue of the Journal of Communication and had triggered
new thinking about the field. In some broad sketches, the main issues raised in the special edition
are being presented below.
The scholars from non- American countries criticized the US – orientation. The US training
was more focused on the skills, whereas it should have fair share of science of and education about
communication. There have been debates in the US university system about this. The fight
between the ‗green eye shades‘ and the ‗chi-square‘ is legendary in the US university circle.
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The orientation about the Frankfurt School is almost absent in the curriculum of the
American universities. It is centered on the cause – effect, rather than on historical development.
Cees Hamelink suggested that the whole paradigm should be move away from critical-
empirical tradition to a newer paradigm. There were suggestions that the emphasis of
Communication research should be more on culture rather than media. There has been clear
distinction between Marxism –which became a philosophy to change the system, and neo –
Marxism which was adopted for social – economic analysis. Therefore, the former was a tool for
revolution, the other the tool for intellectual analysis. Emanating from this orientation, there were
debates on material base versus non- material superstructure. Few articles focused on the role of
technology in culture. Were the media for social control or was it for social diversity?
Nicholas Graham, a non- American scholar, in his article emphasized that we need not study
media, instead we need to study the central concerns/ issues of the society. Time and again, the
debate on the functional model versus critical theory returned in many articles in one form or the
other.
The Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies
While the turmoil of the 60s was beginning to be felt by the countries in Europe and North
America, a remarkable institution known at first as The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies,
later as The Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Studies was established in 1964 by Richard
Hoggart. This centre was funded by the Penguin Books. Hoggart roped in Stuart Hall, a Rhodes
Scholar who went to London from Jamaica, West Indies to study English. He got involved in
political activism, never got to finish his PhD and focused on the youth culture, the press, film and
television. He used to toy with ideas in the realm of culture and influenced others to work on new
ideas within media and culture study. A leftist in approach, he was a critique of the rightist
thoughts and coined the word ‗Thatcherism‘ much before Margaret Thatcher swayed over British
economy and politics (Connel, Hilton &Hall, 2014). The works of the centre and particularly of
Stuart Hall is a recognized strand in culture and communication studies.
Development after Ferment
The issue of the scholarship in communication was first raised in International
Communication Association conference and later the articles were published in the Journal of
Communication in 1983 naming it as ‗The Ferment in the Field‘. After a decade, in 1993, the
Journal of Communication focused on the issue again in a special edition named The Future of the
Field‘. Herbst in that issue stated that the scholars in Communication write for each other and
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Michael Pfau wrote,‖ Too often we write for others within specific narrow niche of our discipline,
and as a result, our output is not read by most communication scholars, let alone by the scholars in
allied fields. C.R. Berger in his article, Why are there so few Communication Theories? A couple
of years ago, i.e., in 1991, wrote that ‗Communication suffers from an intellectual trade deficit with
respect to related disciplines where we import far more than we export‖ (Pfau, 2008:597).
Fifteen years later, in 2008, the Journal of Communication, came up with another special
issue named as ―Intersections.‖ The editor of this special issue, Michael Pfau, said that the problem
with the scholarship in Communication continues unabated. He raised a question as to why the
output of the field of Communication is of very little interest to those from the allied field. He
reasoned out that it is largely due to fragmentation, accompanied by an unrelenting pressure for
specialization. Communication, to speak broadly, remains a field, less of a discipline. The field is
still evolving. The intellectual focus remains largely heterogeneous and loosely bound.
Simultaneously, the sub-fields of specialized areas are continuously increasing. Therefore, the
growth is horizontal and isolated, not integrated vertically. Rosengren termed this phenomenon as
‗isolated frog ponds‘. A lot of niche areas are being cited for specialization without having a
common foundation and principle (Pfau, 2008:597). Hence, the specialists serving these ponds do
not know each other, thinking that they exist alone and no one else. Kaarle Nordenstreng in his
article ‗Ferment in the Field: Notes on the Evolution of Communication Studies and its Disciplinary
Nature‘ states clearly that Communication as an area of study has expanded very fast. This
expansion and diversification has created many new independent branches (Nordenstreng, 2004: 5-
8). He proceeds further in another article of his saying that Communication has been and remains
professionally self-centered and scientifically shallow. It is not centered on a foundation. It moves
restlessly from one area to other continuously creating new areas. Nordenstreng called it a ‗surfing
syndrome‘ (Nordenstreng, 2007:211-212).
He said that Communication lacks the characteristics of a discipline as it does not have a
rich collection of theories and principles, does not have its own independent research methods and
culture to conduct research studies. The body of its literature is deficient both in quality and
quantity. Hence it remains a field of study.
He concludes by distinguishing the nature of research that we conduct in Communication
studies: This examination includes the well known distinctions between basic and applied research;
whereas basic sciences are supposed to describe, explain and help to understand, applied sciences
are supposed first and foremost to predict; the basic sciences tell us what is and predictive applied
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sciences tell us what will be. In addition to these two main types, there is an often overlooked form
of applied sciences which tells us what ought to be so that we can attain a given goal. These ‗design
sciences‘ are not supposed to produce true or false knowledge, nor to predict correctly what will
happen, but to enhance human skills and to generate instrumental knowledge for manipulation of
both natural and artificial systems, something that is highly relevant in communication studies‘
(Nordenstreng,2007:220).
The Indian Scenario
Communication and Journalism studies began in India with the Hislop College at Nagpur.
The Punjab University in Lahore before independence started teaching Journalism. Prof. P.P. Singh
spearheaded the effort. After independence many universities in India followed suit. Broadly the
following issues can mentioned:
There is a lack of understanding among the teaching community about the characteristics of
Communication. Like in America the debate between the green eye shades and the Chi-square goes
in our universities too. We debate about the skill and educational aspect of Communication.
Warner Tankard said very rightly that Communication is partly art, partly skill and partly science.
The design of our syllabus should include all these three aspects.
We must refrain from creating department with new names that may give an aura of glamour
but lack in substance such as Convergent Journalism. We must concentrate on the fundamentals
and include the new aspects within the framework of the syllabus and not as a new area altogether.
The interface with industry is a must. This will help us to grasp the new technologies and
their impact on society, particularly on how and what we communicate. There must be an effort to
organize re- skilling programmes, and short – term courses for the teachers of Communication to
upgrade their knowledge regularly. This will help the teachers to cope up with the changes in
technologies.
There must be regular interactions among the young faculty members, scholars and senior
teachers to build brotherhood to learn from each other. We need to have an interdisciplinary
approach in our curriculum. Therefore, it may be a good idea to induct faculty members with
background in say Sociology, Computer science, Psychology and Management Studies. We need to
gain confidence and Share our research and perspectives with our colleagues from other disciplines.
We need to export more and borrow less.
In this lengthy paper, we have become familiar with the twists and turns of the field and
have also seen and acknowledge that our area of study needs to constantly borrow ideas from
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others. Since our area is a hybrid in nature, it is poised also to generate new ideas. Let us generate
new ideas. The field is huge and there is enough space for all of us to work and generate ideas and
enrich us as well as the others.
Conclusion
We have discussed with some broad strokes the historical and chronological development of
the area of study of Communication. We have also touched upon some of the reasons as to why
there is so much of popularity of the field even though there isn‘t any deeper understanding of the
field. At the political level, we have seen why during the acute political crises the need for
communication is deeply felt.
The academic institutions develop their communication programmes after the society has
gone far ahead with the development of technology. The class rooms have been followers of what
happened in the society. By the time these issues are understood and researched on, the new issues
emerge and make the issues in the classroom dated and irrelevant, even though those may be fresh
and newly introduced ones. Thus, Communication has always been embroiled in debates and
controversy such as field versus discipline, skill versus education, and technology versus
application. The academic programmes are followers of the technologies. Therefore it is
technology-determined and not socially driven.
The technology, particularly communication technology, has become ubiquitous. It is an all
enveloping dark matter in our social life. In the institution of higher education, scholars from
various subject disciplines have been looking at the impact of Communication on their own
disciplines. Therefore, niche areas of study are being created in large number of these disciplines
attaching the name of Communication as prefix or suffix. As stated in the article, one thus can see
that Communication is expanding horizontally instead of vertically, creating areas of disjointed or
thinly linked specializations.
It can thus be concluded that the Communication is still in evolution, a field of study that is
in crises with its identity, seemingly though, a field that has a deficit of understanding, scholarship
and recognition. However, it has tremendous ability to attract attention of scholars and
professionals and thus remains a field of the future.
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REFERENCES
Connell, K. & Hilton, M., Hall, S & the Birmingham Centre for contemporary Cultural Studies.
(n.d). http://discoversociety.org/2014/03/04/stuart-hall-and-the-birmingham-centre-for-
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review, Jubilee Issue, 211-220.

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Development Communication as a Discipline in India


Looking Back, Looking Forward

Bidu Bhusan Dash


Academic Associate in Communication Area
Indian Institute of Management Kashipur
Uttarakhand, India

Abstract
Development Communication in a structured manner has been practised in India since the
rural broadcasting started in 1940s. The journey of Development Communication in India has
witnessed a number of phases. Moreover, a number of universities in India offer Development
Communication as a specialised paper in their master‘s programme of Journalism and Mass
Communication or allied disciplines. In view of the widely expanding scope for media education in
the country, it is now the time to look at various specialisations of it as disciplines. With this
background, I explored Development Communication as a befitting discipline in India.
Commencing from Development Communication in international scenario, the study analysed
course contents of Development Communication in specialised courses as well as full-time
master‘s programmes. Reviewing the history of Development Communication in India, this
exploration analysed theory-praxis connection and structured the future of Development
Communication as an emerging discipline in Journalism School.

Keywords: Development Communication in India, Development Communication Theory, Media


Praxis, Emerging Discipline, Journalism School
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Introduction
Development is indeed a momentous engagement with freedom‘s possibilities (Sen, 1999).
Rogers, a development communication scholar defines development as a widely participatory
process of directed social change in society, intended to bring about both social and material
advancement including greater equality, freedom and other valued qualities for the majority of the
people through their gaining greater control over their environment (Singhal & Domatob, 2004).
Later on, Rogers had added empowerment and sustainable components to his previous definition of
development.
With this brief definition of development, I define development communication from a
critical perspective by looking at a few scholars‘ work. Development Communication is the
interaction of two social processes - development and communication - in any given environment,
where communication is the vehicle that carries development onward (Quebral, 2012).
Development Communication involves the strategic use of communication for the alleviation of
social problems in evolving societies, where role of media is encouraging and inhibiting social
change is absolutely central (Wilkins, 1996). Development Communication is dominated by two
conceptual models - diffusion and participation. Rogers, across 20 years of revisions of Diffusion of
Innovations, moved away from a definition of diffusion as solely a one-way process of message
transmission toward a definition that incorporates participatory aspects (Morris, 2003).
Development Communication in International Academia
Development Communication as a discipline was initiated in the College of Development
Communication (CDC) in the University of the Philippines. The CDC is recognized as the
pioneering institute in the world to start Development Communication as an academic discipline in
1974. Now, it offers bachelor, masters and doctorate degree in Development Communication.
Development Communication as an academic discipline has been expanded to all the continents of
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the world in between. A few European universities like London School of Economics and Political
Science in London, University of Reading in Reading, University of Westminster in London,
Malmo University in Malmo (Sweden), and American Universities like Temple University in
Philadelphia and Ohio University in Athens have master‘s programme on Development
Communication or very much related courses. A few universities from other parts of the world like
Wits University in South Africa and Purbanchal University in Nepal have master‘s programme in
Development Communication.
The programme M.Sc Media, Communication and Development offered by London School
of Economics and Political Science is to provide an advanced interdisciplinary education and
training in contemporary theory and research in the field of media and communications and its
application in the Global South, with a particular emphasis on low income country contexts. M.Sc
Communication for Innovation and Development of the University of Reading builds a critical
understanding of innovation and communication theory in the diverse contexts of international and
local development. MA in Media and Development of the University of Westminster is an
interdisciplinary course that teaches theories, concepts, case studies and practical media skills
around the theme of media and development and its implications for less developed countries.
International web-based master‘s level programme on Communication for Development of Malmo
University in Sweden gives students the skills to work with media and communication in
international development cooperation as well as in other areas. Ohio University includes courses
like development theory, communication for development, strategic communication,
communication theory, and research methods. Temple University provides Master of Science
Programme in Globalization and Development Communication. It tailors academic training to the
needs of practitioners, policy makers, and project managers working in the development sector. The
course includes training in research skills and theory, emphasises effective action and involves a
practicum capstone experience. Most of these master‘s programmes are for one year, which is not
recognised structurally in India. College of Journalism and Mass Communication, affiliated to
Purbanchal University in Biratnagar of Nepal provides semester based two years programme i.e.
Master in Development Communication.
Apart from these master‘s programmes, there are a few journals those are dedicated to
Development Communication. They are the Journal of Development Communication (JDC), the
Philippine Journal of Development Communication (PJDC), and the Journal of Development and
Communication Studies (JDCS). The JDC was started 25 years before by the Asian Institute for
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Development Communication, Malaysia and still continuing. The PJDC was started in this series in
2008 by the University of the Philippines Los Banos College of Development Communication.
Though it seems from the website that the journal is dead, Ma Theresa H. Velasco, the dean of
CDC told in a personal mail that the PJDC is the official and peer-reviewed journal of CDC which
continues to come out to this day, albeit late. Their aim, aside from regularising publication, is to
increase the impact factor of the articles in PJDC. The JDCS is published by Development Media
Consulting, Malawi to explore linkages between communication and human development since
2012. With this brief background of internationalisation of Development Communication
education, I explored the status of Development Communication as a discipline in India.
Research Questions
What is Development Communication today? How is Development Communication
defined? How has Development Communication shifted from service to action? How has this shift
helped in building new concepts and theories? What is the future of Development Communication
and how is it evolving?
When Development Communication is taught in a few American and European universities
considering third world, especially Latin America, Africa and South Asia as field to experiment,
what is the status of Development Communication Education in India?
What are there in Development Communication as a specialisation and what is more in the
course, where it is a two years master‘s programme? If Development Communication will be
emerged as a discipline in Indian universities, what may be there in the course content and
pedagogy to teach at master‘s level? What may be other probable activities led by the faculty
members to strengthen the discipline?
Methodology
There are a few universities in India those provide master‘s in Development
Communication. However, there are some other universities those provide specialisation in
Development Communication. Hence, the study confined to the universities those are providing
Master‘s in Development Communication. They are Jamia Millia Islamia, Gujarat University,
Utkal University and G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology. Nevertheless,
Development Communication as a specialisation was also analysed. They are Aligarh Muslim
University, Bangalore University, Banaras Hindu University, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha
University, Guru Nanak Dev University, Punjabi University, Visva- Bharati, Tata Institute of
Social Sciences and Institute of Rural Management Anand. There are three central universities, four
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state universities and two professional institutes were included in the study.
Development Communication in Practice in India
Development Communication in India was started in a structured method with rural radio
broadcasting in 1940s, though the origin of the Indian School of development communication can
be traced from the rich traditions of folk media and indigenous knowledge communications
(Manyozo, 2012). It was enriched with community development projects in 1950s (Dube, 1958).
Later on, international non-governmental organisations including agencies of United Nations
(Neurath, 1957) and agricultural universities through their extension programmes experimented
Development Communication in India (Nagel, 1980). The Satellite Instructional Television
Experiment (SITE) programme in 1980s (Chander & Karnik, 1976; Agrawal, 1981), ICT
programme from late 1990s to early 2000s (Rao, 2008; Mukherji, 2013) and community radio
programmes (Pavarala & Malik, 2007; Dash, 2015) in twenty-first century supplemented to
Development Communication in India.
Though Development Communication as a structured method was initiated in India since
1940s, as a discipline it came too late. Indian Institute of Mass Communication was set up in 1965
by the Government of India with one of the objectives to train journalists, mostly from Afro-Asian
countries on communication for development. Presently, it provides a diploma course in
Development Journalism of four months duration for mid-career journalists from non-aligned and
developing countries to upgrade their skills. As it is a short term course, only info-skills is included
in the course. Though the institute was set up to take part in national development of the country 50
years before, still Development Communication could not be emerged as a one year Diploma
programme in the institute. There is no master‘s programme in this institute, whereas Development
Communication could stand as a discipline in international academia.
Development Communication in Teaching in India
Most of the universities in India provide master‘s programme in Mass Communication and
Journalism. A few of them provide Master‘s in Media and Cultural Studies. In case of Mass
Communication and Journalism, both print and electronic media are emphasised. In the same note,
movie and documentary making is emphasised in Media and Cultural Studies. A very few
universities in India provides Master‘s in Development Communication. For instance, the Gujarat
University in Ahmedabad and Anwar Jamal Kidwai Mass Communication Research Centre (AJK-
MCRC) of Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi provide master‘s in Development Communication.
AJK-MCRC had started a diploma course on Development Communication in 2002, which was
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converted into master‘s programme from 2013, considering the demand of the course by the
development professionals. Though the course has given good space for theories and understanding
of development, it has not included social media and new media for development in the course
curriculum. Utkal University in Bhubaneswar provides masters in Development Journalism and
Electronic Communication. This course was initiated under the Department of Political Science of
the university, which has shifted to Department of Public Administration. The course content of the
programme is very much similar to Mass Communication. The course includes Introduction to
Mass Communication, Press Law, Media Management, Reporting, Editing, Advertising and Public
Relations, Information Technology, Electronic Media, Print Technology and Graphic Design,
Media and Society, and Communication Research. Apart from these classroom teachings there are
practical components those include reporting and editing practical, internship and dissertation.
Apart from master‘s programme, Development Communication is also taught as a
specialised or elective subject in a few universities in India. For instance, Banaras Hindu University
provides one of the specialisations in Development Communication. This specialisation provides
concepts and theories of development, application of development communication in various
socioeconomic and cultural fields in Indian situation, alternative approach to development, and
project assignment. In some universities, Development Communication is taught as a unit in a
semester. As it is a compulsory unit, all students are given scope to study. One of them is Aligarh
Muslim University.
There are more than fifty agricultural universities in India, who give Masters of Science in
Agriculture, where Agricultural Communication, Extension Education or Extension
Communication is considered as an optional course. A few of the Agricultural Universities provide
master‘s programme either in Agricultural Communication, Extension Education or Extension
Communication. For instance, the Department of Agricultural Communication in Govind Ballabh
Pant University of Agriculture and Technology provides master‘s programme since 1981.
However, the department changed its degree title from time to time. In 1994, it was changed from
Agricultural Communication to Development Communication. It was renamed as Agricultural
Extension and Communication in 2005, keeping the directives of ICAR in mind for uniform
curriculum in the country (Personal interview, 2015). Though there is a good number of
Agricultural Universities, no such universities provide Masters in Development Communication
and a very few has programmes like Agricultural Communication. The CDC, the Philippines had
started Agricultural Communication in 1960s, which converted this course to Development
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Communication. Even a few general universities like SNDT Women‘s University in Mumbai
provide master‘s programme in extension education.
There are three universities in India, which are set up specifically for Journalism and Mass
Communication teaching and research. They are Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of
Journalism and Communication (1991) at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Kushabhau Thakre
Patrakarita Avam Jansanchar Vishwavidyalaya (2004) at Raipur in Chhatisgarh and Haridev Joshi
University of Journalism and Mass Communication at Jaipur in Rajasthan. These universities have
master‘s programme mostly on Journalism, Mass Communication, Advertising and Public
Relations, Media anagement and a few other courses like Social Work, Indology and Heritage
Management, and Computer Application those are less relevant to their core area. However, none
of these universities has Development Communication as a two years master‘s programme. Even,
presence of Development Communication is silent in other master‘s programme, either as an
elective or minor.
Course Curriculum- How New is it?
Simply speaking, Development Communication means role or use of communication for
development. Does the course curriculum of universities in India have thought beyond this? Or,
simply, they are training on role of communication for development. Taking the instance of Los
Banos, Librero (2007) cites that curricular programmes in development communication are static,
which has not been changed substantially in the last five years. If I will take the instance from
India, course curriculum of Development Journalism and Electronic Communication of Utkal
University, Bhubaneswar has not been changed since its beginning in 2000. The course curriculum
of Development Communication in India has to include a few more cases beyond SITE, for
instance, Jhabua Development Communication Project in 1990s, Khabar Lahariya in 2000s (Naqvi,
2007) and Akshaya project of Kerala in twenty-firstcentury (Palackal & Shrum, 2007). The
suggestive reading list is yet to be updated by adding a few more latest published books and
research articles on Development Communication, which were published in the first decade of
twenty-first century to the suggested readings for our students. Recently, a few faculty members
had expressed their sorrows that curriculum of their departments have not been changed for a long
time.
Development Communication was carried out in line with nationally established policy.
Hence it was based on the use of media as a support to national development programmes like
poverty alleviation, population control, literacy drive, employment generation scheme, or in a
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similar note, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan or International Yoga Day. Time has come to design course
curriculum of Development Communication in such a way that it can look beyond the state
propaganda and towards advocacy and empowerment (White, 2004).
When there is a growing sense that existing media have failed to serve the purposes of
development, most of the existing course curriculum includes the skills limited to mainstream
media. Mda (1993) cites that the theatre is used as a way of increasing popular participation in the
development process. Hornik (1988) cites that first generation of development communication has
been largely unsuccessful because of challenges like inequities, poverty; exploitative economic
relations are more powerful influences than media in the Third World whereas second generation of
development communication is some extent successful because of participatory in nature. Hornik
(1988) prescribes for doing information for development with integration, patience, political
feasibility and responsiveness. The dominant paradigm of mass media communication, which is
mostly one-way communication flow did not lead to widespread development in the Third World.
Hence, scholars search for other conception of development communication (Casmir, 1991). In this
regards, the course curriculum of Development Communication in India may include other skills
such as rapport building, community engagement, etc. and media like theatre in the courses.
There are many challenges in front of the nation for its development. If these challenges can
be compartmentalised, they can be included in the course curriculum. They may be caste, gender,
conflict and communal harmony. All these, however, comprise the range of problems that affect
human and social development. They may be new legitimate areas of concern for development
communication.
Clubbing Others into Development Communication
What will be the status of Agricultural Communication after a few years or decades, when
agrarian society is transforming into industrial society? There are slums, poverty and unhygienic
conditions in the slums, exploitation of slum dwellers in these micro habitations. How can
agricultural communication address these issues? Can a Development Communication framework
will help in this direction? When role of communication has shifted from change and development
to empowerment, how extension education that is top- down in nature can achieve it? Can
extension and agricultural communication be the part of broad framework of Development
Communication?
Theory-Praxis Connexion
Development Communication as a discipline cannot stand alone without the theories of
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development whereas, there are a few normative theories of media and communication such as
modernisation theory and dependency theory those are taught in most of the universities. A few
have come over these theories and taught feminist theories, power theories and so on. But, it seems
there may be a gap between theories and practices in the course curriculum, which does not give
any scope to young students and scholars to understand ideologies and theories. It also seems that
we are doing polytechnic - just a few skills to report and edit. There is neither such meaningful
research nor the theories embodied in curriculum. I interrogate whether we, the students of
Development Communication think on theories.
Either practitioner turned academician or academicians engaged in industry can bring a
good interaction among classroom and newsroom. Internship, professional projects, thesis,
comprehensive exams, independent study, seminar may be a few activities which may add flavour
to Development Communication as well as strengthen it.
Scope of Development Communication
Development Communication is an interdisciplinary course. It needs synthetic coordination
with other domains of knowledge. Hence, there is wider scope. Development Communication is an
extraordinary broad field. It covers a wide range of topics, from the traditional themes of
agriculture, health and public awareness, to newer areas such as governance, small and medium
enterprises (SMEs), urban development, youth, etc. (Nair, n.d.). In Mass Communication,
Development Communication is treated as a selective, elective or specialised course. But, when
Development Communication will stand alone as a discipline, there will be many compartments
within its structure. They may be behavioural change, gender, human rights, conflict resolution,
social change, documentary, public policy, health, social movement and empowerment and so on.
With these many compartments in Development Communication course, students having
master‘ s degree in Development Communication, they can work as communication officer in
international and national repute organisations. They can work in other sectors like corporate social
responsibility, agriculture and extension, community development, research, and development
practice. Even, they can work in mainstream media as reporters or editors to contribute in the
development page or section of the concerned media houses. Hence, there is a great need to build
capacity of students through proper facilities, course curriculum, pedagogy, and faculty members.
Students can be involved with internship in reputed organisations, which may be media houses,
NGOs or alternative agencies. At the same time they can be involved in service learning projects in
the local communities.
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Conclusion and Future Research


While most of the master‘s programmes in America and Europe are for one year, master‘s
programmes in India are for two years. Hence, Indian academics need more content comparing to
its western counterparts to design a master‘s programme in Development Communication. Though
challenging, it is doable as India is a vast field of Development Communication praxis.
A few questions came to my mind for further enquiry. They are - Cannot Development
Communication be focused as an academic study? Cannot a group of professionals be emerged by
studying Development Communication? Cannot Development Communication invite academia and
experts to enquire new knowledge? Knowledge may be epistemological and / or methodological,
may be theoretical and / or empirical. Cannot Development Communication overcome challenges
to prove as a discipline? It may not stand as a unidisciplinary subject. But, what is the problem to
be recognised as a transdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary
subject. All these areas are also disciplines. Cannot Development Communication expand to
teaching, research, advocacy and action? Cannot Development Communication be expanded to
many branches such as C for C, C for D, C for E, etc.? In case of C for E, it may be proper
representation of resistance of the marginalised groups. What may be the new paradigm? We are
moving to development communication to empowerment communication or rights based
communication. However, I stick to Development Communication as a discipline as it includes
empowerment and rights components.

REFERENCE
Agrawal, B. C. (1981). SITE social evaluations: Results, experiences and implications. Ahmedabad:
Space Applications Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation.

Casmir, F. L. (1991). Communication in development. Ablex Pub.

Chander, R. & Karnik, K. (1976).Planning for satellite broadcasting: The Indian instructional
television experiment. Paris: UNESCO.

Dash, B. B. (2015).Media for empowerment: A study of community radio initiatives in


Bundelkhand.(Unpublished PhD Thesis), Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

Dube, S. C. (1958). India‘s changing villages: Human factors in community development. London:
Routledge.

Hernik, R. C. (1988). Development communication: Information, agriculture, and nutrition in the


third world. New York: Longman.
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Librero, F. (2007).Quo vadis, development communication?The Journal of Development


Communication, 18 (2), 71-78.

Manyozo, L. (2012). Media, communication and development: Three approaches. New Delhi:
Sage.

Mda, Z. (1993). When people play people: Development communication through theatre.Witwaters
and University Press.

Morris, N. (2003). A comparative analysis of the diffusion and participatory models in development
communication.Communication Theory, 13 (2), 225-248.

Mukerji, M. (2013).ICTs and development: A study of telecentres in rural India. Palgrave:


Macmillan.

Nagel, U. J. (1980).Institutionalization of knowledge flows: An analysis of the extension role of two


agricultural universities in India. Frankfurt: DLG-Verlag.

Nair, P. (n.d.). Career in development communication.Employment News.

Naqvi, F. (2007).Waves in the Hinterland: The journey of a newspaper. New Delhi: Nirantar.

Neurath, P. (1957). Evaluation of the UNESCO air experiment with radio farm forum at AIR
Poona.Bombay: Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

Palackal, A. & Shrum, W. (2007).Information society and development: The Kerala experience.
New Delhi: Rawat.

Pavarala, V. & Malik, K. K. (2007).Other voices: The struggle for community radio in India. New
Delhi: Sage.

Quebral, N. C. (2012). Development communication primer. Penang: Southbound.

Rao, S. S. (2008). Social development in Indian rural communities: Adoption of telecentres.


International Journal of Information Management, 28, 474-482.

Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Singhal, A. & Domatob, J. (2004). The field of development communication: an appraisal - a


conversation with Professor Everett M Rogers. The Journal of Development
Communication, 15 (2), 51-55.

White, R. A. (2004). Is ‗empowerment‘ the answer? Current theory and research on development
communication.Gazette: The International Journal for Communication Studies, 66 (1), 7-24.

Wilkins, K. G. (1996). Development communication.Peace review: A Journal of Social Justice, 8


(1), 97-103.
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Revisiting Pedagogy in the New Age: Reference to the


Teaching of Journalism & Mass Communication and
Its Challenges in Northeast India
Caroline Wahlang
Journalism and Mass Communication
EFL University, Shillong Campus

Introduction
Of the many definitions of education, Mahatma Gandhi‘s definition stands out not only
because of its simplicity but of the connotation it carries and also being in harmony with times. He
defined education as ‗...all round drawing out the best in child and man, body, mind and spirit.‘
The definition connoted different meanings at different period of times and suited as per the
demands of time. Today, in the twenty-first century crisis, when we look closely, the definition
seems even more apt and most appropriate. The underlying message of the definition is quite clear.
Education should be the means of drawing out the best in a student. Education should bring a
unified holistic completeness in a human being - body, mind, and spirit; the urgent need of the
twenty-first century education.
The needs, demands and aim of education have changed over a period of time with different
aspirations in different centuries. As we cross over to the twenty-first century, the needs, demands,
aspirations, and priorities have drastically altered. The old pedagogical approaches of the 3 R‘s do
not seem to be fulfilling to the challenging times of technological advancement in a globalised
world. The twentieth century has witnessed the trials and tribulations of the educational system that
was conceived in the late eighteenth and nineteenth century; practiced and continuing till today.
Numerous seminars, conferences and symposiums on education have echoed almost the same voice
of revamping the present educational system; making it more relevant, practical in meeting the ever
changing demands of the present knowledge-based technological society.
A particular video posted in YouTube is of the view that 'one cannot anticipate what will
happen to the market in weeks to come, how do we anticipate of preparing our students to meet the
demands of the 21st century.‘ The video is also of the view that today‘s education is no longer
relevant as it does not meet the needs of today and was driven by the economic imperative of the
past; Education was for the intellectual model of the mind essentially during the enlightenment
period. The problem is that the current system of education is designed, conceived and structured
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for a different age. The video goes on to say that today‘s education was conceived for the
intellectual culture of the enlightenment and in the economic circumstances of the industrial
revolution. The problem is - they are trying to meet the future by doing what they did in the past
hence alienating millions of kids who see no purpose of going to school. Sadly enough, the video
claimed that today‘s educational systems is anesthetic and are still behaving as manufacturing units
meant for further industrialization.
In short, academic excellence is achieved by shutting down the senses of the learner and
ramming down the throat with facts to be memorized. Just as the magic needle, education, often
repugnantly equated for wisdom, is injected to their defenseless deadened body. Not a wonder
indeed why our educational system failed so miserably and desolately.
The age of industrialization is long gone. Human societies have now evolved from the
agricultural base to the industrial base to the automation-communication technology base, ushering
in what has been called the "post-industrial" society or the ‗knowledge-based‘ society. The twenty-
first century has brought with it the factors of globalization. The advancement brought about by the
overwhelming use of science coupled with the miniaturization of technology has increased the
possibilities of things that are otherwise unthought-of and impossible or beyond the imagination of
an ordinary or lay person. As we are progressing in the century the tinge of niche globalization, a
special and recent trend or characteristics of the present form of globalization, is getting more
prominent. In simple words, it is globalization with local characteristics or customized
globalization. The challenge is how we optimize the locally available resources while aiming for
globalization. Science and technology-based knowledge society has characteristics of special
significance for future-oriented education. The challenge is how we are optimizing the use of
available technological resources to educate our young minds aesthetically by engaging them body,
mind and spirit. The fast changing world of the Classroom 2.0 provides for the colosseum for the
academic rivalry between the digital migrants and the digital natives. Plain as the nose on your face,
we know who the winner is. The question for the digital migrant educator is what next and how?
Education in Twenty-first Century
A feature in Edtech Digest (2010) survey of what comprises twenty-first century education
came up with interesting remarks from various educators. Some of the excerpts are:
―Twenty-first century skills and tools are essential to any educator these days. The ability to
use technology to bring education alive is what our students search for,‖ says Greg Limperis.
―To ready the citizens of tomorrow, we need to align the curriculum to Generation 2.0,‖
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says Trupti Gandhi.


―I suppose these are 20th century values of civics and character education—but who is
going to teach this?‖ Christine Jacobsen.
The definitions and the insights by the 21st century education advocators do not differ much
in the context. The feature also suggested that at their core the most important twenty-first century
skills are the ability to communicate, connect, create, and collaborate and to solve problems—
quickly, easily, and clearly. Twenty-first century schools will be laced with the project based
curriculum for life aimed at engaging students in addressing real life problems, issues important to
humanities, ethicalities and questions that matter. This will be a dramatic departure from the factory
model education of the past; it is abandonment, finally, of the text-book driven, teacher centered
and a new way of understanding the concept of knowledge. Hence a new way of designing and
delivery of the curriculum is required. The unique characteristic of the 21st century knowledge
society is the fusion of knowledge and its application that provides for fertile ground for a spinoff
of ripples generating more knowledge and more applications.
Teachers as ‗gatekeepers‘ of knowledge no longer hold true. New age society is the ‗open‘
society where pupils think and create and become free. New age education is letting the floodgates
of information for a healthy, effective, and lifelong learning that is relevant, useful and applicable
to the world outside the classroom. The changing roles of the ‗teacher‘, the ‗taught‘ and
‗curriculum‘ need to be redesigned and cannot remain isolated or indifferent. More than ever
before, education must be visionary and future-oriented, in the face of startling scientific and
technological innovations and changes, unprecedented socio-economic challenges and
opportunities, surprising socio-political reforms, and amazing cultural reawakening says Alejandro
in her Journalism in the Age of Social Media.
The Teachers‟ Dilemma - the Challenges Ahead
The rapid societal change that is spread out by the relentless and inexorable technologies has not
left education untouched. The question of whether to integrate them into education is no longer
valid. Educators have no option but to integrate them. Some of the challenges for the educators are:
1. We cannot anticipate what the future will look like but we can create it the way we would
prefer it from its wide array of possibilities.
2. The future is not someplace we are going. It is one we are creating (Report of the
Symposium, 1989)and is already here. Hence the question is no longer of when but how.
Many educators are in a quandary of what to do next. Many are at the crossroads.
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3. Digital migrant educators have to overcome the fear that technologies will never replace
them but supplement them. Bill Gates in his Road Ahead vehemently stressed it. The fear
needs to be overcome; and sooner the better.
4. Digital migrant educators will have to view and envision these new technologies just the
way the digital natives see or view them.
5. Knowledge networks are emerging as the new educational structures. Collaborating and
networkingcan go to a great extend in overcoming that fear in supplementing their role as a
facilitator of lifelong learning.
6. How to identify, select and usethose technologies that are beneficialfor learners; those that
suits the needs and those that have the potential in supplementing the process of learning
while preparing them to face the world of the 21st century; those that shout the loudest are
not necessarily the best.
7. Guiding the learners not to lose track to the outcry of technologies; guiding them for a
positive outlook towards the usage of such technological tools for theoverall development
of body, mind and spirit; an overall sustainable development by respecting the nature and
environment, protection and promotion of culture; maintaining highest ethical standards; a
responsible sense of rights and responsibilities.
8. Technological tools should be viewed and use as learning technologythan teaching
technology.
Mass Media and Journalism
Digital migrant educators in the specialized field of Mass Communication and Journalism
or simply Media Literacy or Media Studies without a doubt are the most affected by the paradigm
shift in the way how media is understood and studied in the 18th, 19th century; practiced in the 20th
century and what the media scenario now is in the 21st century. The fusion of the knowledge based
society with applications and the impracticality to keep track to the half-understood ever evolving
media technologies is a big set back to the digital migrant educators in media studies/education.
Media basics are being redefined and reshaped by emerging, fast and powerful technologies.
―Mass‖ is now localized in preferential segments. ―Marketing‖ has morphed into a different image
and functionality altogether. ―Journalism‖ has undergone drastic change in its content, packaging
and delivery. Mediamorphosis is to the extent of challenging the old traditional Concepts,
Modelsand Theories of media itself and prophesized that many will be redundant. Media is now
how big corporations define it. It is all a matter of choice and how we prefer it.
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As knowledge is power as the old saying goes, a digital migrant educator must keep pace to
all the tools of the new knowledge driven society or be left out behind. As the floodgate of
information pool is let out, the educator becomes too just another tool of technology. Marshal
McLuhan is still right ‗Medium is the message‘.
The challenge to media educators is to understand the medium for effective, intended and
desirous outcome. Equally important, as the media is the vehicle for the evolution of these
knowledge-based societies and as knowledge and skills become complex, there is an inherent
tendency for power to be corrupted in the hands of the powerful few. The divide between the
‗knows‘ and the ‗knows-not‘ will be sharper and deeper than any divide created by wealth and
economic privilege. It is here that the role of the media educators is even more crucial.
Current trends in Media
News today is not the same as pre-satellite news when people waited for their morning
papers or sat down at an appointed time for the evening news on television. The claims that
conventional media are the sole champions of authority, objectivity and quality will be (and is
being) challenged (Beckett, 2008). Today, it is all about personal media. Today, many stories are
received third hand and even more through social networking tools and by the time a story is
assigned to a reporter, the story is already out there in the social media universe. People now want
real time information and that too now. The context of the industry‘s concept of a scoop or breaking
news is changing. Journalists are forced to accelerate the conventional journalistic process because
or be labeled as redundant. Reporters are now required to submit stories for multiple platforms -
television, radio, print and online. For a journalist in today‘s media landscape, it is essential to be
multi-skilled. For many people, traditional news media is considered an ―additional‖ means to get
information. They prefer Facebook and Twitter to the traditional means.
William Dutton of the Oxford Internet Institute termed social media as the emergence of the
Fifth Estate (Alejandro, n.d). For instance the news about the death of Michael Jackson in 2009,
Facebook and Twitter users broke the story ahead of any major news network. That single story
proved beyond a doubt about how news is consumed and disseminated in social media, how far it
can reach and how fast. Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter as well as web 2.0
applications like blogs and Google have changed the news industry and the journalism practice
inside out.
Speed or immediacy is the aspect of social media that helps them best in receiving news.
Editors used twitter the most to get or receive news. Audience Reach is the aspect of social media
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that helps them best in distributing news stories. The Twitter Effect is revolutionizing how news is
gathered, packaged and delivered. The Korean group recommends that conventional news media
need to strongly integrate with social media such as Facebook or Twitter; the new medium is
obviously Internet rather than paper or TV (Alejandro, 2010).
These social media tools present awesome possibilities and at the same time a high risk for
errors. Trust, accuracy and identity are the main risks. The challenges social media and web 2.0
have thrown to news managements and journalists have been like nothing seen before and this is
where the traditional role of the journalist still comes into play.
Advertising/Marketing
Consumers are going to be more receptive to, and engaged with, the advertising, but they
are going to reserve memory and subsequent discussion for the best of the best. One of the most
powerful things about new social media is that it allows an organization to establish a direct
discourse with its customers. Just as people have moved from passive consumers to active
customers, the dynamic of the consumer-business relationship has changed from one of passive
monologues to an active, two-way discussion. Business will be more Individualized, and markets
are more Free.
Some of the challenges for the new age advertisers are the growth of many social tools that
ushered in a new concept of advertising and marketing. Some of these concepts and technologies
like mobile video advertising, viral marketing, an approach called Big-Seed marketing, (which
combines viral-marketing tools with old-fashioned mass media in a way that yields far more
predictable results than ―purely‖ viral approaches like word-of-mouth marketing), the Semantic
Web are some of the challenges that new age advertisers and marketers need to cope up in order to
survive in the demanding market. Augmented Reality, a fast ever evolving social media tool will
revolutionize the traditional forms of advertising techniques.
Media education in Northeast India
Northeast India lives in its diversified small towns and villages. Currently, there are many
colleges/institutes/universities that offer mass communication and journalism as a course. Some of
its towns and cities do offer the best destinations for education but facts remain that the Northeast
comparatively lacks to be at par with major IT cities of the country. Majority of media
institutes/colleges/universities in the region are still lagging behind in terms of basic standardized
infrastructural facilities. Employing hi-end technologies is still a distant dream. At best technology
in education has been limited to browsing the net for added information academically and other
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minor college or university projects.


This, however, is not to say that students are not aware or has not used these fast-end
technologies in their personal space. Quite on the contrary, social media or other Web 2.0 tools
have taken a big revolutionary step in the way how students connect, socialize and network with
each other in their personal space. The unmatched freedom of information to broadcast and
rebroadcast, to create, to curate and to consume media content obtained from the wide array of
social media technologies created a wide gulf between their virtual world and that of their real. The
line between virtual and real is not only thin but blurred. This led to stress, frustrations, annoyance,
displeasure and dissatisfaction on both ends - the teacher and the taught.
There is a huge gap of how the learners approach learning and how the educators approach
teaching. Media education in the region is by and large stuck to the old traditional way of text book
learning the ‗history of media‘ (theoretical) and less emphasis on the practicality that suits the
needs, demands of the time. A time has come that we cannot imagine a purposeful media education
by leaving out the twenty-first century new media technology tools and as educators we cannot be
complacent to having failed to understand the nature of how these media technologies have
revolutionized communication, as a subject matter, both vertically and horizontally. Information
Communication Technology (ICT) as a subject cannot be taught independent of it but it has to be
practically integrative along other subjects. The greatest challenge to media educators is to
understand the nature of these medium. The message is still the medium.
Specific Challenges
Technological problems do not yield to technological solutions alone as the belief goes. The
technological outbursts of the newer forms of social media technologies have led to a sense of crisis
as well. What we see often is the crisis of values. The power derived from the unprecedented
capabilities for doing things, the know-how, has outpaced by far the capacity of knowing what and
why. The know-how has brought the power to control, to subdue, to direct; and by its very efficacy,
it has weakened and progressively displaced the perception and discernment of the ends that
transcend the know-how.
Secondly, "economic values" are basically in conflict with "human values". Educational
goals have therefore to be envisioned as choices relative both to the social purposes and
responsibility and to the individual empowerment and development. In the process of reflecting on
educational goals for a changing society, one must face the questions: what kind of future society is
likely to be shaped by a particular type of education, and what characteristic of the individual will
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contribute to a desirable society? The challenge is now to identify the short term as well as long
term objectives and goals.
Short term
 Qualitative education that is based on broad based learning.
 Social Learning as a pedagogical method of instruction
 Learning should be collaborative, tech-powered and blended
 The integration of the social media technologies and the incorporation of 1) skill-specific
education 2)social learningfacilitated by technology and, and 3) learning-on-the-
gosupported not just by mobile devices and internet connectivity, but by the availability of
sophisticated applications with few barriers will expand learning to students seeking flexible
access to education(online learning insight, 2004)
Long term
 Integrative education for the all round development of the human person; body, mind and
spirit.
 Using social media technologies to address real world problems, developing a practical
sense of rights and responsibilities.
Social tools like Classroom 2.0, Teacher Tube, PBS Teachers and others; and social
media learning networks like Edmodo, Edutopia educators team-teach can immensely aid
the new age media educators.
Media educators will have a big role to play in guiding the young learners the
effective, productive, ethical and positive use of the vast array of social media technologies.
The secret is; digital migrant media educators have to overcome the fear of these
technologies understand the nature of how these media functions and empower and utilize
them to the best possible manner.
Recommendations
As Singh wrote it the same can be applied to Mass Communication Studies.
The new thinking of media education has to be integrative.
 Economic, human, environmental and social well being are integrated,
 Materials and mind are integrated in development;
 Science and religious values are integrated;
 Education is integral in all developments;
 Ethical education is not a separate subject but integral in all affairs;
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 Thus learning is development;


 The purpose of education and development is identical, i.e., to produce learning persons and
a learning society.
 mediais a vehicle for the integration and a higher synthesis of the needs of the individuals
and societal responsibilities.
Conclusion
To end, as educators we all know and understand theoretically the purpose of education: an
all round development- body, mind and spirit. Unfortunately, theoretically the approach has been
superficially emphasized but possibly less successfully applied practically. Media educators cannot
afford to do this anymore. The time is to change and that is NOW.

REFERENCE

Alejandro. J, (2010).Journalism in the age of social media.Reuters Institute for Journalism,


University of Oxford.
Beckett, C. (2008). Super media: Saving journalism so it can save the world. Wiley- Blackwell.
Changing Education Paradigms. (n.d). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U,
Retrieved on September 10, 2015.
Eadie, W. F. (2009).21st Century Communication A reference Handbook, Vol 1&2.USA: Sage
Publications.
EdTech Digest (2010). Moving Forward: 21 Definitions for a 21st Century Education, 45-51.
Greg. (2010). 5-trends-that-will-shape-the-future-of-advertising.http://www.digitaltonto.com/
2010/5- trends-that-will-shape-the-future-of-advertising/, Retrieved on September 10, 2015.
Shankland, S. (2009).The Twitter Effect: Possibilities and Limits. http://www.cnet.com/news/the-
twitter-effect-possibilities-and-limits/, Retrieved on September 9, 2015.
Sharpless, M.(2014)Innovating Pedagogy 2014. www.openuniversity.edu/.../
The_Open_University_Innovating_Pedagogy, Retrieved on October 15, 2015.
Singh, R. R. (1991). Education for the 21st Century Asia Pacific Perspectives. Bangkok:
UNESCO.
Three trends that will influence teaching and learning
(2014).https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/three-trends-that-will-
influence- learning-and-teaching-in-2015/, Retrieved on September 9, 2015.
Zargham, H. (2012). Professional Teacher for 21st Century. Journal of Engineering, Science &
Management Education, J. Engg. Sc. Mgmt. Ed. Vol-5 Issue-II (480-482).
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Media Education in Manipur: Prospects and Challenges


Narengbam Premjit Sing
Research Scholar,
Department of Mass Communication,
Assam University, Silchar.

Abstract

Media boom creates the pressing need for trained manpower to meet the ever increasing job
demands. Consequently, it led to the growth of media institutes imparting media education.
Manipur, an under reported state of North East India, has also witnessed the media boom on a
small scale. But , hardly any government or private institutes are embracing media education
except a few institutes or organizations like Manipur University, Department of Information and
Public Relations( Govt. of Manipur), IGNOU ( Manipur) that run courses for Journalism and Mass
Communication. Out of 120 colleges in Manipur, only DDU Community College (launched in 2015)
at DM College of Science and Manipur College (Imphal) is offering media related courses. The
state of Manipur has more than 4000 schools which are affiliated to Board of Secondary Education
Manipur and Council of Higher Secondary Education Manipur and follows SCERT prescribed
syllabus. Besides, dozens of schools exist in Manipur which are affiliated to CBSE (Central Board
of Secondary Education, Manipur) and ICSE (Indian Council of Secondary Education) and follows
the NCERT syllabus. But, hardly any one of these colleges and schools does include media
education as part of their syllabi. Does the media education imparted by few institutes is really
sufficient enough to meet the demands of media industry in Manipur? In this context, it is
imperative to look at the present media education scenario in Manipur and rethink of the system.
Therefore, the present paper deals with the prospects and challenges of media education in
Manipur.

Key words: Media Education, Manipur, Prospects and Challenges.


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Brief Sketch of Mass Media in Manipur


Beginning with the publication of Meetei Chanu by Hijam Irabot in 1920s, media industry in
Manipur carves out a niche in the media-sphere of North East Region. Today, Manipur is having
164 registered newspapers and periodicals (60 dailies,3 tri-bi weeklies,19 weeklies,12
fortnighlies,45 monthlies,9 quarterlies, 5 annuals and 11 other periodicals) as per the report of Press
in India, 2012. Mainly, the publications are in English, Hindi, Manipuri, while some are bilingual
and multilingual. Some of the publications are Kangla Pao (Manipuri), The Cham(Kabuei),
Aja(Tangkhul), Zalen Banner (Thadou), Lamka-Post(Paite), Chayol Pao (Hindi), Poknapham
(Manipuri), Imphal Free Press (English), Heiyen Lanpao (Meitie Mayek),The Eastern
Frontier(Monthly News Journal), Pandam (Meitie Mayek Monthly Journal), Women and Crime In
Manipur, Mapao (bi-annual literary journal), Sahei(Kuki, monthly story magazine) and others.
Besides, scores of satellite Channels and national dailies like The Telegraph, The Times of India,
The Hindustan Times, The Statesmen, The Telegraph, and magazines like Frontline and Wisdom
are present in Manipur with limited viewers and circulation.
In Manipur, media house like All India Radio, Doordarshan Kendra, Press Information
Bureau, Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity, and Department of Information and Public
Relations are run by government (either state or central). But, other media houses are run privately.
Presently, All India Radio, Imphal has two channels-Kangla Channel and Sangai Channel (FM
servie). Besides, it is regularly broadcasting programmes and the Doordarshan Kendra Imphal also
broadcasts programmes through narrowcasting for hilly regions. Catering to the local needs of the
people, private media houses like Image TV Kakching, Hornbill Cable Network in Churachandpur,
Impact TV Imphal, ISTV(Information Service Television)netwok Imphal, Tamna Radio Uchiwa
and others are broadcasting programmes with local content.The state is having two agencies namely
Newmai News Network and Universal News Agency. Scores of correspondents and stringers for
national and international media houses exist in Manipur. Some of those media houses are The
Statesman, The Telegraph, NE TV, ANI, Reuters-TV, UNI, PTI, Sahara Samay and The Hindu. By
winning accolades and recognition at national and international arena, Manipuri cinema has its
strong presence felt in the regional film industry of India. Today, more than 100 producers are
theres in Manipuri film industry. Out of Home media (OOH) is an inevitable part of media industry
in Manipur. The roadside of district headquarters are mushrooming with hoarding/billboards,
posters and banners. Not only the building walls but also the fencing walls are occupied with
messages with or without pictures. Some of the advertising agencies that offer services in Manipur
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are Dina Art, Singh Art, Narayana Advertising Agency, Dina Art, Bell Advertising Agency and
Web of Life Media. Manipur is proud of its rich cultural heritage. Therefore, the traditional media
like Shumang Leela are part of Manipuri life. New media like internet and mobile communication
have already impacted the lives of the people.
Media Education in Manipur
At this age of TRPs and media boom, Manipur, the boarder state of India is still at the initial
stage of media education. The literacy rate of Manipur is 76.26 % (Census, 2011) which is higher
than the national level. In Manipur, more than 4000 schools (Census, 2001) exist currently. But, all
these schools are hardly found imparting media education. A few private schools like Little Flower
School (Sangaiprou, Imphal) used to have activities related with media education as part of extra-
curricular activities. So far, no regular courses are introduced in any of the schools in Manipur
except Jhonstone Higher Secondary School (Imphal) which hasa journalism course as part of
vocational trade started 25 years ago. Manipur has 89 government colleges and 31 private colleges
as per Department of University and Higher Education (Govt. of Manipur). But, none of the
colleges in Manipur have incorporated media education either as part of regular syllabus or extra-
curricular activities. Recently, the state government has introduced two vocational courses in each
governmental college under the skill development scheme of central government. As part of the
scheme, courses like media production are being introduced at DDU community college (D.M.
College of Science) and under graduate courses in Journalism and Mass Communication at Manipur
College, Imphal from the current academic session. At the higher level, regular courses on
Journalism and Mass Communication are being taught at the Department of Mass Communication
at Manipur University since a decade. Besides, a regular Ph.D programme has already been started
at the department. A few institute like L.B. Institute (Thangal Bazar, Imphal) used to run
M.Philcourses through distance mode in collaboration with some universities. The IGNOU (study
centre, Manipur University campus) regularly runs PGDJM since 25 years. Moreover, the
Department of Information and Public Relations (Govt. of Manipur) regularly conducts short term
courses on basics of journalism once a year mostly in February-March for 14 days. Some private
agencies or organisations used to conduct photography courses and film workshops for a short
period.
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Discussion on Media Education in Manipur


A focus group of 60 respondents were contacted for telephone interview in September 2015
that included media educators, media persons, media researchers and state educational department
officials. An interview schedule was set in English language with the three main objectives: 1) to
assess the present media education scenario in Manipur 2) to explore the prospects of media
education in Manipur and 3) to find out the challenges of media education in Manipur.
As per the finding, majority of the respondents opine that they are following curriculum
prepared by the faculty members and approved by Academic Council as per UGC guidelines. They
suggest for the inclusion of local language paper and English papers as part of media education.
Most of them agree that media education is being imparted to students to be critical audience of
media and enabling them to produce their own media fare. Further, they added that basic skills like
reporting, writing, video, still camera handling are being imparted by the educators currently. The
understanding and competencies of students are being assessed through regular internal tests,
seminar and semester-end examination. The respondents also agree that media productions by
students are helping in media education. Majority of them opined that media houses like daily
newspapers in collaboration with local or national organisations sometimesare involved in
enhancing media education through various programmes. Hardly, they found any setting of policies
and programmes for media education by the concerned authority. But, they agree that concerned
authority are making efforts through sponsoring seminar, workshops, campaigns and others for
enhancing media education. None of the respondents found involvement of individuals and NGOs
for enhancing media education. They are getting training through UGC-sponsored Orientation and
Refresher Programmes in addition to the regular seminar and conferences. None of the respondents
has ever come across any kind of research or evaluation done for the effectiveness of media
education in Manipur. Most of them agree that media educators in Manipur are very few in number
and less resourceful due to various constraints. Therefore, they suggest for regular and intensive
training of media educators by the experts in the field. Further, majority of them emphasized upon
the inclusion of media education at school and college levels. Most of them found the present status
of media education in Manipur unsatisfactory. Therefore, they suggest for speedy improvement of
the situation as people are becoming media savvy and acknowledge the power of media. Majority of
the respondents suggest for public awareness, inclusion of media education in curriculum for school
and colleges and concerted efforts by all the stakeholders of the society for the development of
media education in Manipur.
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Suggestions based on the finding for the development of media education in Manipur
1. Knowledge of new media and working knowledge of handling computer should be an
indispensible part of media education.
2. Increasing the scale of involvement of media houses in media education as per their resources.
3. Regular involvement of NGOs and individuals in media education.
4. Need for research or evaluation about the media education in Manipur.
5. To provide training to media educators in order to groom the students effectively as
professionals.
6. Need to increase the status of media education from the present condition.
7. Encouragement for the introduction media education by State Education Department both at
schools and colleges.
8. Professionals need to be engaged in academic institutions.
9. Department of Information and Public Relations should be upgraded.
10. Proper attention should be given for establishment of State Institute of Journalism.
11. Better cooperation and interaction between media professionals and media educators.
Conclusion
Media education in Manipur is at the starting stage. Lots of efforts have to be made for the
development of media education. More than three decades has passed since the UNESCO
Declaration on Media Education (by representative of 19 nations, Grunwald, 1982) which called for
‗political and educational systems to recognize their obligations to promote in their citizens as
critical understanding of the phenomenon of communications.‘ Media boom and globalization of
media content makes the matter more serious. In this day of media convergence, commercialization
and politicisation, people need proper media education to understand media in a proper perspective.
Recent incidents of Manipur that led to the imposition of ban for some days on internet and mobile
services in Manipur is the glaring example which calls for intense need of proper media education
in Manipur.
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REFERENCES

Aggarwal, V. B.,V. Gupta, S. (2002). Handbook of Journalism and Mass Communication, New
Delhi: Concept Publishing Company.

Bazalgette, C., Bevort E. & Savino J. (2002).New Directions: Media Education Worldwide. London:
BFI/Clemi/UNESCO.

Directorate of Economics and Statistics (2009-10), Economic Survey Manipur ,Imphal: government
of Manipur.

Directorate of Education(S)(2010-11),, List of Schools and General Education,Imphal: Government


of Manipur.

Kumar, Keval J (2000), Media Education, Communications and Public Policy: An Indian
Perspective, Bombay: Himalaya Publishing House.

Masterman, L. (1985): Teaching the Media, London: Routledge.

The Registrar of Newspapers For India, 56th Annual Report (2011-12) , Press in India, Ministry of
Information and Boradcasting :Government of India.
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Journalism Education and Regional Media:


Income As A Factor of Professional Standards in Northeast India
P. Anbarasan
Dept. of Mass Communication & Journalism
Tezpur University

Abstract
The post privatisation and globalization scenario in India realigned number of traditional
and modern professions and their social status. A series of economic restructuring created an
aspiration among the youth for jobs in corporate sectors with a hefty pay-packet. This resulted in a
life-style change accompanied by consumerist culture. Goods and possessions attainable generally
at the fag-end of one‘s career suddenly became possible at the start. Economic activities rapidly
embraced capitalist models of production supported by global capital. Media outlets became
centre of attraction for investors resulting in skewed pay-package system that is people at the top
taking the lion‘s share. Small and medium newspapers and some of the regional media outlets
remained relatively less affected by the technology led global capital. Majority of journalists who
once occupied enviable social positions could not match-up with fast changing economic standards
of their peers which was more visible especially with regional media.
Journalism once considered a calling, attracted brilliant minds to the training institutes who
subsequently took up jobs as journalists and stayed put with the organizations for long. This
scenario drastically changed for journalists with the regional news media with no radical
differences in pay structures while their counterparts‘ in corporate sectors earnings reached ‗sky-
high‘. Journalism became less and less priority among the media students and even when they did
choose a job in news media it was more of compulsion rather than out of free will.
Northeast India has media education departments in every central university with assurance of well
trained teachers and institutional infrastructure. In addition, there are a number of private
institutions offering quality media training in the region. This paper intends to examine the factor
of income in the media organizations of the journalists vis-à-vis other jobs with similar
qualifications and their influence on quality of media education and standards of professional
journalism.

Keywords: Regional Media, Journalist Profession, Northeast India, Professional Standards,


Journalists‘ Status.
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Introduction
Journalism as a profession is built on the idea that ―journalist‘s first obligation is to the truth.
However, the reality shows there is no ideal practice that exists anywhere in the world. A number of
factors influence and shape the actual character of the practice. The profession of journalism in
India along with the rest of the globe is undergoing a fast change propelled by technology,
investments, and convergence. Change as a factor is not new and cause of worry but the pace in
which the changes are taking place has forced scholars, publics, journalists, and journalism
educators to reexamine the approaches, definitions, roles, and functions of journalism in a society
(DeBeer & Merrill, 2011). Thus, as we are examining the dimensions and quality of media
education especially in the context of Northeast region in India, the author wishes to relate the issue
with the job of journalists in the region. The writer wishes to raise a question about how well the
media students fit into the media organizations that are operating in the region. Supposing a
candidate goes out of the institute equipped with all the major factors of a professional journalists,
such as, knowledge, skill, motivation, conscious of social responsibility and professional ethics,
how well the industry is prepared to absorb them and extend compensation package commensurate
with their competence? To find out answer to this question, the author carried out a studyto inquire
into the service conditions of journalists in the region enters into the fray of job market of
journalism, will she/he be attracted to stay on and be satisfyingly employed?
Conceptual Framework
As a member of a society every individual occupies a social position that carries a certain
kind of social status. Generally an individual occupies a number of positions or status
simultaneously such as family status, occupational status, gender status, educational status,
economic status and so on. Different types of statuses and prestige that it carries are culturally
defined. Sociologists say that each status in society is accompanied by a norm which defines how
an individual occupying that particular position is expected to act. This set of norms is known as
role (Haralambos & Heald, 1980). A person carries a family status such as son, daughter, father,
mother, brother, sister and so on; he or she carries a gender status such as male, female or third
gender; an occupational status such as officer, clerk, manager, engineer, doctor, driver, teacher,
gardener and so on. Role theorists say, the social world is a network of variously interrelated
positions or statuses, within which individuals enact roles. Thus social organization is composed of
various networks of statuses and expectations (Turner, 1987). A person occupying the status of a
father in a family is expected to play the role of a father. In modern Indian society, increasingly the
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occupational statuses are achieved and not inherited; therefore one strives to acquire a status that
has high prestige and power. Power refers to the degree to which one can exercise control over
others, while prestige refers to respect one gets in social positions (Haralambos & Heald, 1980).
Social system stratifies status and grades them hierarchically. The social system ensures that a
position that has larger responsibility is coterminous with higher prestige and power. However, the
interconnectedness of all the three factors, that is, status, power and prestige are not static, but
dynamic may keep and varying according changing cultural contexts and socioeconomic systems. It
was this concept Satyajit Ray portrayed cinematically in his first film, Pather Panchali in 1950s. A
religious priest who enjoyed high prestige, power and status in the traditional system lost power and
prestige though the status remained same in the modernizing and urbanizing culture.
It is because of this reason, the state takes the responsibility of fixing wages and salary for
different occupational positions commensurate with the responsibility entrusted in the status in tune
with the changing socioeconomic conditions by appointing pay commissions. One occupational
position that had undergone drastic change in power and prestige is that of physicians. In the
traditional system because a physician had to attend to wounds and diseases, dirt and sickness it did
not carry so much prestige as compared to the enormous power and prestige it now carries. The
change has happened because of the sophistication involved in acquiring scientific knowledge on
biological and physiological aspects of human body. Every social position in a culture also carries
certain expectations. For instance, a doctor is expected to possess vast knowledge, he or she is
expected to attend to patients, to diagnose and treat patients, and prescribe right type and quantity of
medicines. It is because of the enormous responsibility the job carries the power and prestige
associated with it synchronizes suitable to the position. The society too, expects the person who
holds the position of a doctor to behave in certain manner such as he expected to wear sober clothes,
talk and act gently, maintain confidentiality of his or her patient‘s health conditions. Thus, different
positions with different expectations carry gradation of status, power and prestige in the society.
The power and prestige that comes along with a role is social reward that reinforces the quality of
role enactment according to the standards set by a society.
Journalism became an important and essential professional practice in the modern socio-
political system. The concept of journalism as fourth estate put the social position of journalists at
par with members of judiciary, executives and legislators. Of course within each of the category
there is further hierarchy, say within judiciary there are judges and lawyers, within executives there
are ministers and bureaucrats. Similarly, among the journalists too there high positions like editors,
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and lower positions like reporters or subeditors. M. V. Kamath and others (1986) had put the social
position of journalists in as enviable position, ―Journalism is not merely an exciting profession, it‘s
respectable one, and at least as well paid as the Indian Administrative Service.‖ Indian
Administrative Service (IAS) is one of the most aspired jobs in the country that allows an aspirant
to enter into executive system of the state with considerable social position attached with equal
degree of power and prestige.
Journalism as Occupational Status
Journalists too walked in the corridors of power shoulder to shoulder with ministers and
bureaucrats commanding enormous influence and power. There were and are many journalists who
wield great power and prestige with their pens. There is a considerable change in the equations of
social positions of journalists then and now. The changes has been taking place due to various
reasons, the main being, the entry of corporate houses into media business in the post liberalization
period in India. The business model of media operations had put business heads above editors
diluting the position of editors considerably and the trend continues to this day. Liberation and
privatisation also allowed directly and indirectly ownership of media houses by political leaders and
investors thus gaining not entry into media business but also control of media contents. We can cite
a few political leaders who have stake in the ownership of media like Marans, Karunanidhi,
Jayalalitha, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Matang Sinh, Jaganmohan Reddy and many others. Business
houses that have stake in media industry include Reliance group, Rose Valley group, Sharada group
and many others. Thus while the journalists, no doubt, are the primary producers of media content,
however their autonomy is limited by the larger structure within which they work. The political and
cultural setting influences the highly held value of journalism as the fourth estate or as essential
component of national development (Reese, 2001; Josephi, 2005 in DeBeer, 2011).
Journalism and journalists in India
Media and journalism in India as a profession is well entrenched in comparison to most
developing countries in the world. India is the world‘s biggest democracy and the quality of
democracy is reflected in the quality of free press. It is interesting to note while, there is a decline
of the newspaper industry in many western countries,in India it was found growing. According to
Registrar of Newspaper of India (RNI), newspaper circulation grew by 33 % during the first five
years of the new millennium. Currently, India has the largest number of registered newspapers in
the world with 62,483 in 2006. About 11 million English dailies are sold every day in India while
the Hindi newspapers circulation per day is as much as three times that of English with 34 million
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copies per day. In 2006 the total circulation of all newspapers was 180 million (DeBeer & Merrill,
2011).
In terms of television too, India has witnessed fast growth of private broadcasters and
viewers ever since 1982 during Asian games and later in 1990s with the coming in of cable
television revolution. Today there are about 400 news channels in different languages broadcasting
in India. In spite of these scenario newspapers reaches only about 35 per cent of the population
leaving out majority out of the ambit of readership.
Regional media and language newspapers and news channel have a lot at stake in catering to
the population local and regional news and issues. With the improvement in quality of print and
transmission the regional media began to attract national advertisers with a huge kitty. The digital
technology enabled better quality of news gathering, design and printing. Similarly, satellite
broadcasting enabled reach of far-flung audience and urban audience alike. With the reach of media
to the remote villages, Robin Jeffrey speaks about interesting turnaround of perception of police.
―Locals used to be terrified by the presence of even a single police officer in their village. Now
people are not afraid even if six policemen enter a village. Now they know that policemen are not
supposed to beat them and if they do, they will go the media (Jeffrey, 2000).
On the other hand, cross ownership of print, radio and television networks reduces and
threatens the independence of media. Newspaper chain and national networks dominate the regional
media. While multiple players in media operation are an indication of plurality of voices in a
democracy, it is no secret that interests of the majority of the common people remain unrepresented.
Most television programmes target only urban middle class with growing purchasing power.
Good journalism therefore rests in the hands of professional journalists. Journalists in the
eyes of the society and as per the role and expectations they are to play especially in the developing
societies like India, share a continuing history of professionalism, with a body of vast knowledge, a
deeply felt commitment to independence of their work, and fully conscious of the fundamental role
journalism plays in the formation and continuation of society (Weaver 1998; Deuze, 2002 in
DeBeer & Merrill, 2011).
Income as a factor to ensure professional journalism
The business and political interest of the media owners tend to compromise the integrity of
journalistic profession. One study of media industries in general put it as ―most media organizations
make big money – but they engage in round after round of cuts to increase their profit margin.
Journalists are too often reduced to a cross between call-centre workers and data processors, stuck
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at their desks re-jigging press releases. Who know what corruption, lies, and law breaking is going
on in the corridors of power – no one has the time to look‖ (DeBeer & Merrill 2011: 131). If the
salaries of the journalists are low it incites corruption and illegitimate ways of earnings which are
possible in media industry. Terms like paid news are gaining currency especially during elections,
endangering democratic values.
Media in Northeast India are in various stages of development. Some are well established
with long history and many others are in different stages of establishing themselves among the
audience. The history of private television is only less than a decade old in Northeast. In Assam
there are six satellite news channels broadcasting round the clock. Among the eight states in the
region only Assam has satellite channels, most of them repeatedly coming under the scanner of
public scrutiny for their frequent gaffes of reporting with wrong facts, or for infringing on personal
lives of individuals, or insensitive reporting. Some hold the channels responsible for inciting social
unrest and violence besides promoting regressive mindset. There are cases of Central government
issuing ‗warning‘ notices for violation of programme code and ordered off air for some days
(Eclectic Northeast, 2015). D.N. Bezboruah, a senior journliast, and former editor of The Sentinel
calls the functioning of the most local news channels as ‗puerile and a threat‘ to journalism
(Eclectic Northeast, 2015). Ironically, the person who first started private television, Matang Sinh, a
former central minister has recently been taken into custody in connection with a scam, forcing the
NeTV, which started in March 2004 to go off air.
Thus regional media in India is very distinct in their characteristics that exist according to
the local socio-political and cultural contexts. While broadly they would follow the style and
structure of national print and electronic media, the underlying basis of their dynamics is
determined by traditional social structural parameters in terms of wielding powers, striking alliances
and catering to the interest groups. Media therefore is not only pitched on professional, business
models but also on socio-political dimensions.
Therefore, going back to the earlier premises that a media student graduating out of a media
education institute has to fit himself or herself into organizational structures that function according
to regional or the national characteristics. The author‘s contention therefore, is that one major factor
that is going to affect the fidelity to ideals and aspirations of journalistic profession will be the
salary package that subsequently facilitates the person to enjoy a social position with its interrelated
power and prestige.
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In spite of the growing media presence in the Northeast a good number of graduates in Mass
Communication and Journalism move out of the region in search of job opportunities. Indeed except
a few of the graduates with MA in Communication who are profitably employed in journalism are
outside the region. They go out not out of choice but of compulsion. This can be illustrated with the
instance of people migrating back to the region when in 2011 a newly launched paper and now shut
down, ‗The Seven Sister Post‘ with Subir Boumick as the Editor, run by Sharada group. However,
they started off with a good salary package so much so some of the students who worked in
newspapers like The Times of India, at Delhi and Mumbai quit their jobs to join the paper.
Unfortunately, the paper short lived and closed down.
Students get campus placement in newspapers and news channel but most of them leave
sooner than later. A case in point is recently, a student was placed after several rounds of screening,
in a fairly well run Meghalaya English daily The Shillong Times, but she quit the job in three
months mainly because of long working hours and less attractive salary. There are several cases
similar to this pertaining to news channels and newspapers.
The Assam Tribune is said to be the only newspaper in the region to follow Working
Journalists Wage Board recommendations. A former student from Tezpur University has a long
stint and in a senior position there. It was found the same group does not pay equally to rural
reporters working for language paper. A journalist working for last 10 years says, his pay has been
increased to Rs 8000 this year only. He says it is the case with most of his colleagues.
The entry level salary for most of the post graduates starts at Rs 6000 or Rs 10,000 either in
Guwahati run dailies or other states in the Northeast. While if a person gets appointment as a clerk
in a government department where the eligibility is only higher secondary the total emoluments is
Rs 20,000. The counterparts of MA Communication, like MBA students and MCA students or
even B.Tech students start off with a minimum of Rs 30,000 and can go up to Rs one lakh per
month in some cases. It is because of this disparity of social positioning among equal qualification
candidates that discourages preference of some professions over others. In the Mass
Communication department in Tezpur University a higher proportion of students take up corporate
communication for specialization vis-à-vis journalism because if they get placement in public
sectors companies like OIL, IOC or ONGC where some products from the same department work,
they draw a salary of corporate executive from Rs 50, 000 or more. The life style and social status
that follows too are disparate due to this reason. In the context of globalization and strong capitalist
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phase the view of journalist in high pedestal as being intrinsically objective, free, and fair is fast
fading.
Conclusion
It needs to mention that even in countries where journalists are well paid, it must be noted
that journalism is not a job that makes people rich. While there are high profile media people who
contribute, somewhat falsely, to the glamour image of journalists, there are many who do the daily
grind. This leads to uneven pay scale in journalism within a country or region (DeBeers & Merrill,
2011). A comparative study of journalism job with others would show that the chance to advance
and have job security as aspects of a job for journalist is rated low in most countries across the
globe (Ibid). Media operations merging entertainment genres with news formats, the convergence
of digital media technologies has created a blur in the distinction of a journalist from other jobs. In
addition, people who blog and write for the web can easily fit in to the job profile of journalism.
Therefore, the need for reexamining the media education should go hand in hand with media
practice.
REFERENCES
DeBeer, S. A. & Merrill, C. J. (2011). Global Journalism: Topical Issues and Media Systems (5th
Ed.). New Delhi: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.

Haralambos, M. & Heald, R.M. (1980).Sociology: Themes and Perspectives. Delhi: Oxford
University Press.

Jeffrey, R. (2000). India‘s Newspaper Revolution. New Delhi: OUP.

Parkinson, C. N., Kamath, M.V., & Rustomji. (1986). What Journalism is all About. Mumbai:
Indian Book House Pvt. Ltd.

Turner, H. Jonathan. (1987). The Structure of Sociological Theory. Jaipur: Rawat Publications.

Kohli-Khandekar, V. (2010).The Indian Media Business. New Delhi: Sage Publications.

Eclectic Northeast, (2015).magazine, Guwahati.


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Media Literacy Education in Higher Studies:


Challenges & Possibilities
Preeti Singh
Content Writer
Manipal University

Abstract
India has more than 1, 00,000 newspapers and over 1150 satellite channels (more than 300
are news channels) and is the biggest newspaper market in the world - over 400 million copies sold
each day. We believe these facts are enough to know how strongly and widely Indian media market
is providing employment to world. A huge brigade of journalists is involved in this media network,
network that includes - collection, preparation, presentation and broadcasting of news and other
mass media content.
Media is broadly affecting our life and Media Literacy Education is equally important to
understand like any other subject. Media Literacy Education can help individuals of all ages
develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression that they need to be critical thinkers, effective
communicators and active citizens in today‘s world. The purpose of including Media Literacy in
curriculums of secondary or higher education is to make youth and adults able to understand the
complex messages we receive from television, radio, Internet, newspapers, magazines, books,
billboards, video games, music, and all other forms of media. This paper attempts to analyze the
significance of media literacy education in secondary and higher studies.
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Introduction
Media is never subjective or biased to any one section of human life. It intends to cover all
the subjects and businesses that have been affecting our life in the form of news, information and
entertainment series. It is dedicated to work, providing 24x7 content to any subject- Science,
History, Geography, Sports, Politics, Economics, Drama, or to any rarest subjects like Black Magic,
Spiritual Healing, Psychological Effects in Crime, Ghosts, God, Gadgets and Glamour, among
others.
From the records and surveys, India has more than 1,00,000 newspapers and over 1150
satellite channels (more than 300 are news channels) and is the biggest newspaper market in the
world - over 400 million copies sold each day. We believe these facts are enough to know how
strongly and widely Indian media market is providing employment to the world. A huge brigade of
journalists is involved in this media network, network that includes - collection, preparation,
presentation and broadcasting of news and other mass communication contents.
Undoubtedly, media is broadly affecting our life like other subjects, Science, Politics and
Economics; hence, it is equally imperative to apprehend basics of media. Media literacy education
can help individuals of all ages develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression that they need
to be critical thinkers, effective communicators and active citizens in today‘s world. The purpose of
including Media Literacy in curriculums of elementary or higher education is to make youth and
adults able to understand the complex messages we receive from television, radio, Internet,
newspapers, magazines, books, billboards, video games, music, and all other forms of media.
Some initiatives are already taken to promote media literacy education and some are in the
pipeline. UNESCO has had a long-standing experience with media literacy and education. The
organization, which pursues its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences,
social/human sciences, culture, and communication/information, has supported a number of
initiatives to introduce media and information literacy as an important part of lifelong learning.
India has also introducedMedia Clubs in schools under a Central Institute of Educational
Technology, NCERT project to promote media literacy in India.
However, it is observed that Indian education system is yet to do more in media literacy education
promotions. They have disregarded Media Literacy Education from the higher studies completely
that has always bothered many experts who are working in the field of media studies. This paper
attempts to analyze the significance of media literacy education in higher studies.
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What is Media Literacy?


In simple words media education is the process of teaching and learning
about media(Buckingham, David (2007). It is about developing young people's critical and creative
abilities when it comes to the media. Media education should not be confused with educational
technology or with educational media. Being able to understand the media enables people to
analyze, evaluate, and create messages in a wide variety of media, genres, and forms. Education for
media literacy often uses an inquiry-based pedagogic model that encourages people to ask questions
about what they watch, hear, and read.
Media literacy skills can help youth and adults:
 Develop critical thinking skills
 Understand how media messages shape our culture and society
 Recognize bias, spin, misinformation, and lies
 Discover the parts of the story that are not being told
 Identify target marketing strategies
 Recognize what the media maker wants us to believe or do
 Name the techniques of persuasion used
 Evaluate media messages based on our own experiences, skills, beliefs, and values
 Create and distribute our own media messages
 Advocate for media justice
Initiatives by UNESCO in Media Education Promotion
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has had a
long-standing experience with media literacy and education. The organization, which pursues its
objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social/human sciences, culture,
and communication/information, has supported a number of initiatives to introduce media and
information literacy as an important part of lifelong learning. Most recently, the UNESCO Action
for Media Education and Literacy brought together experts from numerous regions of the world to
―catalyze processes to introduce media and information literacy components into teacher training
curricula worldwide.‖
UNESCO Questionnaire
UNESCO is active promoting Media Education since twentieth century. In 2001, a media
education survey was sent out by UNESCO in order to better understand which countries were
incorporating media studies into different schools' curricula, as well as to help develop new
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initiatives in the field of media education. A questionnaire was sent out to a total of 72 experts on
media education in 52 different countries around the world. The people who received this
questionnaire were people involved in academics (such as teachers), policy makers, and educational
advisers. The questionnaire addressed three key areas:
1) ―Media education in schools: the extent, aims, and conceptual basis of current provision; the
nature of assessment; and the role of production by students.‖
2) "Partnerships: the involvement of media industries and media regulators in media education; the
role of informal youth groups; the provision of teacher education.‖
3) ―The development of media education: research and evaluation of media education provision; the
main needs of educators; obstacles to future development; and the potential contribution of
UNESCO.‖
The results from the answers of the survey were double-sided. It was noted that media
education had been making a very uneven progress because while in one country there was an
abundant amount of work towards media education, another country may have hardly heard of the
concept. The countries which deemed media education as a part of the curriculum included the
UnitedStates, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, and Australia. Many countries lacked even basic
research on media education as a topic, including Russia and Sweden. Some said that popular
culture is not worthy enough of study. But all the correspondents realized the importance of media
education as well as the importance of formal recognition from their government and policy makers
that media education should be taught in schools.
The results from India were surprising. A country which is moving towards the stage of
developed countries; there was no formal established media education curriculum, though in various
private schools media education may be taught at an informal level. An additional difficulty facing
the Indian situation is the tensions that exist between government philosophies of education and the
aims of media educators in the country.Media industries have no interest in providing money for
education, unless there are clear gains for their investment in terms of professional training, e.g. in
journalism. But the result was of 2001 and the scenario has changed. Indian media has seen
phenomenal development in the market, and in terms of introducing media literacy, yes, Indian has
stepped out in this.
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What Happened / is Happening in India?


To promote media literacy in India, Central Institute of Educational Technology, NCERT
lunched a project called Media Clubsin different schools of India in 2009-2010. The project was
the extension of projects undertaken on media literacy in the year 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.
During 2007-2009, the team included in the project was more focused on the mapping of media
literacy initiatives across the world.A document was prepared titled ―Media Literacy initiatives
across the world". The document is the collation of print and electronic material available on media
literacy initiatives in various part of the world. In the case of India, various experts from the field of
media, media educators and media literacy experts were interviewed and a comprehensive print
report was prepared. Three video programs on media literacy initiatives were also produced,
followed by reading material for students as well as teachers. Teachers were trained in media
literacy and more than 100 teachers were trained inthe face to face mode.That was the first time in
India when such training programs on media literacy were organized for teachers. Thereafter, media
studies as a subject was introduced in schools as a pilot project. The recently launched third phase
(2010-2011) is the extension of discussion held in first and second phases with the teachers.
Teachers who were open to the idea of having media discourse at school level were quite
apprehensive of having it in the form of another new subject.
Difficulties came in the way were:
1. Students were least interested to accept a whole new subject. This will increase their area to
learn and to remember.
2. Teachers felt a new subject will increase their work load.
3. Management was worried about introducing new subject that may not decrease the overall
result of school.
4. Parents were in stress too, as a new subject can divide the attention of their kids.
However, after repetitive efforts of Media Clubs in different schools in Delhi, Mumbai and
Bangalore successfully introduced the subject and currently in India there are around 100 media
clubs running successfully.
Objectives of Media Clubs
 Media education aims at students to develop an understanding of the effects of mass media
on themselves as individuals and also upon society.
 To teach them how media influence our understanding of reality.
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 To develop skills to deconstruct media messages by making them understand and


constructed nature of media.
 To develop the skills to encourage the production of creative media messages.
 To encourage students to express their feelings and thoughts through media messages they
produce.
 To introduce students to various media career opportunities in mass media.
Many initiatives were started to introduce children, parents and teachers to the concepts of
media studies but all happened out of schools. One of the key point made by the NCF 2005 i.e.
connecting knowledge to the life outside the school, has actually opened the door for media studies,
a subject which has never in the past was given its due importance in school curriculum.
Media Literacy Education at University Level
In recent years, the media literacy education movement has developed to help individuals of
all ages acquire competencies necessary to fully participate in the modern world ofmedia
convergence. Yet media literacy education is not practiced uniformly at all educationallevels. This
study used a survey to compare the extent to which students are exposedto several basic elements of
media literacy education at the high school and universitylevels. Results suggest that students are
exposed to more course contents related tomedia use and creation in high school, but more course
content related to media analysisin college.
Youth Interest in Media Literacy
A nationally representative survey found that 84% of young people think they and their
friends would benefit from training on verifying information found online. It proves the youth is
pretty much interested in subject media.
Media literacy has many applications within many contexts (Hobbs, 1994). But at itscore, one
widely accepted definition suggests that media literacy involves possessing theability to access,
analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages in a wide variety of forms (Aufderheide, 1993).
Building on this general definition, the National Association forMedia Literacy Education
developed a list of key ideas associated with accessing, analyzing, evaluating, and communicating
media:
1. All media messages are ―constructed.‖
2. Each medium has different characteristics, strengths, and a unique ―language‖
ofconstruction.
3. Media messages are produced for particular purposes.
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4. All media messages contain embedded values and points of view.


5. People use their individual skills, beliefs and experiences to construct their ownmeanings
from media messages.
6. Media and media messages can influence beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, and the
democratic process (National Association, 2007).
Learning about such issues is especially important for individuals today.

REFERENCES
Buckingham, David (2007). Media education: Literacy, learning and contemporary culture.
Cambridge: Polity Press.

Core Principles of MLE: National Association for Media Literacy Education. Namle.net.
http://namle.net/uploads/r4/cE/r4cEZukacxNYaFFxlMONdQ/NAMLE-CPMLE-
wquestions.pdf, Retrieved on December 21, 2011.

http://ciet.nic.in/MediaClub/about_media_clubs.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_literacy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNESCO

https://medialiteracyproject.org/learn/media-literacy/
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Media Education in Public Universities in Northeast India:


Negotiating the Dichotomy between Market Demands and
Critical Consciousness

Syed Murtaza Alfarid Hussain


Department of Mass Communication
Assam University, Silchar

Abstract
Even as media education made a late entry into the public universities in the northeast
region, the focus of media departments, in the context of their pedagogy, remains torn between the
desired principle of communication for critical consciousness and the requirements of the media
markets. This paper argues that the logic of the market today dominates the syllabi of the media
education departments of the region, and that such a paradigm reduces a student to a commodity to
be groomed for the rather amorphous media industry, limiting the scope of their exploration,
stifling their imagination, treating knowledge generation in strictly utilitarian terms and thereby
turning media education into metrics defined by market needs and trends. The growth of the media
industry has spawned a mushrooming of private media institutes in the region. This paper argues
that this market trend needs to be interrogated as well as the efficacy of a university education in
media and communication needs to be reconfigured and re-contextualized in these changing times.
The paper argues that media students from the region should be trained to be out in the
communities talking to people, if social sciences like media education are to serve any real purpose
in understanding the communities within which public universities are located.

Key Words: Media Education, Public University, Market Demands, Critical Consciousness.
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Media Education in India: A Halting Progress


Media education in India is stepping into its 75th year in 2016. In 1941, Punjab University
started journalism teaching, thanks to the initiatives taken by renowned journalist of that time, P P
Singh. He was also instrumental in the setting up of journalism departments in Lahore, Delhi and
Chandigarh. However, the growth of formal media education in Indian universities remains stilted,
mired as it is with the existential question: if it is a professional discipline or a purely academic
one? The halting progress made by media education in India is largely due to formidable intellectual
and pedagogic problems facing teachers with an interest in the field. Much of media education in
the country remains fragmented and heterogeneous, that begs the question, whether media and
communication can be studied and taught in a way that is systematic, intellectually rigorous and
conceptually coherent as other more established disciplines. Media scholars are divided over the
basic issue, whether it is possible to make any conceptual sense of a field which covers such a wide
range and diversity of forms, practices and products ranging from newspapers and magazines, radio,
television, advertising, public relations, films, new media and others. A UGC-appointed subject
panel in the late 1970s had recommended that ‗courses in media be restructured to make them
relevant to the needs of the developing environment in India. The students should receive not only
technical training but also be sensitized about the process of communication and its relevance to
social change. The courses should be of inter-disciplinary nature where the expertise of physical and
social scientists is blended with skills and crafts of media professionals.‘
Media Education in Northeastern Universities: Johnny-come-lately
Compared to other parts of the country, media education in the universities of northeast
India is a pretty recent phenomenon. At present, fourteen public universities both central as well as
state, in the eight northeastern states are offering courses on Journalism and Mass Communication,
mostly masters and diploma degrees, besides a gradually increasing number of universities
beginning to offer Ph.D. degrees in recent times. Till the mid-1990s, only Gauhati University in
Assam had a department of Journalism and Mass Communication in the entire northeast region.
Established in 1967, initially under the department of political science, the Journalism department
started off with part-time diploma courses in Journalism, later graduating to a full-fledged
department in 1984 when it began offering PG diploma in Communication and Journalism. It
started its master‘s programme only as late as 2005. The scene began to swiftly change especially
from the later part of the nineties. With the setting up of the Mass Communication department at
Assam University, a central university at Silchar in 1996, media education in the region began to
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come of its own. Five years later, Tezpur University, the other central university in Assam, set up
the Mass Communication and Journalism department and started its master‘s programme from
2002. Since then, media departments in the public universities in the northeast region virtually
mushroomed. Manipur central university set up the mass communication department in 2005
offering master‘s programme. At around the same time, Rajiv Gandhi central university in
Arunachal Pradesh followed suit offering postgraduate diploma in Journalism and Mass
Communication. Soon enough Mass communication departments came up at Tripura, Sikkim,
Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya besides Dibrugarh University and Cotton College in Assam that
opened centres for Journalism and Mass Communication offering masters and advanced diploma
programmes respectively.
Media Courses in NE Public Universities: Scholastic or market-centric?
Public universities play a vital role as spaces for contributing to knowledge, as sites of
learning, which are heavily subsidized by the state. These universities are funded by taxpayers‘
money that goes into infrastructure and salaries of the people employed. As publicly funded
institutions therefore, in principle, universities are accountable to the public. However, the focus of
Journalism and Mass Communication departments, in the context of their pedagogy, remains torn
between the desired principle of communication for larger public good and the requirements of the
media markets. By and large, the logic of the market today dominates the syllabi of the media
education departments of the region. The offshoot of such a paradigm reduces a student to a
commodity to be groomed for the rather amorphous media industry, limiting the scope of their
exploration, stifling their imagination, treating knowledge generation in strictly utilitarian terms and
thereby turning media education into metrics defined by market needs and trends.
An implicit expectation that students rightly have from a university education in Journalism
and Mass Communication is employment in either government or private sector. With the
mushrooming growth of media institutes in the region, both public as well as private, a growing
proportion of students have had difficulty finding jobs. Many Communication graduates passing out
of the media departments are therefore crossing over to seek jobs in pharmaceutical industry,
insurance sector, school and college teaching, business to name just a few. A large number of
students with Communication degrees continue to languish without jobs, contributing to high
unemployment rates among media graduates from the region. In a sense, the media departments in
the public universities in the region are increasingly losing their sheen among prospective students,
as the returns are not commensurate to the investment they make. As a result, many students of the
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region continue to prefer getting a Communication degree from elite private media institutes in the
country like, say, a MICA or Symbiosis or Asian College of Journalism.
Challenges Facing Media Departments of NE Public Universities
In such a climate, the pressure on the media departments of the universities has been
increasing. When the job placement record of media graduates determines the yardstick of success,
the university Communication departments are struggling to negotiate between their avowed
mandates for treating communication studies as an academic discipline and the growing
disappointment and disillusionment among students who struggle to translate their learning into a
tangible source of income and employment in the job market. Academics within university
departments have certainly started feeling this pressure. Academics who deal with communication
theories, media research, communication and culture, international communication, media
anthropology are being questioned by students about the ‗value‘ of these pedagogical information
and how this is going to possibly help in the real-life context of an occupation or livelihood. Parents
and students alike are asking, ―How will this degree help us get a job? What are your placement
rates? What is the value of the degree in helping me make a living?‖ Part of this questioning
certainly is tied to the overarching market value that has taken over media education in public
universities to cope with the aggressive publicity of impressive placement guarantees offered by
private media institutions in the region.
Commercializing Media Education: The rise of private media institutes
Assam‘s capital city Guwahati in particular, considered being the gateway to the northeast is
also, in a sense, the media capital of the region. With over seven private satellite TV channels, five
commercial FM radio stations, and over 40 newspaper houses operating out of here, and a fledgling
film industry also to boot, Guwahati has become the favorite destination for young people aspiring
for a career in the media. This has, in effect, fuelled a burgeoning media education industry in the
last 10 years, with private media institutes cropping up dime a dozen offering certificate and
diploma courses on primarily practical-intensive courses like TV reporting, radio jockeying, news
anchoring, acting for TV serials, photojournalism, web-designing to their students. These media
institutes are mostly operating out of rented spaces, with very limited infrastructure and equipment.
These media institutes in the city do not employ regular faculty and the few media graduates who
do end up teaching in such institutes are lowly paid, oftentimes on a lecture basis, with no
assurances of retention into the next semester. Critical education in the media finds no place in such
professional education. These institutes prefer engaging the services of senior editors, journalists
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and professionals from the media outlets in Assam who mostly impart an experiential form of
teaching to the young students. This model works rather well for the institute as the names of
prominent media personalities in the hallowed faculty rolls add to the brand image of the institute
and this helps attract more prospective students to that particular media institute. But it is often
seen, the experiential training imparted by professional journalists and specialists reinforces the
imperatives of the profit-driven media industry that stand in stark contrast to the values of media
education in public educational institutions, based as they are on the philosophy of production of
socially useful information over production of profitable information.
This market trend needs to be interrogated as well as the efficacy of a university education
in media and communication needs to be reconfigured and re-contextualized in these changing
times. The exploitation of university-educated media graduates, as low wage academic workers in
the commercial private media institutes certainly needs to be questioned. Increasingly PhD degree
holders in Communication are finding it difficult to find placement, ending up as adjunct workers in
colleges and universities.
The research work carried out in the Communication departments of the universities in the
region needs to be responsive in terms of the value of the knowledge produced. This body of
knowledge should make a difference and create an impact in the communities in which it is
produced.
The Challenge for University Media Teachers: Introspect and Improvise
Shortage of adequate faculty strength has hampered the growth and maturity of the
university media departments of the region. Over one-third of the faculty positions in the fourteen
university departments of the region continue to remain vacant. The problem is all the more acute
with the sanctioned positions of professors of Communication. At present, there are only two
professors of Communication in the northeast region. Due to problems of connectivity and
remoteness experienced media professors from other parts of the country, shy away from taking up
teaching assignments in the region. This situation actually lends credence to the media industry‘s
argument that the core faculty of media departments is fresh and lack media experience. The media
departments in the universities in Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim and Arunachal
Pradesh continue to grapple with faculty shortage ever since they all came into existence in the last
5-10 years. The Communication departments at Assam University and Tezpur University are the
only ones in the region with a semblance of adequate faculty strength. The issue is of lack of
professors and understaffed media departments.
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The other problem that many university media departments face is one of perception. The
higher authorities in the university administration generally treat the media departments as
extensions of their public relations wing often subjecting the media departments to carry out
publication as well as production works highlighting the achievements of the institution or
individuals. This practice tends to reduce the stature and respectability of an academic discipline
among the university stakeholders.
Many students who take up a postgraduate course in Communication at the university often
come from diverse backgrounds like English Literature, Political Science, BA Pass Course,
Commerce and even Science background. Some students study mass communication or journalism
as one of their optional papers in college taught by young inexperienced teachers who may or may
not be media graduates themselves. This poses a problem for the faculty at the postgraduate level
since a majority of the students do not have the basic orientation and aptitude as well as language
and numeracy skills required of a communication student.
The present state of the media departments in the northeast region, beset as they are by the
tyranny of geography, accessibility, connectivity, perception and other logistical strain, also
represents a bourgeoisie character of academia, unwilling to be held accountable for its ways, and
yet unwilling to let go of the privileges that public universities offer. In a climate when the
enrollment rates in the media departments are shrinking, it is for the academics to move from their
cushy preoccupations with API scores and devote more time to ‗un-academic‘ work, like students‘
growth and welfare. What is needed is a dialogue involving all the stakeholders: media
professionals, media teachers and students, both present and past at the individual university level,
and also a network of association among all the media departments of the northeast region to better
understand the general and specific nature of the issues affecting media education in the region at
the public university level, to know the kinds of research undertaken by the respective media
departments as well as undertake collaborative initiatives that would help ‗mainstream‘
Communication studies and media research taken up by scholars from the region.
Road Ahead for University Media Departments:
As Julian McDougall, in his book, The Media Teacher‘s Book states that today‘s media
learner operates within a different set of cultural and technological discourses, whereas the media
teacher resides in a very different educational paradigm. One of the common refrains that media
departments of public universities get to hear is the syllabi of the media courses rarely manage to
match the pace and sophistication of developments in the media themselves. As communication
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systems and information flows become increasingly central components of social, economic and
political activity at all levels, media education remains marginal within educational systems
everywhere. The media themselves are constantly changing, expanding and developing, frequently
in the direction of an increasingly sophisticated management of their audiences, but sometimes, in
ways which open more democratic possibilities. The media courses in the universities in the region
need to be equally flexible and open to change, which calls for periodic and regular revision of the
course syllabi. The traditional concepts of media education need to be considerably expanded to
include the collaboration of many groups and agencies that have a legitimate stake in the
development of media literacy.
The increasing penetration of media in our lives demands a commensurate expansion in critical
consciousness, and the coherent development of educational programmes that will encourage
critical thinking and autonomy. And that process of revising, amending and updating our thinking is
one in which we will all need to be consciously involved, ensuring as best we can that our teaching
develops in step with changes both in the media and in society. It would be self-defeating for
university academics not to acknowledge their own accountability to their students. Instead of
putting all the blame on the broader market forces, university media teachers can offer lessons that
can help students find meaningful work that would sustain them and yet bring them to perceive the
world through the lens of critical consciousness. But unfortunately, there is a certain degree of
callousness among faculty members about the employability of their students. It is certainly
irresponsible and ethically vacuous for media departments not to invest time, effort and energy to
think through ways and means of facilitating students with career guidance, internship and training
programmes, media exposure trips and job search. For which, besides equipping students to
function in the transforming media economy and earn a living, media departments need to put
particular focus on two aspects. One is to activate and strengthen the alumni network system and the
other is to devise ways for a robust institution-industry interface.
Media teachers can play a leading role in developing within the students enough self-
confidence and critical maturity not only in their applying critical judgments to media texts, but also
to their own use and understanding of the media they produce as well as consume. The primary
objective is not simply critical awareness and understanding, but critical autonomy. Therefore, the
development of course content, teaching methodology and questions of evaluation needs to be
thought through in the light of this priority. Practical work forms a considerable portion of the
syllabi of any decent media course worth its salt. The role of the teacher is of crucial importance in
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establishing that one of the primary aims of practical work is to subject professional media practices
to critical scrutiny, rather than to emulate them. But knowing the ground realities of media
departments located in the far-flung areas of the geographically remote northeastern region, it is
easier said than done. However, with the increasing use of social media platforms and high-speed
Internet service that enable video conferencing, media departments can help bridge the physical
constraints of remoteness and accessibility.
Conclusion

As media departments in the public universities in northeast region find themselves in a


world where the inequalities are stark, growth rates are one of the lowest in the country,
unemployment rates are high, work ethics are pretty laidback, and concepts of professionalism are
not yet considered the standard operational hallmark of most media organizations in the region, they
need to seriously reconsider their roles in generating knowledge as well as preparing students for a
career either in media academics or media industry. If university academe is narrowly conceived as
a training ground for a select oligarchy, insulated from the real-life concerns of the communities it
seeks to serve, it then fails to fulfill its mandate. The air of ‗sarkari‘ arrogance and indifference too
that has ensconced the work styles of media departments in the region has to be done away with.
We need to open up to listening to communities and the publics at large and simultaneously render
transparent and accessible academic service to the most important stakeholder, i.e the media
students. The media departments from this region, while devising strategies for the employability of
their students, should however not obsess about market demands and placements. They should all
rather work towards creating a pool of critically matured individuals trained with a better
understanding of their own communities and employ their critical inquiry to better understand the
myriad issues that affect and afflict the northeast region and work towards documenting and
preserving the rich tapestry of indigenous cultures of the region. Students should be trained to be
out in the communities talking to people, if a social science like media education is to serve any real
purpose in understanding the communities within which universities are located. Meaningful roles
for the 14 media departments in the public universities of the region need to invest intellectually as
well as empirically, with communities as the foundation for their academic as well as research
direction.
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REFERENCES
Kumar, Keval J (1995) Media Education, Communications and Public Policy: An Indian
Perspective, Bombay: Himalaya Publishing House.

Masterman, L. (1994), Teaching the Media, New York, Routledge.

McDougall, J. (2010), The Media Teacher‘s Book, London, Hodder Education.

Raja, J & Jerry, K (Eds.) (2005): Media Education: A Guidebook for Teachers, New Delhi: ISPCK.

Raman, U. (2005) Media Education in India: Caught between ideas, ideals and interests, University
of Pennsylvania.

Sahay, U. (Ed.)(2006): Making News: Handbook of the Media in Contemporary India, New Delhi,
Oxford University Press.
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Corporatisation of Media Education in India


Ronald Anil Fernandes
Bureau Head
Deccan Herald, Mangalore

Abstract
As India‘s global profile continues to grow, the mediascape in the country is rapidly undergoing
changes. The changes have been particularly pronounced since the high-tech age of connectivity
transformed media operations.
This paper explores the implications of the growing trend of corporatization of media education in
the country.The challenges the media industry in the country today are essentially no different from
those around the world. But the media education here lags far behind many advanced countries in
terms of purposeful and practical training.
In the last decade or so, there has been mushrooming of journalism schools in India, but ironically
there seems to be a dearth of graduates that meet the demands unique to different mainstream
media organizations.
The free-market economy has lured many private investors into media education. While competition
is vital to any free-market system, has it in any way impacted positively on the professional
standards of ―fast-track‖ wannabe journalists passing out of these corporatized institutes?
Whether neoliberal pressures in the media industry have undermined the basic media ethics and
social objectives is also a moot point.
While attempting to keep the issue of corporatization of media education in the country in
perspective, the paper intends to explore to what extent business interests have influenced the
fundamental values of media education. Can profit-making businesses imparting media education
deliver expected levels of professional excellence? Are they any better or worse than reputed
universities offering journalism courses?
Simply put, the paper aims to touch on challenges facing the media industry in general and media
education in particular - issues relevant to the Indian situation.
Key Words:Corporatization, Media Education, Professional Standard, Fast-track, Free Market
and Neoliberal Pressure.
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Introduction
India‘s media revolution since economic liberalization of 1990s has in its wake given rise to
the mushrooming of corporate-funded media education institutions. With the aim of capitalizing on
an increased demand for trained manpower in the fast growing media sector, these private
institutions redefined the media education scene in the country.
Largely unregulated, the media education imparted by these institutions presents two distinct and
conflicting responses to the hitherto stagnant and state university-dominated media education scene.
While some of the new institutions positively addressed the capacity gap in state university media
departments, others have simply copied the state university models, or in some cases even fallen
short of state universities.
A systematic study of these trends is limited by the lack of reliable data. Based on the
available data, supplemented with anecdotal evidence, personal observation and stray literature, this
paper traces the post-economic-liberalisation media education trends in the country.
It argues that although the new private institutions have been able to recruit much more
professionally qualified faculty members when compared to the state university counterpart,
because of their astronomically high fees and the compromises in student recruitments to meet the
pressure of the bottom-line, there is some kind of question mark on the positively substantive
contribution made by these institutions to media education.
The paper also suggests that some kind of regulation on the quality of media education
imparted by both the state and private institutions, either by a government body or a professional
institution is necessary if the private investment made in India‘s media education is to result in a
positive change in the quality of the graduates coming out of these institutions.
In the rest of this paper, first the author gives an overview of the growth of the media
industry in India. I then trace the trends in media education with a focus on the post-liberalization
era. This is followed by a discussion of the impact of the increasing private investment in media
education and conclusions.
The growth of media industry in India
In 1976, when the country‘s population was 775 million, one copy of a newspaper was published
for every 80 Indians. By the turn of twenty-first century, as the population crossed 1 billion, there
was one copy available for every 20 Indians. So extraordinary is the growth that it has been
compared by some scholars to the heyday of the press in the United States of the late nineteenth and
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early twentieth centuries, when 20 dailies in New York City alone fought for the attention of a
print-hungry readership (www.foreignpolicy.com).
The newspaper owes its success not only to the growth of India‘s city- and town-based
middle classes, but to transformations in the vast rural hinterlands of the country. Rising literacy
rates have illuminated the once seemingly dark and benighted countryside.This is only to be
expected in the fast rising economic power like India, trying to leverage globalization. The only
major difference is in the news consumption habits.
In the US, for instance, the rise in digital news consumption is amazing and it is gradually
undermining the importance of radio, TV and print newspapers, according to an interesting survey
conducted three years ago by the Pew Research Center for the People &The Press.
The Washington-based center has attributed this phenomenon to the ever growing popularity
of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. In this regard the situation in India is different,
largely because of poor last-mile Internet connectivity. The low Internet penetration problem is still
a challenge in remote rural areas. In fact, it may take years for the US-kind of digital news
consumption to happen in India.
Print editions of newspapers in English and regional languages still rule the roost in the
country. The news consumption patterns are not likely to change substantially in the near future.
This is because most newspaper groups are reaching out to remote markets by carrying local news.
Also, they are benefiting by cashing in on sophisticated printing facilities, multiple locations and
efficient distribution networks.
As of now TV news channels or social media networks may not pose much threat to newspapers.
The existing media industry competition will continue to be between print and TV
(www.frontline.in).
The growth of print media industry in India
The history of print media dates back to 1780 when James Augustus Hicky started the
Hicky‘s Bengal Gazette, an English newspaper published from Kolkata (then Culcutta). However,
the paper ceased its publication just two years after it was started (on March 23, 1782) (Wolseley,
1953).Subsequently, the Bombay Herald (1789), followed by Bombay Courier (1790), Samachar
Darpan (1818), also the first vernacular paper, started their publications. In the later years, The
Times of India (1838), The Statesman (1875), The Hindu (1878) began their publications
(Wolseley, 1953).
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However, until the 1960s the reach of newspaper was limited for various reasons. A friend
of the writer and a former colleague in his early sixties remembers the time some forty years ago
when he used to wait for days on end to get access to news articles and features on current affairs
appearing in international newspapers and magazines. Such delayed access to international
periodicals was routine and it had not meant much for him until the dawn of satellite television
channels. It used to be a luxury for domestic newspapers to be delivered before noon. This was the
case for readers living in districts far away from the cities where newspapers were printed.
Many mainstream and established newspapers like The Hindu or The Indian Express had to
be loaded on trains more than 10 to 15 hours prior to their reaching newsstands or being delivered
to subscribers. As far back as 1962 The Hindu was probably the only newspaper in the country that
used to be airlifted to reach newsstands in districts.
In fact in 1963 The Hindu owners had to acquire their own aircraft to deliver the paper in
time in cities such as Bengaluru, Tiruchi, Madurai and Vijayawada (sourced from Bangalore based
senior journalist).
Facsimile editions a boon
Facsimile technology gradually transformed the distribution system of newspapers. It came
as a big boon to the industry. Newspaper delivery became speedier. In 2005, foreign media
companies started distributing their newspapers and periodicals in India after the Central
Government cleared the controversial proposal to allow printing of facsimile editions of foreign
publications.
The mechanism for speedy distribution and delivery of media content through multiple
production facilities has not only helped large media companies, but it has also empowered
individual entrepreneurs to launch their media companies of varying sizes. Modern electronic
publishing technologies have thus spurred the growth of media enterprises.
The new technologies started creating an altered local news ecosystem. In the last decade or
so, influenced by the global mediascape, established newspapers in the country widened their reach
even as the number of small media companies in towns and cities has risen by leaps and bounds.
This trend can be attributed to easy availability of electronic publishing technologies.
Roland E Wolseley in the book, Journalism in Modern India, edited by him in 1953 says that
there were 32 daily newspapers and about same number of weeklies in India in 1937. However, by
1947, in India after the Partition, the number of dailies printed in English had risen to 51 and the
weeklies to 258. By 1952, there were 70 dailies and 261 weeklies appearing in English.
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As per the latest data available with the Registrar of Newspapers in India, a total of 1,05,443
newspapers / periodicals (www.factly.in) have been registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for
India (RNI) as on March 31, 2015. It was 99,660 as on March 31, 2014, an increase of 5,783 in just
one year (PTI report dated July 30, 2014).
Uttar Pradesh tops the list with more than 16,000 registrations followed by Maharashtra with
more than 14,000 registrations. Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan follow.
While 10 states have more than 5,000 registered newspapers / periodicals, 18 states / union
territories have less than 1,000 registrations each.
As expected, a substantial number of registrations were in Hindi (42,493) followed by
English (13,661), Marathi (7,818), Gujrathi (4,836) and Urdu (4,760) (Unstarred question 2015).
Going by the figures, it is obvious that the number of newspapers has been on the rise year
after year. This also indicates that there is a bright future for print media in India.
The growth of TV media in India
Though TV had a modest beginning with an experimental telecast in Delhi on September 15,
1959, and SITE (Satellite Instructional Television Experiment) in 1975, which was designed jointly
by NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Doordarshan as a national
broadcaster came into existence in 1982. (Kumar, 2000)
The TV expansion in India coincided with the country‘s economic growth in an increasingly
globalized environment. The TV expansion which started in the early 1990s has picked up an
unprecedented momentum since the early 2000. News television sector covering English as well as
regional languages became more and more widespread and vibrant. New dedicated news channels
continue to grow rapidly in number. This has triggered a huge demand for training of newscasters in
electronic media. These news channels also cater for the needs of several millions of Indian
diaspora. Today lakhs of non-resident Indians, mostly younger generation professionals, tune in to
Indian news channels, both English and regional languages.
In fact, TV news sector received a major boost with the Central Government deregulating it
in the late 2000s by allowing up to 26 per cent foreign funding.
As on date, there are 273 functional television channels (including regional, Hindi and English),
however, on record there are more than 415 television channels, according to Rajeev Ranjan Nag,
a member of Press Council of India. (E-mail communication).
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Internet based media in India


The advent of the Internet in India in 1995 revolutionized communications and enabled
increased accessibility to digital editions of global newspapers. The Internet grew phenomenally
between 1995 and 2005 – that is, from just 3 per cent of the world‘s population in 1995 to more
than 15 per cent of global population. (Thussu, 2007)
In fact, in the year 1999, the founder and head of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, was
prompted to boast about successes of his global media conglomerate in that year‘s Annual Report:
―Our reach is unmatched around the world…We are reaching people from the moment they wake
up until they fall asleep.‖ (www.foxnews.com)
Globally, the expansion of satellite communications helped media moguls like Murdoch to
widen the reach of their television broadcasting networks. In India, he made significant investments
through STAR. Despite strict rules governing foreign media ownership, public mistrust of foreign
media and cutthroat rivalry from domestic players enjoying political clout, Murdoch‘s STAR India
continues to thrive in the country, one of the world‘s fastest growing markets.
While most of the newspapers in the US had online versions by the late 1990s, in India too,
the scene was no different. However, the Guardian started new media only in 2005. On the other
hand, many TV channels too started news websites and today perhaps there is no news channel
without their online version.
Besides online version of newspapers and TV news channels, there are many ―online-only
newspapers.‖ An example of this is an independent web-only newspaper, the Southport Reporter,
introduced in the UK in 2000. It is a weekly regional newspaper that is not produced or run in any
format other than ―soft copy‖ on the internet by its publishers, PCBT Photography. The success of
www.firstpost.com, www.thewire.in, www.scroll.in and www.thenewsminute.com proves the point.
In fact, a small city like Mangalore in Karnataka with a little more than 5 lakh population,
has five popular news portals: www.daijiworld.com, www.coastaldigest.com,
www.newskarnataka.com, www.mangaloretoday.com, and www.mangalorean.com. They don‘t
have print editions. They are popular not only in Mangalore, but also in West Asia (where a large
number of Mangaloreans earn their livelihood).
For example, the news portal www.daijidubai.com was launched on January 14, 2001 with
the primary objective of relaying news from coastal Karnataka. It was later renamed
www.daijiworld.com.
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According to its founder, Walter Nandalike, daijiworld currently attracts daily about
450,000 visitors from 180 countries 40 per cent of whom are NRIs hailing from Mangalore. Unlike
most TV channels which started news websites after their success, daijiworld started its TV channel
in 2014 after its success as news portal.
With a number of news portals gaining popularity and with the increasing in demand for
various posts in news portals, almost all media education institutes have included ―news portals‖ in
their syllabus.
Media commercialization
With the entry of more and more private TV networks, media commercialization took root
in India in the late 1990s. The primary objective of these private players has been garnering as
much market share as possible in advertising revenues. Influenced by the Western media systems,
entertainment values surreptitiously crept into editorial decisions of newspapers and TV content. As
a result, the competition for audiences too increased and with this, the compulsion to satiate
audiences‘ thirst for frivolous content and celebrity-based stories. Gossip and speculation are now
taking precedence over hard facts, thanks to the aberration of paid news and propaganda persisting
in some sections of the media (Thussu, 2007).
This phase has brought in new media ecology where audiences are no longer citizens but
mere consumers of products or services. It has led to decline in coverage of issues, events and
policies relevant to public good. Commercialization has transformed both electronic and print
media. The government-funded Doordarshan too has been finding it tough to cope with the trend
towards commercialization and private TV channel‘s increased dependence on entertainment-based
programmes (ArtzLee and Kamalipour, 2003).
The growth of media education in India
With the sudden rise in newspaper and emergence of electronic media following economic
reforms in 1991, media education got a tremendous boost. While state run universities incorporated
a revised syllabus, private institutes started media education in their respective organizations to
meet the requirements of the growing media industry.
Quite interestingly, most distinguished journalists of yesteryear made their careers for the
love of it. Time was when journalism was perceived as a profession meant only for those with an
inborn talent for communication. They were also expected to strictly adhere to ethical values that
were synonymous with the profession.
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There used to be many job-seekers those days that would stray into the media profession
only to opt out of it midway. However, some stayed on until retirement. But there were also the
aspirants who would choose journalism as a career option even without a university degree. All that
was expected of them was to have aptitude for writing, a basic interest in news gathering and a
desire to belong to a news organization.
Strangely, University of Madras, probably the best and the most popular university in the
South, had not considered the importance of formal journalism education until 1975 when it started
the Department of Journalism. It is a different matter that the university boasts of having started the
Certificate in Journalism, the first programme in journalism in post-Independent India. In the early
1970s, the best option available was to take a course in journalism in one of the Bharatiya Vidya
Bhavan centers.
Those were the days when owners of newspapers preferred to handpick people to work as
sub-editors or reporters from among those known to them as relatives or others in their respective
community or social groups. Some intelligent and street smart jobseekers would use newsroom stint
as a stopgap and then switch to other more lucrative professions. Others who would have got into
the profession more by accident than by choice were forced to continue until retirement. The reason
was the lack of better employment opportunities while they were still within the age limit stipulated
for Government jobs.
Formal Journalism Education in State Universities
Media education in a formal sense was not given much importance in academic circles in
India until the late 1970s (Tere, 2012). Although Punjab University pioneered formal journalism
education in 1941 in the undivided India, the minimum impetus expected of the Government came
only in 1977 when the University Grants Commission constituted a committee to take the
journalism education process forward.
Prior to that in 1971 Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) was instrumental in
setting up the Indian Journalism Education Association. It enjoyed the support of a few
academicians and well-known journalists of the day. They included M Chalapathi Rau, who was the
editor for the defunct National Herald for over thirty years from 1946.
In 1978 when the Second Press Commission recommended the setting up of a National
Council for Journalism Training, the print media industry shunned the proposal as they did not
consider it worthwhile (Tere, 2012). However, some universities took initiative to start courses in
journalism and provide students internships in newspapers.
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For example, though there existed three State universities before 1980s in Karnataka –
Mysore University (1916), Bangalore University (1964) and Mangalore University (1980), the post
graduate journalism departments in these universities were started in the year 1971, 1973 and 1988
respectively. On the other hand, quite interestingly, the Maharaja‘s College in Mysore established
the Journalism Department in 1951.
Prof. Nadig Krishnamurthy in his pioneering work Indian Journalism (1969:597) says that
―no university can create an atmosphere of newspaper office‖ and perhaps his statement is still
relevant today (Krishnamurthy, 1969).
That is because, most of the institutes in private sector imparting education in journalism
and mass communication are woefully lacking in adequate infrastructure and qualified faculty
members (Ray, 2009).
Journalism Education in private universities/schools
When it comes to private universities / schools offering journalism education, the Mumbai-
based Xavier Institute of Communication (XIC), an autonomous educational unit of the Bombay St
Xavier‘s College Society Trust (the biggest non-government media centre in Asia) established in
1969 (one of the top journalism institutes in India today), still stands apart.
With the economic reforms introduced in 1991, and with the sharp rise in number of
newspapers / television channels, the media education started flourishing. With TV gaining
popularity employment opportunities opened up and many job aspirants began looking at media as a
serious career option (Murty, 2011).
While Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication (SIMC) in Pune and Mudra Institute
of Communications in Ahmedabad were established in the very same year the economic reforms
were introduced (1991), the Manipal Institute of Communication was established in 1997.
The first decade of the new millennium saw the opening of three more journalism institutes:
Asian College of Journalism (ACJ) in the year 2000 (established in Bangalore and later shifted to
Chennai), Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM) in the year 2001 in Bangalore and
Manorama School of Communication in the year 2002 in Kottayam. Very interestingly, all the three
institutes are among the top 10 journalism institutes in India today, perhaps because they cater to the
needs of the growing media industry.
On the other hand, there are umpteen numbers of schools and private institutes which offer
diploma course or certificate course in journalism.
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Media Education vs Media Profession


The early media education in India placed more emphasis on theory than practice. But the
growing media industry demanded more ‗practical‘ journalists than ‗academic‘ journalists.
As a result, only those institutes which updated their course syllabi to suit the changing
needs of students thrived while others which had not opted for curriculum revamp, failed to live up
requirements of students.
At the same time, the definition of media too has broadened to incorporate an array of sub-
disciplines such as television, radio and internet.
A look at the top 10 mass communication colleges in India (according to the survey
conducted by India Today in May 2014) reveals that not even one among them is government-
funded.
Similarly, another survey conducted by The Hindustan Times in July 2014 too reveals that
only two out of 10 mass communication institutes are State-funded (IIMC, Delhi & Department of
Communication and Journalism in Pune University), while the remaining eight are private-run
institutes.
In fact, interactions with journalism students of different institutes over the years, especially
when they seek internship, reveal that those students who come from private institutes are much
better when compared with those from the state-run universities or institutes / colleges.
Perhaps one reason could be the criteria for selection of students and inordinate delay in
adapting to rapid changes in the media industry.
The private institutes imparting media education may charge exorbitant fees, but taking
timely and appropriate decisions with regard to the changing media industry is a positive side of the
commercialization of media education.
Hence, it is obvious that State universities do not adapt to changes quickly, perhaps for
various reasons – delays in approval from the authorities concerned, lack of practically trained
faculty, delays in filling the posts and so on.
A case in point is the Mangalore University. Though the Mass Communication and
Journalism Department was established in the university in 1988, there were only five faculty
members by the year 1994. However, for the last five years there are only two members of the
faculty managing the show? Of course, the gap is filled by the guest faculty.
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But the guest faculty, who have either just completed their post-graduation or those who
have taken up teaching profession because they did not find a job, can never do justice to the
profession.
How can a guest faculty who does not have any practical experience in the field of
journalism teach journalism? How can a guest faculty, who has never worked as a reporter in any
publication, teach reporting or editing or help in bringing out a practical journal.
Another interesting point that the author would like to mention here is that when a candidate
with 18 years of practical experience as a journalist applied for a post in Mangalore university his
application was rejected citing the reason that practical experience cannot be considered as
―academic‖ experience.
Though state universities or private institutes update the syllabus regularly incorporating the
latest subjects such as new media, the subjects are taught by inexperienced guest faculty (who has
just completed their post-graduation).
For example, subjects like media ethics, designing and developing brands, corporate
communication, technical writing, strategic media planning and branding are part of the syllabus in
State universities as well as private institutions.
But a look at the profile of professors in the state universities clearly shows that most of
them (almost all!) do not have any practical experience. In fact, some of them don‘t have even basic
―reporting‖ experience as they have never worked in any publication / newspaper or magazine. Or
even if they have worked, it was 25 or 30 years ago, when the situation was totally different from
the present situation.
On the other hand, a look at the profile of the faculty in any top private university / institutes
shows that most of the faculty (there are exceptions) have a lot of practical experience as they come
from their respective fields, may be newspaper, advertising agency or public relations firms with a
lot of practical exposure / experience.
The faculty with practical experience of several years can really share their practical
knowledge among the students. As a result, those students who come out of such schools are fully
equipped to face any situation when compared with the students from the state universities, which is
another positive aspect of corporatisation of media education.
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Media training as business


Two years ago, the author had an opportunity to accompany his Editor (Deccan Herald) to a
private university to recruit students for the leading daily newspaper in Karnataka.To the Editor‘s
dismay, only two out of 40-odd students opted for print media while very few preferred electronic
media and the rest wanted to join an advertisement firm or a public relations / corporate
communication department in any firm.
In the same year (2013), Deccan Herald conducted a written test for students of a state
university to select trainee reporters / trainee sub-editors. However, none of them scored more than
20 marks out of 100 marks, which clearly proves the capabilities of post graduate students of state
university.
On the other hand, the neo-liberal pressures caused by the free-market economy have spread
to the media industry and undermined the basic media ethics and social objectives, according to a
senior journalist, who has seen the best and worst of both the worlds. The capitalist marketplace has
inevitably triggered the trend of corporatization of media education in the country. This trend has
irresistibly lured many private investors into media education. In the last decade or so there has
been mushrooming of journalism schools in India, but there seems to be dearth of trained graduates
that actually meet the demands unique to different mainstream media organizations.
Once the Internet started changing the rules of game in almost all spheres of human activity,
a career in media became sought-after partly because of glamour and visibility.At the same time, it
is sad that several ill-equipped private institutions claiming to impart journalism and mass
communication education have sprung up even in small cities and towns. In the absence of qualified
teaching staff and necessary infrastructure, these centers invariably compromise on minimum
professional standards. The institutions both within and outside university system lacked any
serious intent. This resulted in transforming them as money-making teaching shops.
Perhaps, there is a need for some kind of regulation for the State and private universities /
institutions teaching media education. However, it should not be like the ‗paper tiger.‘
The changing dynamics of communications has flattened the world. The paradigm shifts
occurring in the global village with advances in technology have even altered perceptions of people.
Thanks to these advances, people today perceive the world and events in ways radically different
from those of earlier generations. Individuals can dare dream big, innovate and achieve their goals
by competing even with established corporations.
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Although it is beyond the scope of this paper to suggest a way out of the degeneration of
ethics and love for lucre in the media industry in general and media education in particular, it is
worthwhile for citizens to re-evaluate the role of journalism and resist pressures to turn media into a
mere commodity. For an effective democracy to flourish, citizens need to promote and sustain
leadership in civil society through alternative media.
Conclusion
In the final analysis, despite its many inherent drawbacks corporatisation of media education
in India offers certain definite advantages to journalism aspirants.
On the positive side, it has equipped several young people for a successful career in the
media by paving the way for right opportunities. Many bright journalists who passed out of private
institutes have shaped themselves into public figures in society. Today they are comparable to the
best professional journalists abroad and can be seen as the products who successfully imbibed the
elements of the right mix of theoretical and practical knowledge of journalism the private institutes
managed to inculcate them with.
The private institutes and university departments share a common syllabus, but the former
can provide students with facilities such as faculties drawn from media houses. But their university
counterparts are often found wanting in this regard: the lack of focus on practical skills is one of
their major impediments.
Most private institutes charge exorbitant fees which invariably put a damper on the ambition
of students from the middle class and lower middle class.
As mentioned earlier, perhaps there is a need for some kind of regulation and it is necessary for both
the state and private sector media education institutions.
Interestingly, however, even today many of the successful journalists in the country do not
have any formal training from media schools, private or public.
List 1
Top 10 Mass Communication colleges in India, according to survey conducted by India Today, in
May 2014
 Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication, Pune
 Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi
 Christ University, Bangalore
 Manipal Institute of Communication, Manipal
 Amity School of Communication, Noida
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 Delhi College of Arts & Commerce, New Delhi


 Indraprastha College for Women, New Delhi
 K C College of Arts, Science & Commerce, Mumbai
 Kamala Nehru College for Women, Delhi
 Madras Christian College, Chennai
List 2
Top 10 institutes teaching Mass Communication in India, according to a survey conducted by
Hindustan Times, in July 2014
 Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi
 Xavier Institute of Communication, Mumbai
 Asian College of Journalism, Chennai
 A J Kidwai MCRC, JamiaMiliaIslamia, Delhi
 Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, Pune
 Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore
 Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad
 Department of Communication & Journalism, Pune University
 Manorama School of Communication, Kottayam
 BharatiyaVidyaBhavan, Delhi

REFERENCES
ArtzLee and KamalipourYahya R., (Eds), (2003), The globalization of corporate media hegemony,
Media hegemony and the commercialization of television in India: Implications to social
class and development communication, Robin D. Crabtree and Sheena Malhotra, State
University of New York Press, Albany, page 213 to 228.

Krishnamurthy Nadig, (1969), Indian Journalism, Prasaranga: Mysore University.

Kumar Keval J, (2000), Mass Communication in India, Jaico Publishing House, Delhi.

Murthy C S H N, (2011), Dilemma of course content and curriculum in Indian Journalism


education: Theory, Practice and Research, Tejpur University, Assam, India.

Ray G N, (2009), The changing face of Indian media, Address at the inaugural session of National
Press Day on November 16, 2009, organized by the Press Council of India in association
with Government of Andhra Pradesh and AP Press Academy at Jubilee Hall, Public
Gardens, Hyderabad.
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Tere Nidhi Shendurnikar, (2012), Expanding Journalism education in India – Concern for quality,
Asia Pacific Media Educator, 22(1), 127-133, Sage Publications, Los Angeles, London, New
Delhi, Singapore, DOI: 10.1177/1326365X1202200114.

Thussu Daya Kishan, (Ed), (2007), Media on the move, Global flow and contra-flow (ed), Chapter
1, Mapping global media flow and contra-flow, page 11 to 29, Routledge, London and New
York.

Thussu Daya Kishan, (Ed), (2007), News as Entertainment, The rise of global infotainment, Chapter
7, A global infotainment sphere? Jan Ekecrantz, page 156 to 201, Sage Publications,
London, New Delhi and Singapore.

Wolseley Roland E, Ed, (1953), Journalism in Modern India, The English language newspapers,
Asia Publishing House, Bombay – London – New York, page 4.

Nag, Rajeev Ranjan, Member, Press Council of India (e-mail communication)

www.amity.edu, Amity School of Communication, Noida

www.asianmedia.org, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.

www.bangaloreuniversity.ac.in, Bangalore University.

www.christuniversity.in, Christ University, Bangalore.

www.coastaldigest.com, a news portal

www.daijiworld.com, a news portal

www.factly.in, More than a lakh newspapers & periodicals registered in country, May 28, 2015.

www.firstpost.com, news portal.

www.foreignpolicy.com, a foreign policy portal.

www.foxnews.com, How high-tech connectivity is changing our lives, by Matt Finn, November 25,
2014
www.frontline.in, Into the brave new digital order, In conversation with Alan Rusbridger, former
editor of The Guardian, by Shashi Kumar, cover story on Frontline, August 4, 2015.

www.iijnm.org, Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bangalore.

www.iimc.nic.in, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi.

www.indiantelevision.com, We aim to spread entertainment through all avenues: Rupert Murdoch,


November 8, 2000

www.jmi.ac.in, JamiaMiliaIslamia Central University.


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www.livemint.com – If print is media dying, why are moneybags investing in it?

www.mangaloretoday.com, a news portal.

www.mangalorean.com, a news portal.

www.mangaloreuniversity.ac.in, Mangalore University.

www.manipal.edu, School of Communication, Manipal.

www.manoramajschool.com, Manorama School of Communication, Kottayam.

www.mcc.edu.in, Madras Christian College, Chennai.

www.mica.ac.in, Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad.

www.newskarnataka.com, a news portal.

www.people-press.org, The Pew Research Center for the people and the press, Trends in news
consumption: 1991-2012, In changing news landscape, even television is vulnerable,
September 27, 2012.

www.scroll.in, news portal.

www.simc.edu, Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication, Pune.

www.thenewsminute.com, news portal.

www.thewire.in, news portal.

www.uni-mysore.ac.in, Mysore University

www.unipune.ac.in, Pune Univesity.

www.whatisindia.com, Dr B P Maheshchandra Guru and M S Sapna, Training for careers in


Journalism, March 10, 2005

www.xaviercomm.org, Xavier Institute of Communication, Mumbai.

Source: Unstarred question No. 7019, answered on May 8, 2015 in the Lok Sabha, Ministry of
Information & Broadcasting
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Corporatization of Media Education

Mamta Ojha
Jagran Lake City University
Bhopal (MP)

Introduction
Corporatization means being buisness oriented, having a definite hiearchial structure and
governed by certain rules and regulations. When we speak of media education then media is a social
entity whose main motto is social service. It is governed by ethical norms. Corporatization itself
speaks of buisness, when in all its dealings the main motto is profit making. It does vigorous
marketing of its faculty, infrastructure, programmes and events through both conventional as well as
the new media. Its main concern is to publicize itself, to let the people know about it. Corporates
work on corporate communication principles. The main emphasis here is image building, goodwill
formation, identity formation and building reputation.
It is not wrong if these principles are used but the product which is education should be
ofquality. Market no doubt is expanding but it is becoming more and more manipulative rather than
being qualitative. Market can be tolerated but it should work on the principles of consumer
satisfaction and delight. Educational institutes are trying to be popular with the students rather than
being relevant and goal based. Unfortunately they are not striving towards excellence.It has not
become important for them to go for word of mouth publicity which is very much important and
which must come from the students. They do not have a long term vision.It is important to
understand the goals and objectives of media field and then all activities must be directed towards
attaining those goals.Media has to shape the classrooms and the classrooms need to shape the
industry.
The goals of media institutions must be to bring excellence into the media field by preparing
best media professionals and enriching them with media activities. The designing of the curriculum
must be done in such a manner that it connects the students directly to the industry.The best part of
corporatization is that the institutes have the best of infrastructure which creates an atmosphere of
learning and performing. It incites in the students an urge to learn and grow.It also happens that in
corporatization of education students pay heavy fees and therefore they become inclined to learn
things. The disadvantage of corporatization is that the students don‘t remain students but become
customers. They lose respect of teachers and become more and more demanding. They are not
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satisfied with the existing system and lack loyalty. Teachers in this system lack credibility and have
to continuously prove themselves of their holy intentions. Ethics and values are diminishing from
students. Students too are trying to build relations with teachers rather than proving their worth.
Their emphasis is more on getting marks rather than getting knowledge. Corporatization in media
field is establishing materialistic principles in the minds of media students. It is important that at
least media students do not become captives of materialism.
Objectives
1. To find the effect of corporatization on Media education.
2. To find out the advantages of corporatization on media education.
3. To find out the disadvantages of corporatization on media education.
Rationale
Corporatization is entering every field and it is being accepted also.But it is important to study its
implications on a very serious sector of education.Higher education guides the future of the youth
and it plays a very important role in enriching our youth.Youth spend so much of their precious
time on education and therefore it is important that this time must be relevant and justified.
Social Significance
Corporatization is a threat to Indian society as it works on the principles of customer
satisfaction and delight. Education is a matter of motivation and relevant enrichment. Education
though it is an important entity is not being able to stimulate our students. Students lack fire and
dedication. They lack interest, enthusiasm and concentration. It is a forced activity for them though
it must come out voluntarily to them. It is not a passive activity where the students are pampered
and spoon fed. Teachers need to build up so much of desire that it becomes oxygen for them. It is a
journey where the students and the teachers explore knowledge together. Teaching is arousal
through brainstorming sessions later on supplemented by attractive presentations. It lacks the
brainstorming sessions which can create interest and connect the students to the subject. It is
igniting minds where the students must be led to the sources of knowledge. It must connect them to
the industry. It is searching for the knowledge together with the students so that each finding gives
similar pleasure to both. Set patterns and structures many times bring monotony and dullness,
demolishing parameters and structures enhance the interest level of the students and generate new
knowledge.
The present trend in education is that the teacher explains the subject to the students
and then asks them to further explore it. This method reduces their interest level as they already
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know about the subject from the teacher and thus the beauty of exploring is reduced. They would
have lived the subject. They will not have to search for the subject in books but would have been
the masters of the subject themselves. In education both teachers and the students must become mad
about the subject. They need to feel exhausted by searching knowledge together.A thirst for the
knowledge has to be created. Classes should lead to a total stimulation of the brain and both the
teachers and students head reeling.
Review of Literature
This article was written on 10-9-2015 by Steve Nelson in Huffington post. Deboer offers a
messy but powerful indictment of the ―corporatization‖ of Higher Education, bemoaning
administrative bloat, glamorous facilities, glossy promotion, political correctness and much more.
He claims, with ample documentation that higher education has become one more consumer
product, with its producers seeking to please the market and minimize dissent or disruption. The
university campus is meticulously landscaped and stage managed for tour groups and websites.
Business mentality has taken over higher education and the management has gained wide
ranging power to make decisions that affected academic programmes. Cost effectiveness of
departments became a life or death analysis. ―Run it like a buisness‖ became a mandate, tacitly
surrendering to the idea that business folks simply know how to better manage anything and
everything.
The latest manifestation is ―Branding,‖a terrible term. The term is terrible because it represents
a capitulation to commercialization and materialism. A ―brand‖ is a manufactured image that may
or may not represent anything of value. As decisions have been increasingly dependent on
alignment with brand identity, the scales have been irreversibly tipped away from the true purpose
of education. It is unfortunate that every analysis of policy revolves around the economic utility of
the programme.
In another article, written by Nicolaus Mills, on Corporatization of Higher Education, he
says when our current period of slow economic growth will end is anybody‘s guess, but even when
it does end, colleges and universities will certainly not be rolling back their prices. These days, it is
not just the economic climate in which our colleges and universities find themselves that determines
what they charge and how they operate. It is their increasing corporatization.
If corporatization meant only that colleges and universities were finding ways to be less
wasteful, it would be a welcome turn of events. But an altogether different process is going on, one
that has saddled us with a higher education model that is both expensive to run and difficult to
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reform as a result of its focus on status, its view of students as customers, and its growing reliance
on top down administration.
The most visible sign of the corporatization of higher education lies in the commitment that
colleges and universities have made to win the ratings war. Winning a ―Best College‖ tag is
considered so essential to success that it shapes internal policies. Best colleges never sought to
shape higher education policy.
Instead, they make it as hard as possible to get into;astrategy that has pushed more and more high
school students to go to extremes to win the attention of admission officers.
The students who succeed in getting into our highest ranked colleges and universities are
thus far wealthier than the population as a whole. Students today have become customers who need
to feel satisfied with the campus experience, bought for them at higher prices. Food courts, gym and
elaborate performing art centers are increasingly common on college and university campuses.
Universities with residential campus have increased spending for student services than on academic
instructions.
We are currently witnessing the rise of the imperial university with campus around the
globe, particularly and ironically in countries with authoritarian regimes willing to invest in a brand
name university. Colleges and universities that don‘t have a foreign campus worry about getting left
behind. They are trying to make themselves more attractive on the global stage. Not surprisingly,
those administrators who occupy the highest ranks in our college and university bureaucracies are
those who have professionally benefitted the most from corporatization. Running a corporatized
college or university is not easy. The professor who takes time out from teaching and research to
devote himself to administration is an anachronism. A new, permanent administrative class now
dominates higher education. At the top are the presidents and CEOs who earn a good salary and
serve on numerous corporate boards.
A still bigger change in how higher education is managed lies in its growing number of
administrators in its rank. Administrators have become a creator presence in universities while the
faculty has been on decline. Small wonder then, that so many policy decisions at colleges and
universities are made without or despite faculty input. Small wonder too that when colleges and
universities think of economizing, their target is all too often those who are already their most
vulnerable employees-part time faculty and service workers. The administrators who run our
leading colleges and universities are unwilling to downsize themselves. Today‘s students are being
betrayed by being ‗relentlessly rehearsed and tested until winners are culled from the rest. For
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starters, faculty are going to have to take back much of the power they have surrendered over the
years to professional administrators to real change.‘
Conclusion
Corporatization relies a lot on marketing principles and unfortunately though the market has
become unavoidable and powerful; it somewhere is becoming a compromise. Though it has
expanded and engulfed every area, it has more or less led to generalizations. In its race to satisfy the
masses it is not being able to meet specificity. It is getting acceptance because of its glamour and
presentation but it is somewhere lacking substance and the same has happened in the educational
sector. It is unfortunate because higher education is a substance and depth building activity among
the youth. Media students need to carry a lot of depth and substance. They need to have a fire in
them. Must be well read, analytical and evaluative of things but these students with the exception of
a few lack all these qualities. Media students have got to have a questioning attitude…an aspiration
to lead all entities towards excellence. They need not to accept things on face value and search for
5w and 1H at all places. They need to look powerful with the knowledge they posses and the ethics
they follow. Journalists‘ dress code is basically blue jeans,khadi kurta,kolhapuri slippers and a
cotton bag on their shoulders. This dress code itself suggests that they need not be affected by
materialism, unfortunately money today is considered power and knowledge has become
secondary.There is a great responsibility on the shoulders of media students to bring Goddess
Saraswati and Goddess Laxmi on equal platforms and drive India towards a knowledge economy.
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A Critical Pedagogy for Media Education in India:


The Opportunities Missed and Challenges Ahead

Ashes Kr. Nayak


Department of Mass Communication
Sikkim University
Abstract

Technological innovations and their adoptions in the educational pedagogy have certainly
brought changes in the teaching learning process of not only media education but have also brought
changes in art education. However, a pedagogical practice lenient more towards
technogenization/objectification of media education often limits the opportunity for the students and
teachers to critically engage themselves with issues of greater social, political and cultural
significance. A general observation of the educational curricula and pedagogical practice across
different universities and institutions imparting media education in the country gives an impression
that the critical ways of engaging oneself with the educational content is often cut to size to facilitate
the market agenda. Besides, a nasty politics played out to dehumanize and oppress the students and
teachers through a control over educational pedagogy doesn‘t bother much to them who are at the
helm of designing educational curricula. Media education in India has often fallen prey to such a
silent and covert dominance that restricts the growth of critical faculties among the students and
teachers alike which is a concern. The paper is a critical assessment of such a confounding state of
media education in India.

Key Words:Media Education, Pedagogy, Technogenization, Objectification, Market Agenda,


Critical Faculties
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The problems that we are currently encountering in the field of education and teaching-
learning or pedagogy, across the world, including in some of the developing countries like India are
limitless. Eventually, education, the way it has been made effective or is being given, has become
more a tool for subjugation and suppression rather than a force for liberation and freedom. The
problems related to the condition of education and pedagogical practice cannot be seen each in
isolation, and compartmentalising them to their respective locations is impossible. One must
understand that the problems related to pedagogy and its impact on the societal and political
structure centre on the relationship between pedagogy and knowledge. The whole aspect of the
relationship between pedagogy and the larger aspects of the society is guided by a structure of
knowledge that is constituted through a particular pedagogical frame which is authoritarian in
nature. Certainly such a pedagogical practice has its impacts on the democratic structure of a
country as democracies around the world are becoming more authoritarian driven by the forces of
cruel capitalism and political favouritism. Even though the whole process of such a transformation is
a complex phenomenon, one must understand that the fate of democracy in any society is dependent
on the existing knowledge structure of the society which guides the perception of the masses, and
accordingly directs the masses to act socially and politically. In this way knowledge becomes the
link between pedagogy and society. If not in totality, such a structure of knowledge is partly
constructed through pedagogy or teaching- learning. Social control is effected through a control over
the pedagogical practice. In that case, the pedagogical structure possibly can never be assessed by
isolating itself from the existing social and political structure of a country or society. Similarly, the
problems faced in field of media education and its pedagogy cannot be studied in isolation
separating itself from the educational and pedagogical practice in general. So what the author will
do is to situate the problems w faced in the field of media education and pedagogy within the larger
framework of educational pedagogy in general as practiced across disciplines.
Before moving ahead with the paper, the author makes it clear at the beginning that pointing
out all the problems and charting out an action plan for resolving them is not possible simply by
writing a few thousand words. Rather, it requires an active engagement of oneself as one among the
many teachers who are working, as termed by Henry Giroux, as ―transformative intellectuals‖.
According to Henry Giroux, ―Acting as a transformative intellectual means helping students
acquire critical knowledge about basic societal structures, such as the economy, the state, the work
place, and mass culture, so that such institutions can be open to potential transformation‖ (Giroux
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1997, pp. 103-04), leading to an overall social transformation, and liberation of the self and the
society. According to the author‘s understanding, this is what is considered as to be the goal of
critical pedagogy. The aim of critical pedagogy is to equip both the teachers and students with the
critical ability to uncover the latent ideological forces which work behind the structuring of the
mechanism of educational delivery and teaching-learning. Simultaneously, it observes its
implications on the social structure or relations of social production. Critical pedagogy tries to
scrutinize education and teaching learning in a social, cultural, political, and historical context. A
dialectical analysis of ―pedagogy‖-- as space of teaching-learning-- gives the opportunity to see it
from a contradictory position where it can work as a force of either ―domination‖ or ―liberation‖
depending upon the way it has been made effective.
Coming to the need for a radical/ critical/ revolutionary pedagogy, it is felt more as a result of
the declining state of education and its inability to counter the dominant forces of the world driven
by the power of capital. One must understand the fact that a control over the subjects of the life
world is not possible without a control over the knowledge structure. A control over the structure of
knowledge becomes essential for the dominant forces as it works as a force for the control over
public perception as perception is always guided by the existing knowledge structure of the society.
A critical pedagogy, as argued, would counter such an authoritarian and totalitarian discourse
effected through a control over pedagogy and knowledge. In such a crisis situation in the field of
education and teaching-learning, the need for an alternative pedagogical language to critically
engage oneself with the changing context of teaching-learning is put forward by Henry Giroux, as
he writes:
The current crisis in public and higher education has made it alarmingly clear that
educators, artists, intellectuals, and youth need a
new political and pedagogical language for addressing the changingcontexts and issues
facing a world in which capital draws upon an unprecedented convergence of resources
— financial, cultural, political, economic, scientific, military, and technological — to
exercise powerful and diverse forms of control (Giroux 2014, pp. 12).
When it comes to media education, the role of critical pedagogy would be to generate critical
awareness/consciousness about the mode of functioning of media and its associated ideological
structures, and its impact on the social relations of production or social space. In a simple term we
may term it ―critical media literacy‖. In that sense a critical pedagogy for media education under
the name ―critical media literacy‖ empowers the masses to resist the dominant discourses of media
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and simultaneously takes the society to a democratic condition accommodating the social
differences. But one must understand the fact that accommodation of social differences is not
possible without accommodating the alternative perspectives of knowledge which are denied by a
functional pedagogical practice.
Media education in India is not free from such a deceptive and colonial structure as it
operates within the existing dominant structures constructed by the neoliberal economic and
political forces. One may ask here a crucial question as to how there is a link between educational
pedagogy and democratic practice. In reference to this question, what the writer believes is that the
fruits of democracy can never be harvested without democratising education and the existing
narratives of teaching- learning. Of course there are many thinkers who have contributed and
written extensively on the subject related to critical pedagogy. To name a few, Paulo Freire, Henry
Giroux, Michael A. Apple, and Peter McLaren have given their critical insights on educational
curricula and teaching learning emphasizing on the need for a critical social pedagogy to engage
oneself with the changing and dominating social forces. They have criticised the traditional
educational system and teaching-learning process that are always imparted with a political motive
to subjugate and control the masses. Considering these facts, the role of ―critical media literacy‖ as
part of critical pedagogy becomes important. As Douglas Kellner writes:
Media literacy involves teaching the skills that will empower citizens and students to
become sensitive to the politics of representations of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality,
class, and other cultural differences in order to foster critical thinking and enhance
democratization. Critical media literacy aims to make viewers and readers more critical
and discriminating readers and producers of texts (Kellner 2000, pp. 197-198).
Moreover, when we talk about the problems and prospects of media education, we cannot see
or observe it in isolation as it operates under a larger structure of the educational environment of a
country and the world as a whole set by the economic and political forces which operate with an
objective to maintain the existing social order/ relations of production. Such a relation among the
different forces of production often resists change, and if it changes, it changes according to the
interests of the dominant forces of production. So, what the author wishes to argue through this
paper is that media education in India is suffering from such a sickness where it resists change and
acceptance of noble values that could bring an overall transformation in the democratic structure of
the country. However, such a tendency, i.e., the unwillingness of the educational system to change
is common across disciplines both in Science and Art.
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Coming to the problems faced in the field of education in general and media education in
particular is that the condition of education as a social force is always affected by the forces of
Globalization. One of the most terrible problems currently we are facing in the field of education is
its ―commodification‖-- a universal phenomenon. Even though, commodification of education is a
global phenomenon influenced by the dominant force of capitalism, commodification of education
is not more widespread anywhere else than as it is in the field of media education, leading to, what
the author terms the ―destruction of democracy‖, because it is media and education that structure
the condition of democracy. The destruction of democracy is often mediated through the
destruction of education and the democratic structure of the educational institutions that even
includes media education, and teaching learning or what we call it as educational pedagogy. In this
context, Prabhat Patnaik writes:
The destruction of education in short occurs from two directions, the commoditization
of education, and the ―communalization‖ of education. The co-existence of these two
tendencies in the sphere of education is the counter part in the realm of education of
the corporate-alliance that holds sway in the sphere of the polity. And there is
interestingly no contradiction between these two tendencies, of commoditization and
―communalization‖ (Patnaik 2015, pp. 17).
So the destruction of education is always intentional than incidental in nature as it is
motivated by the dominant forces of production. While ―commoditization of education‖ is more
related with the economic interests of the global corporate culture, it cannot be completely freed
from the political structures of the global society. But ―communalization of education‖ holds more
political value indirectly associated with the economic interests of the global elite. In the context of
the paper, the argument is that commoditisation and communalization take place through a control
over curricula and educational pedagogy that limits both teachers and students to a particular
structure/narrative of knowledge, its construction, and dissemination. Such a narrative of
knowledge construction becomes an obstacle for a multicultural and diverse society as it conditions
knowledge from a dominant perspective without respecting the alternative locations of the sources
of knowledge.
Further, restricting the pedagogy to a particular ―structure‖ or ―frame‖ is, what I call,
―communalization‖ or ―objectification‖ where knowledge becomes commonsensical/ ideological in
nature. Such a narrative of the production of knowledge does nothing but maintains the existing
relations of production in a capitalist or corporate economy that heavily relies on the employability
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of students based on a set of skill-based education rather than ‗critical education‘ or critical
thinking abilities, simultaneously, limiting the ―radical imagination‖ of the educated mass. As an
ideology, a functional pedagogical practice, as Althusser terms ―reproduce the conditions of its
production at the same time as it produces, and in order to be able to produce. It must therefore
produce: 1. the productive forces, 2. the existing relations of production‖ (Althusser 2008, pp. 2) In
that case it produces a society that always serves the interests of the dominant class. Along with
this, such a form of pedagogy limits the opportunity for both the students and teachers to resist the
dominant ideological structures which come in association with the existing curricula and
pedagogical practice. Such a condition is created to commoditize the society by commoditizing
education.
[W]hen education is commoditized, it ceases the role of making the students curious, or
inquisitive, or excited by the exposure to the grand world of ideas. It makes them look
upon education as a capsule which they must imbibe so that they can command a better
value on the job market. Commoditization of education destroys creativity, originality,
and any desire to go beyond the given, among the students. Since going beyond the
given is the hallmark of creative thought, commoditization of education destroys
creative thought (Patnaik 2015, pp. 15).
In that case, a functional pedagogical practice does nothing but leads to the persistence of the
existing class order where the society is divided into two classes, one is the ―oppressor‖ and the
other is the ―oppressed‖. Such apedagogical practice suppresses the art of critical questioning of
the dominantforces of production,—including the media, as one among the forces of social
production—and it begins nowhere else, rather, in the narratives of teaching and learning or what
we call as pedagogy. Considering this fact, the role of critical pedagogy can never be undermined in
liberating the masses, because a ―functional pedagogy‖ always deceives the learners and makes
them unconscious of the social realities/relations, whereas, a ―critical pedagogy‖, as Giroux points
out:
signals how questions of audience, voice, power, and evaluation actively work to
construct particular relations between teachers and students, institutions and society, and
classrooms and communities...Pedagogy in the critical sense illuminates the relationship
among knowledge, authority, and power (Giroux 1994, pp.30).
What could be understood from the fact is that the structuration/ moulding/ conditioning of
the students who act as citizens is articulated through the existing relationship between teacher and
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student in the teaching learning process. It is the ―space of relation‖ between the teacher and the
student or what is called the ―pedagogical space‖, that determines the condition of the classroom,
community, and at the end, the society as a whole. Here, one must understand a crucial fact that
―authority‖ and ―power‖ are often mediated through the existing relationship between the teachers
and students or pedagogy or through the art/space of constructing and disseminating knowledge.
While on the one hand, a critical pedagogy gives the students an opportunity to look at the
knowledge from a critical perspective differentiating themselves from a fixed location of place of
understanding, on the other hand, a functional pedagogical structure is meant to support/normalize
the existing relations of social production leading the students, and sometimes even the teachers
towards an unconscious state where they engage with the educational content and knowledge
without coming into an active process of dialogue and introspection. Such a form of
knowledge/subjugated knowledge often becomes an obstacle for the formation of an egalitarian and
just society, and it often germinates in the classroom set up leading to the destruction of democracy.
But a critical pedagogy aims to strengthen democracy by strengthening the masses and their roles
within a society.
Critical pedagogy considers how education can provide individuals with the tools to
better themselves and strengthen democracy, to create a more egalitarian and just
society, and thus to deploy education in a process of progressive social change (Kellner
2000, pp. 197).
Besides, there are other issues that are also compounding the existing problems in the
educational environment of the universities and institutions across the world. As said in the
beginning, the problem of educational pedagogy cannot be seen in isolation, the problem of the
appointment of non-tenured and adjunct faculty or what is termed in India as ―guest faculty‖, are
often forced to overwork for a pittance is further worsening the condition of academic distinctions
of the universities and departments. Such a practice has become a global phenomenon, and in India,
it is often normalised and legitimatised by conjoining it with the logic that ―It is a Global
Phenomenon‖. Such a way of functioning of the universities and departments across the country
leads to the development of, as Prabhat Patnaik points out, a ―dualism‖ where we find ―a few well-
paid professors on the one side and an army of underpaid ―subaltern‖ teachers on the other. Even
though this violates the basic principle of ―equal pay for equal work,‖ this fact does not seem to
bother anyone‖ (Patnaik 2015, pp.19). What it leads to is the emergence of a new under-class of
subaltern teaching community, and it paralyzes academic growth. As Giroux writes:
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Under the reign of neoliberalism, the university is turning into a modern-day version of
the sweatshop for adjunct and non-tenured faculty. A university without a proper faculty
and governance structure cannot be a university wedded to democratic values and
education for empowerment and autonomy. On the contrary, it is a site of reactionary
power where all vestiges of critical thinking and exchange are wiped out. Under such
circumstances, education becomes obsessed with accountability schemes, redefining
students as consumers, deskilling faculty, governing through the lens of a business
culture, and dumbing down the curriculum by substituting training for a critically
informed education (Giroux 2014, pp. 11-12).
Such a condition of higher education in general has also affected media education. And this is
exactly what has happened even in the case of media education in India where most of the media
departments of the newly formed Central Universities are partly run by ―contractual‖ and ―guest
faculty‖ members. Sometimes the universities even do not consider this section of the teaching
community as faculty members as in some cases they are also appointed/known as ―guest teachers‖
and ―tutors‖. At the same time, the authorities give an argument that the vacant posts are not being
filled because of shortage of qualified candidates in the respective disciplines.
Coming to the questions related to the missed opportunities as a result of a departure of our
educational system and teaching learning form a critical pedagogical frame to a more functional or
objective orientation, what is suggested is that, one must see the problem with respect to ―critical
pedagogy‖ for media education from a wider perspective of the relationship between education,
media, democracy, public sphere, and social justice. But this can only be possible through a critical
engagement of the students of media with the larger aspects of the societal and political structures
which are often conditioned by the knowledge we generate through teaching-learning and through
media. Unfortunately such a way of ―understanding‖ the problem faced by education and
democracy, facilitated by a critical pedagogical practice is obliterated by the neoliberal market
forces of production motivated by a corporate culture. It undermines education as a social force of
change and reduces its transformative potentials affecting the condition of public sphere and
democracy. As Giroux points out:
As market mentalities and moralities tighten their grip on all aspects of society, public
institutions and public spheres are first downsized, and then eradicated (Giroux 2014,
pp. 9).
In this context, the agenda of the market forces are best set in the existing narratives of the
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pedagogy, and also through the existing curricula the students follow; rather than being set in the
free market itself. A more correct way of perceiving and understanding such a problem is to get an
idea that the contemporary education or society operates virtually in the free market where there is
no regulation over educational content, and the ways of its dissemination, with a sense of public
interest. In a free market model, in the era of neoliberal capitalism, education is directly or
indirectly controlled by market forces leading to the commodification or objectification of
education, learning, and knowledge. Under such a state of condition both the teacher and student
follow a particular pattern of teaching and learning. Here the teacher teaches and
disseminates/imposes knowledge from an authoritative position leaving the students subdued, and
at the receiving end of knowledge. This concept of education has been termed by Paulo Freire as
the ―banking education‖ where the students/learners simply becomes the ―depositories‖ of
knowledge and the teachers become the ―depositors‖, and advocated the need for ―problem posing
education‖, where both the teachers and students mutually engage in the process of knowledge
construction through a dialogue, its validation and dissemination across the community of
knowledge seekers. The banking concept of education relies on a functional pedagogical practice
that does not consider education and learning as forces of critical perception of the self and its
location within the society. Moreover, such a dominant pedagogical practice fails to visualise the
existing relationship between the self and the society. As Freire writes:
In problem posing education, people develop their power to perceive critically the
way they exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves; they come
to see the world not as a static reality, but a reality in process, in transformation
(Freire 1970, pp. 83).
What Paulo Freire argues is that such a concept of knowledge and learning liberates the oppressed
from institutional dominance and strengthens the democratic values of education and strengthening
the democracy in reality. From an existential point of view, such a form of education rejects life
and knowledge as static and objective realities, and it values differences. At the same time, such a
form of pedagogical practice takes the humanity to a conscious stage of critical understanding
about their role within the society. As Freire points out:
[B]anking education anesthetizes and inhibits creative power, problem- posing
education involves a constant unveiling of reality. The former attempts to maintain the
submersion of consciousness; the later strives for the emergence of consciousness and
critical intervention in reality (Freire 1970,pp.81).
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But under the free market model of education, influenced by the neoliberal political and economic
forces, participation of students in the process of knowledge construction and its dissemination
across the community is overshadowed by an imposition of corporatized knowledge to fulfil the
requirement of corporate interests. Further, such a narrative or relationship between the teachers
and students, in a larger sense, constructs a weak democratic structure-- a universal phenomenon all
across the world, and it even includes some of the most developed countries of the world like the
US. Here I quote Prabhat Patnaik (2015) as he writes:
All over the world, the role of education for critiquing existing structures so that a
more humane society can be built is being undermined. And the chief means through
which it is effected is the commoditization of education, and the associated processes
of its privatization and conversion into sphere of profit-making (Patnaik 2015, pp.13).
Considering this fact, the democratic potential of a country can never be fully realised
unless the students/citizens of the country critically engage themselves in dialogues and accordingly
produce knowledge that liberates them from unnecessary oppression and dominance of the state and
other institutional agencies. Here, one cannot deny the role of educational curricula and pedagogical
practice which have the potential to take the society to a new age for a humane condition of life and
living. Unfortunately, such powerful and liberating forces of education have often been kept out of
the sight of the educated mass with a purposeful intention to suppress and subjugate the masses for
greater social, political, and economic control.
Coming to the concept of ―academic authoritarianism‖, what the author contends is the fact
that it is emerging as a serious threat to the growth of potential leaders in the field of education in
general and media education in particular. Authority is established through a mode of teaching-
learning as media education has become prone to, as Donaldo Macedo (2009) argues, an
―authoritarian tradition of lecturing without student input and discussion‖ (Macedo 2009, pp.19).
An authorial discourse led by a functional pedagogical practice limits the unbounded potentialities
of education that can transform the society in a positive direction.Further, an authorial discourse in
the field of education including media, in another way, leads to ―self depreciation‖ of both the
teachers and students who interact or live within a ―functional pedagogical space‖. Such a space
does not give the opportunity to experience reality from alternative perspectives/locations. Or we
can say it legitimizes the existing conditions of life and knowledge hold by the oppressed and
imposed by its oppressors. According to Paulo Freire:
Self depreciation is another characteristic of the oppressed, which derives from their
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internalization of the opinion of the oppressors‘ hold of them. So often do they hear that
they are good for nothing, know nothing and are incapable of learning anything—that
they are sick, lazy, and unproductive— that in the end they become convinced of their
own unfitness (Freire 1970, pp.63.)
Such an authorial discourse naturalises the existing condition of life and knowledge they
hold--both the teachers and students. In this context, a critical pedagogy would create a liberated
and relatively free space that gives opportunity to the students and teachers to interact and engage in
dialogues and construction of knowledge. In that sense the aim of critical pedagogy would be to
produce knowledge in the larger human interest liberating both the being and knowledge from an
anaesthetic condition of life.
Further a banking concept of education facilitated by a functional pedagogical practice is
―necrophilic‖ in nature as it oppresses the other voices through standardised knowledge. Just like
banking education, a functional pedagogical practice is necrophilic as it serves the interests of
oppression. The discourse of authority here is waged within a controlled space where the teacher
places itself in a dominating position letting the students in a submissive state, and withdrawing
from them the will to question the dominant narratives of knowledge and understanding. Such a
sadistic and perverse form of knowledge celebrates the death of dissent and alternative narratives of
knowledge and life. As Freire writes:
Oppression—overwhelming control—is necrophilic; it is nourished by love of death, not
life. The banking concept of education which serves the interests of oppression is also
necrophilic. Based on a mechanistic, static, naturalistic, spatialized view of
consciousness, it transforms students as receiving objects. It attempts to control thinking
and action, leads women and men to adjust to the world, and inhibits their creative
power.
As said, ―civility dies with the death of dialogue‖, an authoritarian discourse led by a functional
pedagogical practice leads to the death of humanity, and democracy at last. In this context there is a
need for ―counter authority‖ to defy the dominating forces associated with pedagogy as a force of
social production. As Giroux writes, what we need is:
a view of authority that legitimates schools as democratic, counter public spheres and
teachers as transformative intellectuals who work toward a realization regarding their
views of community, socia1 justice, empowerment, and transformation (Giroux 1997,
pp.93)..
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REFERENCE

Althusser, L. (2008). On Ideology. Verso: London

Doughty, Howard A. (2014). Book Review ―Neoliberalism‘s War on Higher Education‖, by Henry
A. Giroux. Between the Line Press: Toronto.

Freire, P. (1970). The Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum: New York.

Giroux, H. A. (1994). Disturbing pleasures: Learning popular culture. Routledge: New York.

Giroux, Henry A. (1997). Pedagogy and the Politics of Hope. Westview Press: Oxford.

Giroux, Henry A. (2014). Neoliberalism‘s War Against the Radical Imagination. Tikkun, Vol. 29,
No.3, Duke University Press.

Kellner, D. (2000). Multiple Literacies and Critical Pedagogies: New Paradigms. In Peter Pericles
Trifonas (Ed.,) Revolutionary Pedagogies: Cultural Politics, Intituting Education, and the
Discourse of Theory, pp. 196-224, Routledge: New York.

Macedo, D. (2009). Introduction, in Paulo Freire‘s, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, pp.12-26,


Continuum: New York.

Patnaik, P. (2015). The Current Conjuncture and The Erosion of Higher Education. VIII Foundation
Day lecture, Sikkim University, Gangtok: India.

Peter, M. (2006). Life in Schools: An introduction to Critical Pedagogy in the Foundations of


Education. Pearson: New York.
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Ethicality and Influence of Market Forces in Media


Educationand Research- A Study

N. Sushil K. Singh Laishram Roshan Singh


Dept. of Communication Management Dept.of Communication Management
Technology Technology
Guru Jambheshwar University Guru Jambheshwar University of Science
of Science & Technology & Technology, Hisar, Hariyana
Hisar, Haryanaand

Abstract
While working on the Industry- University Linkage Model, the higher education of the
country was merely reduced to a demand and supply structure undermining professional and
academic infrastructure. Abandoning the professional and academic pursuits, the model of demand
and supply has greatly reduced the quality of education.
This study hypothesized that while there is an aggressive demand by the industry was seen in
case of professional courses, like, media and communication studies, the institutes of higher studies
were neither oriented towards academic pursuits nor ready to meet market demands. In other words
the professional courses in universities in India are ‗lost‘ somewhere leading to failures in
academic and researches. The study takes a case of a university in Haryana which follows credit
system in professional and technical courses. This portrays how the academic studies and
researchers are being hampered by misdemeanors of academic system and market influences.
The study is solely concerned with the media education in the country with respect to the
ensuing market forces as well as prevailing ethicality by adopting a case study of a media education
department offering PG and researches in Mass Communication. The placement constraints and
falling entrants in the last few years have led to a serious concern.
Is there a gap between the academic pursuits of media and communication courses and the
existing media industry?
Orshould the mass communication courses be specifically designed for supply of industrial
demands only?
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Or what measures should we adopt for higher education and research in terms of mass
Communication and Journalism courses?
Or what kind of ethicality should we explore while designing Mass Communication courses
for:
(i) Research and Higher Academic process
(ii) Media Education and Media Industry linkage
These and similar questions are addressed in this case study.

Keywords: Media, Education, Market, Ethics, Quality, Research.


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Introduction
Indian education system, one of the largest in the world, has witnessed tremendous changes
within the span of around 70 years since independence. Higher education system had gone through
a stupendous increase in the number of universities/ university level institutions and colleges since
independence. The number of universities has increased 34 times from 20 in 1950 to 677 in 2014
(MHRD, 2015). There are 45 central universities out of which 40 are under the purview of Ministry
of Human Resource Development, 318 state universities, 185 state private universities, 218 deemed
to be universities, 51 institutions of national importance (established under Acts of Parliament)
under MHRD (16 IITs, 30 NITs, 5 IISERs). As of March 31, 2013, the number of colleges in the
country is 37, 204 which is 74 times to that of just 500 in 1950 (MHRD, 2015).
However, many issues and problems which originate from disparities and developmental
models adopted are faced by the education system implicating it to become a marketing commodity
and multi-billion business (Kaur, Randeep, 2014).
In the recent trends, the world economy is facing prodigious change. New developments in
science and technology, competition, media revolution and internationalization are revolutionizing
the education sector. A paradigm shift in higher education, from `national' to `global education,'
from `state controlled' to an `open market economy,' from `general education' to an `educational
system driven by market forces' is being witnessed (Kaur, Randeep, 2014). These changes in form
of market forces make new demands and pose fresh challenges to our established education systems
and practices.
With this revolution in the field of modern education, many professional courses are
blooming in the country, especially Mass Communication courses. Mass communication is one
such course which gives variety of career options to the students and expresses their creativity up to
the optimum level. But many times, the present higher education system has failed to fulfill the
demands of the market creating a dilemma to both academic and market forces.
The present paper is an effort to bring out the current issues faced by university level
institutions towards fulfilling the market demands as well as maintaining the academic and research
perspectives. The study is solely concerned with the media education in the country with respect to
the ensuing market forces as well as prevailing ethicality by adopting a case study of a media
education department offering PG and researches in Mass Communication.
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Objectives of the study


The following are the broad objectives of the study:
1. To discuss the influence of market forces in media education.
2. To observe the gap between the academic pursuits of Media and Communication courses
and the existing media industry
3. To discuss the ethicality we should observe while designing Mass Communication courses.
4. To observe whether Mass Communication courses are specifically designed for industrial
needs only.
5. To study the implementation of Choice Based Credit System in the Indian education system.
Methodology
The study takes a case of a university in Haryana which follows credit system in
professional and technical courses. This portrays how the academic studies and researchers are
being hampered by misdemeanors of academic system and market influences.
Guru Jambheshwar University is a university in Haryana which offers M.Sc Mass Communication
courses. The Faculty of Media Studies has two departments- Department of Communication
Management & Technology and Department of Advertising Management and Public Relations. The
intake of students is around 50 seats each in both the departments.
Market Forces inEducation
The idea of media literacy prompts an increasingly divisive debate between educators who
wish to protect children from the commercialization of global markets and those who challenge
critical media studies as misguided, outdated, and ineffective (Stephen Kline, et al. 2006).
One of the most crucial issues in education is the differentiated opportunity structures
offered to students of different backgrounds. However, the current market-oriented policy making
in education has been accused as not actually addressing issues such as the aforementioned
(Giamouridis 2003) i.e. the whole reform has been seen as irrelevant to the issues that really matter
in education (Levin, 2002). Furthermore, the very compatibility of market practices and equality in
education has been heavily contested (Gray, 1991).
Under the impact of powerful forces, the Indian system of higher education is becoming
significantly more competitive. New forces are reshaping the system—a rapid growth of for- profit
degree granting colleges and institutions; an explosion of virtual courses available from traditional
non-profit, for-profit, and completely new institutions; demographic pressures encouraging more
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and different students to attend higher education; the impact of digital technology on teaching and
learning; and an emerging trend toward the globalization of higher education. The system is moving
toward one dominated more by market forces, less by regulation. What is emerging is a new form of
competition. As the system becomes more structured by market forces, it is likely to be more
responsive to the needs of society, more concerned with access, efficiency and quality.
Although the market forces in higher education would make it more competitive. These new
competitive pressures bring both opportunity and danger. As market forces come to play a larger
role, they may also create a system that undercuts or diminishes key attributes of the system
important to society, such as concern for the less advantaged, the introduction of students to the role
of citizenship, and open debate of critical issues in society. A higher education system left to market
forces, without a thoughtful plan, could result in limited access for low-income students, decrease in
the quality of offerings as institutions focus more on profitability and less on delivering a high-
quality product, intrusion of market interests into the areas of research and scholarship.
When investigating educational systems in terms of market forces, school organization is
discussed within its broader environment. For the purpose of describing the relationship between
organization and environment, two mechanisms most appropriate in education are used (Ouchi,
1980). The first is the market approach. In a market, the consumers, in this case, the student or
his/her parent, are the major actor. Governmental control will be discussed only in so far as it stops
short of interference. The government does not prevent producers form responding to consumers
and from competing with one another (Teelken, C 1998).
The second approach is the institutional approach. Institutionalism discusses relationships
between organizations and their environment, with the emphasis on the organizations‘ institutional
environment including the central and local government. As Van Wieringen (1989) explains, some
schools are so thoroughly interrelated with their environment that they are hard to recognize as
separate organizations.
Consumers can only enjoy ‗monarchical‘ rights if producers are able and willing to provide
the goods or services they want (Woods, 1994). One would also expect an increased presence of
other market elements, choice will be beneficial if producers of education are able to fulfil the
consumers‘ needs (Teelken, C 1998).
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Media Studies
The world has witnessed a phenomenal and unprecedented explosion in the field of
communication technology and media. The entire global community seems to have been brought
together into one unified village. And it is here that Mass-Communication, as a stream of study, and
as a career, becomes so important and enviable.
The birth of journalism education dates back to the early 1920s. Dr. Annie Besant made a
pioneering effort in training candidates before joining journalism in Adyar, Tamil Nadu (Tandon,
Ashok, 2009; Faculty Development Programme 2013-15). Thereby, the American College of
Journalism in Bombay (now Mumbai) was set up by Dr J B Kumarappa in 1936. Similarly, an
experiment on the training of journalists was initiated by Aligarh University. It was however
terminated in 1940. It was an endeavour of such colleges to introduce formal training in journalism.
It was Punjab University in Lahore (now in Pakistan) that introduced a course in undivided India in
1941 with a one year post graduate diploma course. It later started the course in New Delhi in 1948.
Mass Communication is not limited to journalism alone. To a great extent mass media is a
modern reality which covers all aspects of human life. Moreover, a great change can be observed in
the concept of people working in mass media. Careers in Mass Communication are not only high
paying but also bring in a great deal of job satisfaction and expression of creativity.
With the advancement in technology, all professions related to Mass Communication now
require skilled professionals who work fast and efficiently send across the message to a whole range
of audience. A closer inspection of reality proves that only those with professional training make
the grade in this profession. `
Demand and supply plays a crucial role in careers of Mass Communication professionals.
The global recession had cost many high profile journalists their jobs and the graduates of these
turbulent times found it extremely hard to get placed. On the contrary, there is a dearth of trained
professionals in mass media, new entertainment and news channels and with new launches in the
pipeline the demand will only shoot up. Opening up of media sector for foreign investment is
expected to create new jobs in the field.
News Corporation of Rupert Murdoch, Disney Entertainment, Warner Brothers, CNBC,
Guardian Group, BBC, ABC and many others are included among the large media groups which
offer attractive jobs in Mass Communication at different levels and positions. In fact jobs in these
organisations are attractive in terms of compensation and offer challenging job profiles. Indian
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professionals have an edge to work in international media houses for they have excellent command
over English language.
Ethicality
In a general way, ethics may be regarded as the study which arises from the human capacity
to choose among values (Peston, 2007: 7). In the understanding of ethics, as long as the effects of
the practice, rightly or otherwise, to the individual who practices it, the agreement goes to that
length, but if the effects of the practices of an individual is negative on a society or sections of
people (BK Ravi, 2013), then the ethical considerations of his/her practice is questionable, referring
―greed is good‖ (Ibid: 10). Ethics as philosophical reflection is never enough but must interact with
a realistic and accurate interpretation of social conditions and the prospects for their transformation
(Peston, 2007)
Many ideological and pedagogical crises at macro and micro levels in universities and
colleges in India have been faced by media education in the country. Incompatibilities between the
curriculum and pedagogy on the one hand, and the thrust given to theory and practice on the other,
have precipitated the crisis further. Further, the expanding universe of media education curriculum
reflects a continual transformation which now includes journalism, advertising, research, radio,
television and new media production and communication theories. Journalism education in India
has been influenced by both British and American traditions resulting in polemically contrasting
orientations within media institutes (M. Shuaib Mohamed Haneef, 2012).
In fact, media departments in Indian universities reflect the dominance of western contents in the
curriculum.
Mass Communication courses are in dilemma stuck between two contesting interests of
teachers – one group of thought favouring ‗theory‘ and the other favouring ‗practical knowledge‘.
The best would be to fuse the two and introduce innovative approaches in teaching subjects such as
media laws to make it interesting and at the same time help students to develop reflective skills.
However, we find more teachers who have a heavy orientation to practical knowledge building and
they rationalize that theory cannot be actualized as it runs counter to the media market and its
forces. Sometimes such contradictions may cause students some sort of confusion in choosing the
right approach to maintain the ethics in journalism.
As higher education in the country moves toward a demand driven funding model and other
potential market reforms are introduced, the business models of established universities will be
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challenged. This competition will be fuelled by battles for market share between established
players, entry of new players into the market, and further pressure in international education
markets from the growth of the ‗second estate‘ in emerging markets(Ernst & Young, 2011).
To sustain a strong market position in an increasingly competitive higher education market
place, the importance of the following comes to play:
• A clearly differentiated market position
• Alignment of student experience and target segments
• Considering mergers, divestments and other forms of restructuring
Regardless of strategic direction, institutions will need to drive operational excellence and
alignment of the business model to the market position. This should encompass the whole
institution — from teaching, research and academic support through to administration, institutional
management, governance and culture; universities could benefit from using a structured diagnostic
process to understand if they are ready or a more competitive, consumer-driven market (Ernst &
Young, 2011).
Most of the countries have a long tradition of forecasting supply and demand, but national
experiences differ in terms of the periodicity, level of detail and methodology used (Egbert de
Weert, 2011). The main quantitative approaches are based on economic models; long-term
prognoses will be the key for setting the tone for subsequent policy making.
Course Design Vs Industrial Needs
Media education in India is anchored in two dominant systems - media industry and
education sector. Alongside the issue of curricula, students‘ work experience had become an
important part of the way the media industry worked. While work experience may be useful for the
individual student, it would also reduce the opportunities open to the same student in the jobs
market.
The whole concept of work experience was also based on the same supply chain logic. It
wasn‘t designed to adapt to a situation where graduates were ‗expected to teach the news industry‘
but designed largely on the basis that students would either perform an existing role or fill the gaps
in another role.
But could that student workforce be used in a way that would better benefit both the student and the
news industry?
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Tackling a specific problem through the research and practical skills that a student develops
in higher education will benefit both the industry and the students (Paul Bradshaw). This helps the
organisation explore possible new streams of revenue or content which could help create new jobs.
It also helps the student develop unique skills that can help them stand apart from others, in
partnership with experienced journalists and publishers who can provide valuable insights too.
According to Wilbur Schramn, professional training is explained with reference to the field
of health and law. Schramm argues that professional journalists are made through education,
experience and social demand. And hence, journalism schools trained future news men / women.
But there is a practical limit with regard to journalism education and society‘s demand, if there
would be an interaction between the two. As Schramm explains, there are three types of education
that are loosely connected in journalism education- vocational, general and professional.
What is Professional Education?
Schramm explains an educational programme that has the following elements makes a
professional education:
1. Subject matter related to profession- Journalism has not yet organized and there is no such large
central body of subject matter. It rests on general education unlike law or medicine.
2. Practice with supervision – Internship or live newsroom experience.
3. Licensing test- This aspect in journalism education has several times been proposed and as often
rejected. The right to license implies also the right to take away a license. The right to withdraw
licenses could lead to control of the press. And the other aspect is, what would they be tested on?
4. Ethical responsibility – A professional education is accountable to the sector and has certain
paradigms 5. Academia and Industry interaction- Journalism schools have developed excellent
working relationships with the press and made strides toward the development of research to in
building knowledge base and also contributing to the industry.
Most journalism students are quite good at technical skills and savvy with web/social media when
they leave their schools. However, irrespective of their grades, journalistic bent of mind is
something that still needs lot of effort; fresh media graduated still need to be spoon fed in the initial
one year and most of them rely on search engines like Google (Faculty Development Programme
2013-15).
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Teaching Resources
A review of the resources available for teaching journalism highlighted three critical areas:
i. A large number of text books used in Indian media institutes by the faculty and students are
mostly written by foreign authors and are on the foreign media scenario. These books have
limited or no relevance to the social, cultural, economic and political realities in India.
ii. Every department/ institute does not have the infrastructure and equipment required to
provide hands on journalism to their students. Also, as digital equipment has a short span of
life and technology changes fast, it is difficult for an educational department to keep up with
this change.
iii. Use of technology and online platforms like YouTube, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook and
Twitter and their role in Journalism today is emphasized. Even journalists of reputed
organization are using mobile phone for capturing event photographs and videos.
There is very less formal interface between the academics and industry in India which is also
one important problem in media education sector. Besides the new trend of media institutes
opening their own teaching institutes has also changed the sector.Media professionals particularly
journalists felt that none of the academic research on journalism is relevant (Faculty Development
Programme 2013-15). Areas where academic research could come in useful according to some
media professionals include competition mapping, content quality and revenue models. However,
as there are professional agencies that are already doing this, industry professionals do not seek or
support academic research.
Quality Standards
There is a serious concern over the fact that in the absence of any common framework of
Journalism and Communication education in India, most media universities and private institutions
devise their own course content. The training and education facilities in journalism are significantly
increasing but there‘s very less work done to strengthen the existing institutes and departments,
among others. Several newspapers and media houses established their own training programs,
mainly for the purposes of recruiting and grooming their own reporters and editors.
Choice Based Credit System
To ensure quality, NKC has called for reform of existing universities to ensure frequent
curricula revisions, introduction of course credit system, enhancing reliance on internal assessment,
encouraging research, and reforming governance of institutions.
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Guru Jambheshwar University of Science & Technology, Hisar also started introducing the Choice
Based Credit System from the academic session 2011-12.The prominent features of the credit based
system are continuous evaluation of a student‘s performance, and flexibility to students to progress
as per one‘s ability or convenience, subject to fulfilling minimum requirement for continuation.
Each academic programme (degree/ diploma) has a certain number of credits. A student‘s
performance is evaluated by the number of credits that he/she has completed satisfactorily.
Every course / paper is coordinated by a member of the teaching staff of the
department/institution offering the course/ paper in a given semester. This faculty member shall be
called the course coordinator. He/ she has the responsibility for conducting the course/ paper,
holding the minor tests and assignments, internal assessment, etc. For any difficulty, the student is
expected to approach the course coordinator for advice and clarification.
The grade awarded to a student in any particular course / paper will be based on
performance of the student in minor tests, attendance and co-curricular activities (assignment, viva-
voce, lab. work, seminar, workshop, presentations, group discussions, quiz and others) and external
major test (end semester examination) conducted at the end of semester. The distribution of the
weightage of marks will be as under:- minor tests 20% or 20 marks, attendance and co-curricular
activities 10% or 10 marks (4 marks for attendance) and major test/ end semester examination- 70%
or 70 marks.
Under the choice based credit system there will be no condition of passing papers for
promotion to higher semester/ year in any academic programme. The candidates will have to
complete the degree within the maximum period allowed under the Ordinance.
Why Choice Based Credit System?
The main reasons for the introduction of CBCS are:
1. To make the curriculum interdisciplinary.
2. Interdisciplinary approach will enable integration of concepts, theories, techniques, and
perspectives from two or more disciplines to advance fundamental understanding or to solve
problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline.
3. Students can learn at their own pace.
4. Students are free to choose electives form a wide range of courses.
5. There is provision to undergo additional courses and acquire more than required number of
credits.
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6. Enhance other skills.


7. Make best use of the available faculty.
8. It is also an initiative to bridge the gap between professional and liberal education.
For a professional course like Mass Communication, the CBCS is greatly helpful. The
course will be designed according to the needs of the students. They will be credited for whatever
they are involved or instructed. They students are given freedom to choose their area of expertise so
that they can give their best and promote their career. In this system the students are given
opportunity to learn beyond their subjects by allowing them to choose different optional papers.
They are given the opportunity to develop certain skills like communication skills, creativity, and
talent and to deal with society. This actually aids to the holistic development of every individual.
Difficulties in Implementing
The choice based credit system sounds very interesting but in certain cases it has certain
difficulties in the implementation process. If a particular institute does not have adequate
infrastructure or faculties, the inter-disciplinary option comes to void as students will be forced to
choose the available options even though they are interested in another.
One of the main problems faced by the faculties is during evaluation process. Sometimes
due to shortage of permanent faculties, the evaluation process is hindered thereby causing delay in
examination results. In some cases, vacancies in the examination section would make it difficult to
conduct exam twice a year.
The provision to reappear in the minor tests will give the students another chance to rectify
their mistakes but the teacher will have to conduct the exam multiple times even for those who
missed the examinations.
In Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, most of the students are from
rural background and they are not familiar with the choice based credit system. Even most of the
teachers are not well aware about the actual system. It really becomes a hindrance in the
implementation. The students do not bother about the value of the credits.
Even though CBSS had been implemented since last few years, there is still the system of
marking instead of grading system. So whether CBSC is implanted or not implanted, the system
remains the same.
Again in the Indian society, there are lots of festivals and holidays besides summer vacations
and winter vacations. In the CBCS, each course follows semester system and the teachers have to
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divide the entire syllabus of the semester into different credits. But because of these holidays and
festivals, the certain credits will be left uncovered which is a big loss to the students, teachers as
well as the entire university. Some lost credits will never be repeated again due to lack of time.
Sometimes, either student or teacher takes leave; in such cases also the credit will be lost.
In a subject like Mass Communication where more practical knowledge is important, if no
proper credit system is followed, it will be a huge loss to the students when they go in the
profession of journalism. A need for proper designing of curriculum suitable to the newly
implemented CBCS is really necessary for the long run. Keeping in view of the differences in the
society, economy of the western countries with that of our country, a proper framing and
modification of curriculum is really necessary.

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Ernst & Young (2011) University Of The Future A Thousand Year Old Industry On The Cusp Of
Profound Change, 2012 Ernst & Young, Australia, Score No. Au00001492

Faculty Development Programme (2013-15) To Support Research And Innovation In Media


Institutions In India And United Kingdom, Cms And Stirling University Project Funded By
Ukieri. 2013-15, Cms Research House New Delhi.

Gray, L. (1991) Marketing Education. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Levin, B. (2002) Conceptualizing Educational Reform. In M. Preedy, R. GlatterAnd C. Wise (Eds)


Strategic Leadership And Educational Improvement (Pp. 3342). London: Paul Chapman.

M. Shuaib Mohamed Haneef, (2012), Media Policy And Law In India, Law & Society Trust, Lst
Review Volume 22 Issue 295 May 2012
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Ouchi, W.G (1980), Markets, Bureaucracies And Clans, Administrative Science Quarterly, 25, 129-
141

Randeep Kaur (2014), Higher Education And Market Forces In India , International Journal Of
Business Management Available At Www.Ijbm.Co.InIssn No.:2349-3402 Vol. 1(2), 2014

Stephen Kline, Kym Stewart And David Murphy (2006), Media Literacy In The Risk Society:
Toward A Risk Reduction Strategy, Canadian Journal Of Education / Revue Canadienne De
L'éducation, Vol. 29, No. 1, The Popular Media, Education, And Resistance/ Les Mass-
MédiaPopulaires, L'éducation Et La Résistance (2006), Pp. 131-153 Published By: Canadian
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Tandon, Ashok, (2009), A Case For Standardization Of Journalism, Media Education In India,
Media Meemansa, October- December 2009, Pp. 63-67

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Scotland.

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England And Scotland, Phd Thesis, University Of Amsterdam

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Wolsters- Noordhoff.

Wilbur Schramm (1947) Education For Journalism: Vocational, General, Or Professional?; Wilbur
L. Schramm; The Journal Of General Education, Vol. 1, No. 2 January 1947, Pp. 90-98,
Penn State University Press

Woods, P. (1994), School Responses To The Quasi- Market. In Halstead, J.M (Ed), Parental Choice
AndEucation, London: Kogan Page. Pp. 124-138

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Between-Education-And-Industry
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Cbs-2011-12-231012.Pdf.

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Case Study Of School Of Journalism And Communication, Nanjing Normal University

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Media, Education and Professionalism: Dissecting the Issues and


Challenges in Media Education
Sanjoy Paul
ETV News (North East India)

Abstract
The media scenario world over has undergone a sea change over recent years and so is
journalism education and training. Gone are those days when journalism teaching was confined to
only imparting skills and crafts in reporting, editing and newspaper production.The changing face
of technology in the unfolding media landscape has altogether stirred a fresh debate on the
relevance of journalism degrees and diplomas in the Indian media perspective. Where universities
and journalism institutes churn out hundreds of journalism students every year, very few manage to
get themselves absorbed in reputed media industry soon after the completion of the course. A
majority of them are left out with no choices but search for a different avocation.
The pertinent question that crops up is what ails journalism education? Where are the
lacunae? Does journalism education lacks professionalism or the curricula lack consistency?
Whether the institutes offering the programme lack proper infrastructure like ill-equipped labs, lack
of relevant learning materials or shortage of competent faculty? There also exists a tremendous
ambiguity on what constitutes a formal degree in journalism- whether it is the ‗pure theoretical
analysis‘ or ‗completely hands-on skills training‘ or ―a mixture of both‖. The ambiguity also exists
on whether journalism educators should be the ‗learned academics‘ or ‗hard-core professionals‘ or
a ‗blend of both‘. The issues are many.
While there is a phenomenal demand of journalists in mass media organisations, there are
very few takers of the batch after batch of students rolling out from the labs of journalism institutes.
The present paper- ―Media, Education and Professionalism- Dissecting the Issues and Challenges
in Media Education‖ shall explore the present status and relevance of journalism education based
on primary and secondary data gathered through interviews and personal observations of
journalists, journalism educators and other related experts.

Key Words: Media, Education, Journalism, Training, Curriculum and Professionalism


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Introduction
The media scenario world over has undergone a sea change over recent years and so is
journalism education and training. Gone are those days when journalism teaching was confined to
only imparting skills and crafts in reporting, editing and newspaper production. The changing
technology in the unfolding mediascape has stirred a fresh debate on the relevance of journalism
degrees and diplomas in the Indian media perspective. Where universities and journalism institutes
churn out hundreds of journalism students every year, very few manage to get themselves absorbed
in reputed media industry soon after the completion of the course. A majority of them are left out
with no choices but search for a different avocation.
The pertinent question that crops up is what ails journalism education? Where are the
lacunae? Does journalism education lack professionalism or the curricula lack consistency?
Whether the institutes offering the programme lack proper infrastructure for example, ill-equipped
labs, lack of relevant learning materials or shortage of competent faculty? There also exists a
tremendous ambiguity on what constitutes a formal degree in journalism- whether it is the ‗pure
theoretical analysis‘ or ‗completely hands-on skills training‘ or ―a mixture of both‖. The ambiguity
also exists on whether journalism educators should be the ‗learned academics‘ or ‗hard-core
professionals‘ or a ‗blend of both‘. The issues are many. Above all, at the heart the fact lies that
each journalism institution has a different set of specific concerns, grievances which often get
blurred in the scheme of things of a select group of policy framers, journalism educators and
government leaders who are supposed to address these issues.
Objective
Media education has now steadily assumed need-oriented, field-based, scientific-tested role
reflecting dynamic modern needs, trends and varied testes of consumer and clients (Dua, 2009).
One important aspect of media courses is that the students undergo rigorous training in the skills
required for the profession. While there is a phenomenal demand of journalists in mass media
organisations, there are very few takers of the batch after batch of students rolling out from the labs
of journalism institutes. The impact of corporatization and new technology has reduced their power
for collective bargaining. Therefore, as required by its objectives, the present paper- ―Media,
Education and Professionalism- Dissecting the Issues and Challenges in Media Education‖ shall
explore the present status and relevance of journalism education based on primary and secondary
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data gathered through systematic analysis of personal observations made by journalists, journalism
educators and other related experts.
Journalism Education: Some Core Issues and Challenges
In an attempt to underline the issues and challenges that stands vital for refining the media
education in India, let us take a closer look on some key parameters. These parameters are primarily
focussed on the much-required expectations of the media industry. Later, the paper would delineate
the role of policy makers.
Ambiguous Degrees and Diplomas:
Journalism education in India is recognised as professional education, usually referred to by different
nomenclatures, namely— journalism, communication, mass communication, advertising, public relations,
and media studies depending on the emphasis on different aspects.Offered at different levels and in over a
few hundred public and private institutions in India, there are different nomenclatures used for the
degrees and a number of terms are used synonymously. While some institutions term the
undergraduate degree as BCJ (Bachelor‘s in Communication and Journalism), some call (BJMC)
Bachelor‘s in Journalism and Mass Communication (BJMC). Similarly in post-graduate
programmes, some institutions offer (MCJ) Master‘s in Communication and Journalism and some
have (MMC) Masters in Mass Communication or MA in Journalism/ Communication. In addition,
there are a number of post-graduate diplomas and certificate courses with myriad nomenclatures.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has constituted a Curriculum Development
Committee in Mass Communication in October, 2000 to recast various mass communication
programmes for Indian universities (UGC, 2001). The committee which came out with its report in
2001 ‗reviewed various existing nomenclatures in different Indian Universities and felt that the
nomenclature of the Master‘s Degree programme should only be M.A. (Mass Communication). The
universities offering Master‘s Course in Mass Communication/ Communication and Journalism or
Journalism and Communication Studies, Communication, Communication Arts, etc., should
endeavour to amend their statutes to bring uniformity in the nomenclature throughout the
country.The degree should,therefore, be called only M.A. (Mass Communication). This will be in
conformity with other university academic disciplines such as history, chemistry, economics,
zoology, etc. The same procedure should be applied for bringing uniformity in the bachelor degree
course also.‘ It all appears that even after the clear directive, inconsistencies still exist in the
nomenclature of various journalism courses offered around the country.
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Inconsistent Course Curricula


Inconsistencies in the course curriculum are yet another major area which requires
immediate attention. Although the UGC Curriculum Development Committee in Mass
Communication has come out with a suggested syllabus for Masters and Bachelors programme in
2001, the same (UGC, 2001) has not been upgraded to meet the changing media scenario.
The UNESCO released a model curriculum in 2007 for journalism (UNESCO, 2007) and
stated that its goal was to focus on journalism and not necessarily on communication. The
curriculum that was recommended for adaptation by institutions gave templates for different levels
of study. Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for example, has decided to incorporate
many of the recommendations in its programmes.
In the absence of any common framework or specific professional body to regulate these
courses, individual universities and institutes decide upon their own and come up with their own
syllabi that best suit their area of interest. A major chunk of them however have not changed their
syllabi for a considerable period. No latest yardstick or guidelines for evaluation of standards
regarding journalism syllabus is available from the UGC. It is therefore of paramount importance
that the UGC come forward and prepare a syllabi common for all university journalism
departments.
The need of the hour is to have more field oriented structure. Unfortunately, journalism
departments cram their syllabi with more of theory and less of practicals. When these students pass
out, they land up at the crossroads as they hardly meet the expectations of their recruiters and shift
to other professions. The private institutions, on the other hand, are better-offand try to make
students industry-ready and technically smart. At least the students are made proficient in handling
a camera, editing a film or knowing the facets of website optimisation. Therefore, there is a strong
need for giving more thrust towards practical training in the curricula, which unfortunately is
missing in most syllabi adopted by the institutes. Development of skills and industry-oriented
syllabi should be given highest priority in the journalism and communication courses. The syllabi
should also provide adequate thrust towards the changing technology in the unfolding media
landscape enabling students to acquaint themselves with the nature of work when they set out in the
professional world.
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Infrastructure and Manpower Deficits


There is no denying to the fact that insufficient infrastructure and shortage of competent
faculty in journalism departments have seriously affected the efficiency and standards of journalism
education. Inadequate infrastructure, ill-equipped labs and lack of relevant learning materials and
resource personnel are a common complain heard from institutes, especially those are public
funded. At the heart, the fact lies that there is an acute dearth of qualified faculty. Most public
funded institutes are mushroomed with academicians who have not been able to update their
professional skills. The quality and competency of these academicians to teach professional courses
are always put to question as they do not have any real world experience. The funniest thing is they
have not worked in any media organisation but they try to impart lessons on report writing, page
layout and design, shooting for television and films and the easiest of all is to take photographs in
automatic mode.
It is therefore important that skilled and professionally experienced professionals should find their
way in India‘s Journalism departments. The university authorities and UGC should extend
necessary infrastructure and equipment support to all the journalism departments where audio-
visual, new media and other technical courses are offered.
The Regulatory Oversight
Practical exposure and training are two critical facilities for the healthy growth of media
education, particularly electronic and new media.But both are equally neglected and nowhere near
the task required to benefit from the growthopportunities in the country. Many university journalism
departments are operating as standalone islands. There are too many ―shops‖ and only a few
professionally devised schools offer causes for the challenges in media (PCI, 2007).
In fact, the balance between theoretical inputs and practical inputs is what many media
institutions are struggling with. A senior editor of a Malayalam daily K.M. Roy (Roy, 1997) argues
that the academy‘s efforts to involve professionals should be followed by the universities. If the
universities do not involve professionals, teaching of journalism theoretically will be similar to
teaching of swimming by postal tuition. The veteran journalist also argues that journalism teachers
should have professional experience and journalism schools should have inputs from professionals.
More importantly, he suggests that the inability of journalism schools to integrate new technology,
which has revolutionized newspaper industry, into its curriculum, is a drawback.
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Shortage of trained faculty has now turned out to be a constraint for the growth of
journalism education in India. A majority of the positions in the level of Associate Professors and
Professors at the public funded institutions are lying vacant for years. In stark contrast, there is
beeline of aspirants for the post of Assistant Professor, majority being fresh pass-outs seeking a
secure employment in the government institutions. With little or no professional experience in the
industry, the fresh entrants somehow toil hard to crack the National Eligibility Test/ Junior Research
Fellowship tests of Mass Communication conducted by the University Grants Commission and land
into teaching avenues. One really can understand the value-addition these new entrants would offer
to journalism education if groomed by professional trainers.
On the other hand, the apex regulatory body UGC has altogether shut the inroad of
professionals into academic sphere. The prescribed qualifications for media faculty have given little
or no weightage to industry background and experience (Sanjay, 2012). The need for industry
experience, as many argued, in fact, had in the past built into the prescribed qualifications for
teachers, particularly at the level of readers/associate professors as one of the eligible requirements.
However, for reasons best known to the UGC committee, in 2009, it formulated certain minimum
guidelines and removed the industry experience to focus more on PhD qualifications. This anomaly
has been noted with concern by many senior faculty members. Many have formally written to the
nodal ministry, the Ministry of Human Resources (MHRD), for incorporating industry experience
as an equally important requirement. However, no changes have been notified or incorporated.
Now, the situation in Mass Communication education is as such that even front- ranking journalists
like Arnab Goswami and Barkha Dutt (although they will never wish to) will not be eligible for
Associate Professor or Professor‘s post unless the Vice Chancellor uses his discretionary power and
accommodates them. Even if senior journalists whopossess PhD qualifications, have to satisfy the
stipulated points as specified in the Academic Performance Indicator (API). Introduced in 2010 by
the UGC, the API points are raised from teaching, administrative, research and publications.
Professional journalists, by dint of their nature of work, seldom qualify in the screening streak. To
top of that the API has now been added with a new rider named as ―API Cap‖ through which only a
select percentage of research and academic contributions are calculated to qualify for direct
recruitments. In fact, there exists no mechanism to calculate the API scores of say Arnab Goswami
or Barkha Dutt on the series of exclusive programmes churned out in the professional career.
Against this backdrop, one really can understand the state of journalism education completely
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devoid of entry of professional journalists. Unlike other professional disciplines like Visual Arts or
Performing Arts where UGC has made special provisions to accommodate experienced
professionals, even for the entry level positions, there is no such move for the discipline of Mass
Communication.
Therefore, the need of the hour is to infuse more professional competencies into the discipline of
Mass Communication. And all this would be possible when academia and industry jointly strive
towards achieving this goal. While there is an urgent need to review the UGCguidelines on
recruitment of teachers in journalism and communication, the entry level positions to the post of
Assistant Professorsshould have a mandatory experience in a media house for a minimum period of
two years.

REFERENCES
Dua, M.R. (2009). Begging for an honorable space. Media Mimasa, Oct-Dec 2009, PP. 57-62.

Muppidi, S.R. (2008). Journalism education in India.Retrieved from


www.caluniv.ac.in/Global%20mdia%20journal/.../article%202.pdf.

PCI. (2007). Retrieved from Press Council of India Website:


http://presscouncil.nic.in/OldWebsite/The%20state%20of%20newspapers%20scene%20200
7%20%20to%20pci.pdf).

Pattnaik, S.N (2002). Sixty Years of Journalism Education—Prospects and problems, Mass Media-
2002, New Delhi : Ministry of I&B

Roy, K. (1997). Journalism and media professionals: Academy-Industry relations. Colombo


Conference on Strengthening Journalism Education. Carbondale: Southern Illinois
University.

Sanjay, B.P. (2012). ―Journalism and Mass Communication Education: An Assessment‖, Asia
Pacific Media Educator, Vol. 22, 1, PP. 115–126, Sage

UGC. (2001). Retrieved from http://www.ugc.ac.in/oldpdf/modelcurriculum/masscomm.pdf

UNESCO. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-


information/resources/publications-and-communication-materials/publications/full-
list/model-curricula-for-journalism-education/
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Promoting Media Literacy for Sustainable Development:


A Study with Special Reference to India

Mahendra Kumar Padhy


Dept. of Mass Communication & Journalism
Babasahen Bhimrao Ambedkar University
Lucknow, India

Abstract
An attempt has been made to identify and delineate the role of media in general and
specific roles of various media channels in meeting the goals of sustainable development in
particular. In case of specificity, the manner in which media plays its role for sustainable
development is discussed in detail. Sustainable development is an integrated and holistic approach
that calls for the participation of individuals, groups, organizations (particularly the NGO‘s),
public and governments at local, regional, national and global levels. The goal of sustainable
development is not confined to one locality or region or nation but embraces the entire globe. It
extends not for a few years, but for the distant future too. Thus spatially or temporally its scope is
very wide. It requires people to think globally and act locally for the development and growth of
rural sectors.
Communication in general and various communication channels in particular have a
potential role to play in moulding such a lifestyle. Poverty eradication, protecting the environment,
reducing the consumption of non-renewable resources and increasing the use of renewable
resources, conservation of biological diversity, land degradation and deforestation, waste
management, using appropriate technologies, land reforms, population control and stabilization,
upholding basic human rights, social welfare and women‘s upliftment, promoting intra-
generational and inter-generational equity, and participation of people from individual, local
levels to global levels, being the various important objectives of sustainable development, different
communication channels have a potential role to play in fulfilling these objectives. Though media
communication alone is not sufficient to meet these objectives, it is a crucial element in
facilitating the fulfillment of these objectives.
Key Words:Sustainable Development, Poverty Alleviation, Environmental Communication,
Biological Diversity,Communication Channel
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Introduction
The concept of sustainable development has occupied a central place in every aspect
of human life today. It is multidimensional and multidisciplinary covering almost all
spheres of human activity. Sustainable development has become the concern of economists,
ecologists, administrators, lawyers, communication exports, environmentalists, human right
activists, feminists, scientists and NGOs. In other words, it has become everybody‘s cup of
tea. Since the present study aims at studying the role of communication in sustainable
development without identifying the various implications of the concept, therefore, an
attempt has been made in this research paper to discuss the various implications of
sustainable development.
The world commission on environment and Development (WCED, 1987) defined
sustainable development as the ‗development that meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.‘
It is observed that sustainable development is a coin which consists of two
obligations on its two sides. One side is the alleviation of poverty and the other, the
protection of environment. Sustainable development is very much linked with the
involvement and active participation of people. It is a holistic concept that can be on the
global, national, local and individual scale. Communication is an intervening variable
without which the materialization of different goals of sustainable development is not
possible. Therefore, communication has the key role in facilitating the participation of
people relating to sustainable development.
Conceptual Framework:
The present study has been taken up with the following theoretical framework.
There are a myriad of theories and models of communication, but there are only a few
theories and models which deal with the questions of development. Therefore it is useful to
discuss the relevant models and theories in the context of the present study which as follows.
Development media theory deals with the task of media in developing countries. It
emphasizes the positive uses of the media in national development and for the autonomy and
society. To a certain extent elements of this theory favour democratic and grassroots
involvement, thus promoting participative communication models (Mcquail,1987). The one
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thing of the media is the acceptance of economic development itself and often the correlated nation
building, as an overriding objective. To this end, certain freedom of the media and of journalists is
subordinated to their responsibility of helping in this purpose. Collective ends rather than
individual freedoms are emphasized. With the failure of the dominant paradigm of development,
and its communication approach in bringing about the expected change, there took place thinking
about the alternative paradigm of development which led to the emergence of the concept of another
development and subsequently a more specific one, sustainable development. With regard to
communication also, a major shift has taken place from top-down authoritative model of
communication to a two way horizontal and participatory model of communication.
Significance of the Study
There have been many studies carried out on development and communication, media and
development, environment and media, environment and communication and communication, rural
development and communication media, traditional folk media and development and participatory
development communication. But, though sustainable development is the latest and present trend of
development, so far, proper attention has not been paid to this area from communication viewpoint.
Therefore, it has been felt worthwhile to study the role of communication for sustainable rural
development.
Objectives of this study
Sustainable development being the latest and the present trend of development, the broad
aim of the study is to analyze the role of communication in sustainable development and to
recommend a suitable communication strategy for sustainable development. Some of the important
objectivesthis study are:
a) Role of communication in the success or failure of poverty alleviation programs.
b) Awareness about environment, family planning and reflection of that awareness in their
lifestyles.
c) Source of information to people and their media habits.
d) Role played by various communication media in relation to combating pollution and in
connection with environmental movements.
e) To recommend a suitable communication strategy for sustainable development.
The variables studied are in terms of:
i. Communication and poverty alleviation programmes.
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ii. The awareness about the scheme.


iii. Sources of information about the schemes.
iv. Sources of motivation to avail the scheme.
v. Improvement in the financial condition after availing the schemes and
vi. Reasons for not availing the schemes in the case of non-beneficiaries and the general
impression of the respondents about the schemes.
Role of Media for Sustainable Development:
Communication through media is a basic instinct of man. It is the fact of life of not
only human beings, but also of animals, birds and other living beings. Communication
maintains and animates life. It is also the expression of social activity and civilization. It
leads people from instincts to inspiration through various processes and systems of enquiry,
command and control.Communication integrates knowledge, organizations and power and
runs a thread linking the earliest memory of man to his noblest aspiration through constant
thriving for a better life. As the world has advanced, the task of communication has become
ever more complex and subtle to liberate mankind from want, oppression and to write it in
community and communion, solidarity and understanding. Mass Communication comprises
the institutions and technology by which specialized groups employ technological devices
(press, radio, films and others.) to disseminate symbolic content to large, heterogeneous and
widely dispersed audiences.
Poverty eradication, protecting the environment, reducing the consumption of non-
renewable resources and increasing the use of renewable resources, conservation of
biological diversity, controlling various types of pollution, land degradation and
deforestation , waste management using appropriate technologies land reforms, population
control and stabilization, upholding basic human rights, social welfare and woman‘s
upliftment, promoting intra-generational and inter-generational equity and participation of
people from individual, local levels to global level, being the various important objectives of
sustainable development, different communication channels have a potential role to play in
fulfilling these objectives. Though communication alone is not sufficient to meet these
objectivesit is a crucial element in facilitating the fulfillment of these objectives.
Media Strategy for Sustainable Development:
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Strategies that include communication for sustainable rural development as a significant


aspect of agricultural and rural development are sorely needed. Efforts in this direction are being
made, but governments have yet to recognize fully the potential of this factor in promoting public
awareness and information on agricultural innovations, as well as on the planning and development
of small business, not to mention employment opportunities and basic news about health, education
and other factors of concern to rural populations, particularly those seeking to improve their
livelihood and thereby enhance the quality of lives. Rural development is often discussed together
with agricultural development and agricultural extension. In fact, "agricultural extension" is often
termed "rural extension" in the literature. In contrast, rural development expands beyond the
confines of agriculture, and furthermore requires and also involves developments other than
agriculture. Accordingly, government should consider the establishment of a communication policy
that while supporting agricultural extension for rural development also assumes the role of a "rural
extension" service aimed as well at diffusing non-agricultural information and advice to people in
rural areas.
A communication policy would aim to systematically promote rural communication
activities, especially interactive radio but also other successful media such as tape recorder and
video instructional programs. Computers and the Internet may not yet be accessible to rural
communities but they serve the communication intermediaries and agricultural extension agents
who provide information to rural populations. Other devices such as cell phones hold considerable
promise for the transfer and exchange of practical information.
For reaching the final agricultural and basic needs information users in rural areas today,
radio is the most powerful and cost-effective medium.
However, other traditional and modern communication methods are equally valuable, depending on
the situation and availability, like face-to-face exchanges (via demonstration and village meetings);
one-way print media (such as, newspapers, newsletters, magazines, journals, posters); one-way
telecommunication media (including non-interactive radio, television, satellite, computer, cassette,
video and loud-speakers mounted on cars); and two-way media: (telephone, including
teleconferencing, and interactive (Internet) computer).
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have proved to be important for
Internet users and for the intermediate users who work with the poor. Pilot experiment show that
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various media are valuable for assisting agricultural producers with information and advice
as to agricultural innovations, market prices, pest infestations and weather alerts.
ICTs also serve non-farming rural people with information and advice regarding
business opportunities relating to food processing, wholesale outlets and other income-
generating opportunities. In the case of non-agricultural rural development interests, a
communication for rural development policy would aim to promote diffusion of information
about non-agricultural micro-enterprise development, small business planning, nutrition,
health and generally serve to provide useful, other than agriculture information.
By their very nature as mass media, communication for rural development can
provide information useful to all segments of rural populations. However, it would serve as
a first effort toward advancement of "rural extension" services and activities aimed at rural
development concerns beyond those of agriculture. Thus, extension and communication
activities would be expected to work in tandem, allied in the common cause of supporting
income-generating activities, both agricultural and non-agricultural.
Biodiversity Conservation
The researcher has selected Koraput district as his case study keeping in mind the
two important aspects of sustainable development. Being a tribal dominated district, Koraput
is facing two fundamental problems such as biodiversity depletion and poverty.
Conservation of biodiversity is an indispensable component of sustainable development.
The human survival and well being depends upon the entire life sustaining system. The
biosphere constitutes a vital life support system for man. Its existence in a healthy and
functional state is essential for the existence of human race. It is the complex collection of
innumerable organisms (including seas, forests and sky birds) and it is the biodiversity
which makes our lives both pleasant and possible. Scientists believe that the total number of
species on earth is between 10 million and 80 million. We have been able to enlist only 1.4
million species so far. Nature has taken more than 600 million years to develop this
exceedingly complex spectrum of life on this planet. The existence of human race depends
on health and wellbeing of other life forms in the biosphere. We are losing these
accumulated heritages of millions of years at a very fast rate. An estimated 7.5 million
hectares of tropical forests are cut down each year in developing countries and this pace is
increasing. Humans are causing the extinction of perhaps one species an hour.
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The erosion of biodiversity has serious repercussions on the health of the eco-systems on
which we all depend, causing wide spread impoverishment , as rural populations lose their sources
of livelihood, food, and medicines as three fourths of the world‘s population still uses plants and
animals for medicinal purposes and eroding the genetic base of agriculture. Preservation of
biodiversity is essential for a successful food security and breeding porgramme. If we ignore plant
genetic erosion, it may lead to losing sources of resistance to pests, diseases and climatic stress,
leading eventually to crop failure and famine. In fact, human survival itself is imperiled due to
biodiversity loss. Recognizing the need of conserving biodiversity, the Convention of Biological
Diversity was signed at the Earth Summit in June 1992. BY now, the CBD has been ratified by over
160 countries. The Biological Diversity Convention is fundamentally based on promoting the
sustainable use of the components of biological diversity in a manner at a rate that does not lead to
the long term decline of biological diversity, thereby meeting its potential to meet the needs of
present and future generations. Thus, the conservation of biological diversity is an important
implication of sustainable development for communication. Various media of communications
have a potential role to play in conserving biological diversity. The conservation of biological
diversity is not possible unless the people are aware of the importance of conserving biological
diversity. Therefore, in creating awareness and in conscientizing people about the sustainable
development, various channels of communication are of crucial importance.
Social Sustainable Development: Need for an Equilibrium Lifestyle
The environmental movements emerged as one of the most important social movements of
the twenty-first century. Such movements are not only confined to the rich western nations but have
also engulfed the entire developing and underdeveloped nations. Individual and family lifestyles
have changed including behaviors such as recycling aluminum cans, increasing visits to national
parks and purchasing environmental friendly products. Producers of different brand products have
responded positively featuring green slogans in their advertising campaigns. More bio-degradable,
compostable and recyclable materials are incorporated in packaging to meet consumer demand.
Every individual influence and is being influenced by the environment. An individual can
contribute for the degradation or up-degradation of environment depending upon how one moulds
one‘s own lifestyle. For instance, by throwing the garbage in streets, cutting trees, by over
consuming or wasting water, power fuel one can contribute for the environmental degradation. On
the other hand, by keeping surroundings neat and clean by planting trees and by consciously using
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and minimizing the use of water, power and fuel, one can contribute to the upgradation of
environment. Thus, individuals and their lifestyles have a responsible role to play in making
sustainable development a reality.

Effective Strategy for Sustainable Development:


a.Awareness campaign
Awareness among the people of Koraput in particular and Odisha in general is one of the primary
requirements for the success of any programme relating to sustainable development whether it is a
poverty alleviation program or family planning program or a forestation programme. People should
be aware of it, its importance and it s utility. Communication has a great role in creating awareness
pertaining to various aspects of sustainable development.
a. Environmental training and education
For an effective penetration, the environmental education has to be essentially location specific.
At the first level, special attention should be paid to school children and women. Formal and non-
formal educational institutions, mass media, governmental and non-governmental organizations
have a significant role as channels of communication in educating people about the dreadful
consequences of environmental depletions.
b. Disseminating technical knowledge into local languages
For creating awareness among people and for their effective participation in various programmes
aiming at sustainable development, technical knowledge and different aspects of international
conventions have to be translated into people‘s languages.
c. Conscientization
For attaining the objectives of sustainable development, active involvement and commitment of
every individual in relation to their decisions and acts is inevitable. To achieve this, people have to
be actively conscious. Conscientizing people about their problems and also about environmental
problems at national and global levels, their involvement and responsibilities have crucial role for
sustainable development.

d. Striving attention of national government


Communication media, especially mass media have a constructive role to play by focusing
attention of the government on various problems by offering constructive suggestions and by
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criticizing the government whenever it seeks to push through unproductive decisions and harmful
environmental projects.
e. Development support systems
Govt. has been initiating various programmes and projects aiming at poverty alleviation,
employment generation, conserving and protecting environment. For the effective implementation
and good results of such programmes, target groups and beneficiaries hav e to be well informed and
thorough awareness has to be created about the programmes meant for them. Communication has a
gap reducing role between benefit agents and beneficiaries.
Table No.1: Media habits(Newspaper reading habits among the respondents)
Nature of Men Women Total
Population
Rural 46(150) 24(100) 70
Urban 228(150) 96(100) 324

Table No. 2: Radio Listening Habits


Nature of Rural Urban Total
Population
Men 150(150) 97(150) 247(300)
Women 38(100) 59(100) 97 (200)

Table No.3: Film Viewing Habits


Nature of Population Urban Rural Total
Men 150(150) 79(150) 229(300)
Women 100(100) 45(100) 145(200)

Table No.4: Awareness about Environmental Issues


Issues Urban Rural Total
Male(150) Female(100) Male(150) Female(100) 500
Deforestation 143 97 80 35 355
Soil degradation 138 89 56 21 304
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Air pollution 148 95 78 34 355


Water pollution 149 98 98 45 390
Renewable Energy 121 79 28 11 239
Biodiversity depletion 136 87 26 9 258
Vulnerable species 98 84 23 9 214

Table No.5: Participation of people in clean and green environmental programs


Age Urban Rural Total
Male(150) Female(100) Male(150) Female(100) 500
Below 20 60 45 69 39 213
20-40 years 57 30 40 34 161
40-60 21 15 22 9 67
Above 60 years 8 2 6 4 20

Discussion
The discussion mentioned above shows that though there are many definitions and
multiple dimensions to sustainable development, these definitions and dimensions are not
contradictory to each other but they corroborate each other. Broadly, sustainable
development can be described as the poverty alleviation i.e. to enable the present
generations to meet their needs and environmental protection to enable the future
generations to meet their needs. In relation to communication, it implies that
communication in general and various communication channels in particular have a vital
role to play in creating awareness about the various poverty alleviation programs
initiated by the government; in the problem articulated by poor, and thus, in bridging the gap
between the planner and the beneficiary. Environmental protection and promotion and
population control being the other broad dimensions of sustainable development, various
communication channels have a responsible role to play in informing, educating and
conscientizing the people about various environmental issues and promotional program and
sustainable use of natural resources, using renewable sources of energy, conservation of
biological diversity, waste management, prevention and control of pollution, family
planning, and others. Communication in general and various media of communication in
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particular have a responsible role to play in eradicating poverty. Sustainable development calls for a
change in the quality of growth. Environmental protection is another important area where
communication has pivotal role to play. Population control and stabilization is yet another important
concern of sustainable development. While planning for communication strategy for social
sustainable development, we need to take into consideration the aspects of diversity. Multimedia
approach to communication is the suitable answer. Different forms of media such as traditional
media, internet, group communication channels and educational institutions literature have to be
used systematically to disseminate information and to conscientize the people on specific aspects of
sustainable development.
Suggestions
i. Environmental education should be an integral part of our national education system.
ii. Film being an important and influential medium, it should be used effectively to disseminate
educational information among the people.
iii. Social advertisements containing literature related to environment and other developmental
issues be given priority.

REFERENCES
Chapman, Graham and Kumar, Keval, J. (1997), Environmentalism and the Mass media: The
North-South Divide, Routledge, London, pp.24.

DahlanAlwi,M.(1989),‖The nvironmental Approach to Mass Media Coverage‖, Media


Asia,Vol.16, No.4,pp.219-222.

Desai,Vasant, Rural development, Vol.1. Himalaya Publishing House, 1988.

Kumar,Keval J., Mass Communication in India, Bombay : Jaico Publishing House, 1987.

Kuppuswamy, B., Communication and Social Development in India, Bombay: Media


Promoters and Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2000.

Mc Bride Sean., UNESCO International Commission for the study of Communication


Problems, Many Voices One World, UNESCO, 1980.

Mac Neil, J.(1989),‖ Strategies for Sustainable Economic Development‖ Scientific


American,pp.105-113.
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Maheswari Henry et al(2005); Learning from the Rural Poor: Indian Social Institute, New
Delhi

Wang Georgette and Wimal Dissanayake(1982), ― The Study of Indigenous Communication


Systems on Development: Phased out or Phjasing in Media Asia. Vol 9, pp.3.
A Socio-Cultural Reflection on the Use of Digital Banner
in Madurai District

M.Suresh
PhD Researcher
Dept.of Mass Communication
Mizoram University

Introduction
The digital banner is most important on all occasions in Madurai. Banners are made in three
different qualities namely, Star, 2-pass and 3-pass. The star quality is used for the shops.2-Pass is
used for weddings and the other for good and bad happenings.30-50 banners are being made
monthly (Rs.8 is charged per s.q). On special occasions (Muhurtham days), 50-100 banners are
made each day. 10*6, 15*10 and 8*6 banners are mostly preferred by the people. The slogans used
in the banners are usually film dialogues or slightly changed dialogues. In some banners, the people
who conduct the function write slogans and sometimes the banner makers themselves write slogans.
There also occasions where there are lots of spelling errors in the banner.
The objectives of the study are:
1) To study various elements and hidden meanings of text, images, symbols, flags, photos,
background images and slogan that used in flex banners in the study area.
2) To examine and decode the caste identity being encoded (either openly or hidden) in the flex
banner.
Qualitative research method isused in this study. The study is descriptive in nature that deals with
the various levels of super structural elements of the society.

Area of the study:Areas between KalavasaltoUsilampatti in Madurai district are chosen for the
study. The people prefer exclusive banners to show off their caste identities. The people of Vellalar,
Thevar and Parayarcastes live in these areasHere the researcher has used personal observation and
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interviews in the field. The photographs of the digital banners were documented and used for
content analysis.
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1. Occasions to display the digital banners

Picture 1.1

The banners are mostly used for family functions. Particularly these are used during
marriages. The reason is because there are two families involved in the wedding and both the
families keep separate banners on their behalf. Besides, their friends exhibit banners form their side
too. Similarly there are functions like ear boring ceremony, illavizha, vasanthavizha, moivizha,
house warming ceremony, puberty ceremony, temple fair and many more which involve the
practiceof keeping banners. The banners are used depending on the importance of the function.
Blown up images of the bride and the bride groom and the photos of the family members are printed
in the banners. The photographs of friends are also printed. In all these banners, they include their
family pictures, religious and caste identities through symbolic representation. They also include the
identity of political party to which they belong. In some banners, we can notice that two caste
identities are displayed by their (both theirs) friends. The youngsters keep many numbers of banners
for m oivizha. The maximum size of the banner is10*20 and minimum size is 10*8 few people use
30*100 also in this area.
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2. Caste identity through digital banners


Today the banners have become the board to announce the caste identity. In Tamil Nadu,
there are separate political leaders for each caste. Muthuramalinga Thevar, the leader of All India
Forward Block in Tamil Nadu, was born in Pasumpon on October 30, 1908.

Picture 1.2

He is considered as the leader of Mukkulathor. This includes the three sub castes Kallar 1 ,
Maravar2 and PiramalaiKallar3. They use his photographs in the banner to specify that they belong
to this caste. B.R.Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891 in Madhya Pradesh. He fought against
untouchability. The people of scheduled caste in southern districts use his photo in their banners to
specify that they belong to that caste. V.O.Chidambram (KappalottiyaThamizhan) was born in
Tuticorin and he was a freedom fighter. The man who rode the ship for independence is now seen in
the banners specifying the vellalar caste. They also use the photos of his sons which make the caste
very clear. Kamarajar4 was the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and was born in Virudhunagar.
Today he has become the iconic identification of Nadar caste people. They use his photo for all
their functions.

1
One of the backward castes in Tamilnadu which comes under the main category of mukkulathor
2
Same as kallar, a sub division in mukkulathor.
3
They are also a sub division of mukkulathor
4
A renouned congress leader
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Picture 1.3

The above banner is for a puppunithaneraattuvizha5 (puberty ceremony) for women in but the
banner did not put her photo the person only put his photo and then put the God of Lord Krishna. It
is also symbolic representation of caste of Yadavar6(Konnar). The Yadavar/Konaar caste people use
the photo of Lord Krishna in their banners. They celebrate the Krishna Jayanthi festival (Birthday of
Lord Krishna) in a grand manner.

3. Film Stars and Castesim


Today, most of the Tamil films come out based on caste. So people celebrate the
character that reflects a particular community of the film as caste identify. We can see those
characters printed on banners. Kamal Haasan (born on November 7, 1954) is a south Indian film
actor, screenwriter, director, and lyricist who works primarily in the Tamil film industry. He has
acted in the movie ―ThevarMagan‖ in 1992.

5
Puberty ceremoy is celebrated with equal measure of a wedding function, when a girl attains puberty, in this part of
Tamilnadu
6
Yadavar belong to Vishnu kotra. They were shepherd community people (aayar).They worship lord Krishna.
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Picture 1.4

The song ―Potripaadadiponne‖ in that movie is played in the function of Thevar caste people alone.
Even today they usethe photo of Kamal Hassan‘s character in Thevar Magan style in their banners.
One can also see the reference to another popular Tamil actor Ajith Kumar,7 who got Best Actor
Awards all for films which showcased him in multiple roles. He has college going youths as his
fans, who imitate him. In South Tamil Nadu, particularly in the field of study, Thevar caste people
often use Ajith Kumar‘s photo with their banners. Similarly, Madhayaanaikootam 8 is the recent
Tamil movie which came with caste identity. The song ―Idhuengaveetukalayanam, idhuthevar
veetukalyaanam‖ is also played in functions of Thevar caste people. Apart from songs, characters,
location, body language, and appearance caste related matters used in the films, is becoming the
caste identity for the people. Every caste in Tamil Nadu has one film star as their identity. Nadar
caste people use actor Sarathkumar‘s9 photo in their banners and wall posters. Pallar10 caste people
of Scheduled Caste use Cheeyan Vikram‘s11 photo to show their identity. Konaar caste people use

7
He worked in an export company and ventured into the tamil cinema without any filmy background.
8
The movie directed by Vikram Sugumaran.
9
Sharathkumar is a tamil movie actor and the leader of the party Samathuva makkal katchi (MLA)
10
They are one the castewho come under scheduled caste
11
Cheeyanvikram is one of the leading actors in Tamil cinema. People consider him as the representative of their caste
and celebrate him.
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Sasi Kumar‘s12 photo, and Pillaimar people use Adarva‘s13 photo.They also use the name of their
affiliated caste organizations like Thevar Auto Sangam in the banners and wall posters.

Picture 1.5

The banner designers design the banners with caste representations. Thevar community people have
the image of lion in their banners and Dalit people use the image of cheetah in their banners. Now
Usilampatti is under 144 and has restrictions to use the caste symbols in the banners. Ones who
consider their caste as pride and design banners that hurt the feeling of other people of the caste are
frequently warned by the police and because these communal clashes are to be kept under control.

4. The banner‟s role in politics


There are many caste based political parties in Tamil Nadu. But the big parties recognized by the
election commission do not use caste identities much. We could hardly see caste identities in DMK,
AIDMK and MDMK banners kept in these areas. We can see only the photos of the party‘s
important members and their designations in these banners. According to the Stalin Rajagam
(writer), when the party was launched, VidutahlaiChirutahigal party‘s leader Thol.Thirumavalavan
had no practice of twirling his moustache.

12
Sasikumar is one of the popular director and producer. He has directed “Subramaniapuram”. Konaar caste people use
him as their identity
13
Adarva is the son of veteran actor Murali. He is now used as the identity of pillaimaar caste people.
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Picture 1.6

But once the party‘s poster was drawn with his moustache twirled, from there on, he started twirling
moustache and every other poster was drawn in the same way. Nowadays Dalit people design
banners with his photo, the party‘s flag and the Cheetah to specify their identity.
5. Cinema effect on banner culture
Tamil cinema has influenced the banner culture for the past one decade. The recent Siva
Karthikeyan14 starrer ―Varuthapadathavalibarsangam‖ was a huge hit in Tamil Nadu. This film has
exactly portrayed the banner culture of Tamil Nadu. An organization with two members will keep
banner for each function in that village. While the police try to remove the banner, they will file a
case in the court. The youth in this area take photos in different poses and use them in the
banners.They feel themselves like film stars by doing this. They project the bride and the
bridegroom as the hero and heroine with romantic lines from popular Tamil films. They also use
cinema dialogues in these banners and keep them at the important junction of the village.Similarly,
the film ―Nadodikal‖ in which Sasi Kumar acted in 2010, there was a repeated scene where a
banner is made ready in five minutes with casual photographs.

14
He is the recent commercial actor and has acted as a unemployed youth in the movie
“varuthapadathavaalibarsangam”
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Picture 1.7

This scene was a huge hit and people started liking the realistic and casual poses in the banner to
attract others attention. The above shown banner was designed for a wedding. There are also lyrics
of a movie song ―Eppadimansukkulvandhaai‖ in this banner. People and cinema get inspired by
both.

6. Family values

Picture 1.8

This banner is kept for ―illavizha‖. The photograph of all family members is shown in this
banner. We can also see to which caste he belongs. We can also study their economic level through
the number gold chains worn by their children. Similarly we could see the children in ear boring
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ceremony banners and also we could identify the caste to which they belong. We could understand
that one of their family members is a driver. Many of such banners help as to understand the
economic level and living style of the people.The people who use banners are economically very
poor. Particularly they are daily wage workers and people with high income do not prefer banners
much.

7.Women‟s role

Picture 1.9

The role of women is very important with regard to banners. Women look more traditional
than men by wearing sarees and jewels. But we can see women only in very few banners,
particularly in the banners kept for wedding and ear boring ceremony. In Tamil Nadu, there are lots
of rituals involving women. Puberty ceremony is a grand ritual in the area of study. In the banners
kept for this ceremony, the photos of all the family members except the girl are printed. We can see
that girls are dominated by men in this kind of ceremonies. We can also see only the married
women in posters, that too only with their husbands. Women too love this banner culture very
much. They take this as a chance to show off their jewelry. It is indeed the success of modern
women because the banners along with their photographs are kept in a public place, which was not
possible before a decade.
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Findings
People in this area do not follow the rules for displaying banners. They also do not
know that permission should be obtained for keeping banners. These people should be made
aware of obtaining permission to exhibit banners.As banners have become common practice
even in villages, there are lots of chances for road accidents. The area of our study is Theni
main road, which is prone to frequent accidents due to speeding buses and trucks. The
banners are kept for many days even after the function is over. This may be responsible for
road accidents.Banners are used for revealing their caste identity, economic status and to
promote the caste organization they belong to. They use texts expressing the pride of
theirand use big photos and photos of animals to publicize themselves and create fear among
the minds of other caste people. After the function gets over, people use the banner as
mattress, screen and roof. People spend huge amount of money on banners to publicize
themselves. There are lots of spelling mistakes and factual errors in the banners. There are
also instances where there is no coherence in the texts used in the banners. Some banners do
not use Tamil words at all. They use English words, poems as a welcome note in the banner.
For example, for wedding banners, the phrase, ―Happy married life‖ is often used. They also
use bilingual words in banners.In these areas, the banners are used for collecting more
money as gifts in the functions. Especially, the ear boring ceremony and moivizha are used
for this purpose. These banners also directly prompt communal and political clashes (i.e. if
the banner falls down or gets torn, it becomes the reason for clash between two castes). The
youngsters spend more time and money for designing the banners. They split themselves as
several teams to write slogans for the banners, to design the banners and to decide where
these be displayed.
Conclusion
People use banners to silently warn the other caste people. Particular caste people use the
images of weapons like knife and rude lion to frighten the other caste people. In retaliation, other
people also display a banner to silently record their protest. The symbols of weapon, caste leader‘s
photo and lion metaphorically represent that the particular caste is dominant. Similarly, they write
slogans like ―Polladhavan boys‖ and ―Agaraathi group‖ to compete with other banners. The middle
class people portray themselves as rich, high in status and faithful to god through these banners.
Women, who were not able to come out of their houses earlier, can,now, present themselves with
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jewels in the photographs. This was not possible in the past in a male chauvinist society. This is
possible only through the banner culture. Earlier, the volunteers of a political party would keep
banners for their party leaders. But nowadays they present themselves in the photograph which is
more or less equal to the photograph of the party leader. This is also possible only through banners.
Banners have become important right from birth till death. How much ever the world becomes
technological and modern, we are still not able to erase the caste shades. Same is the case with
banners too. Even literate people talk about their caste and fight over it in the Facebook.

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The Need for Environmental Communication in Contemporary Media


Education: A Study in the Indian Context

Archan Mitra
Centre for Journalism and Mass Communication,
Visva-Bharati, India

Abstract
The relationship between man and nature has changed a lot over the past few decades. The
social well-being of human beings is being compromised greatly due to the effects of environmental
degradation resulting from over-exploitation of natural resources. We know that the media can be
used as an effective tool for moulding desirable public opinion among the masses. This holds true
for environmental awareness as well. However, unless media professionals themselves are sensitive
to environmental issues or familiar with the basics of environmental communication, the media
cannot be used to sensitize the people. In this regard, media education has an important role to
play. Unfortunately, environmental communication has generally been a neglected area in the
course curriculum and syllabi of most media/ communication courses. But there is a need to shift
from the existing scenario staying in sync with the need of the hour. The present paper shall seek to
present an analytical study on the status of environmental communication in the contemporary
media education system of India and the possible framework of an environment-inclusive media
education system in the near future.

KeyWords:Environment Communication, SWOT Analysis, Macro Level Problem, Micro Level


Problem, Environmental Communication Inclusive Media Education.
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The relationship between man and nature has changed a lot over the past few decades. The
social well-being of human beings is being compromised greatly due to the effects of environmental
degradation resulting from over-exploitation of natural resources. Over time and circumstances
understanding environment issues has become more important. Man lives in nature and uses the
natural resources for their sustenance and development. While some progress towards sustainable
development has been made in the recent times through desired policies and changes in governance
approaches, much remains to be done. India, an emerging super-power, is no exception to the same.
We know that the media can be used as an effective tool for moulding desirable public opinion
among the masses. Unfortunately, environmental communication has generally been a neglected
area in the course curriculum and syllabi of most media/ communication courses. But there is a need
to shift from the existing scenario staying in sync with the need of the hour. The present paper shall
seek to present an analytical study on the status of environmental communication in the
contemporary media education system of India and the possible framework of an environment-
inclusive media education system in the near future.
Objectives
The primary objective of the paper is to evaluate the need for inclusion of environmental
communication in the mainstream media education curriculum in India. The paper shall seek to
emphasize the need for constructive environmental communication in the Indian context and,
thereby, seek to argue in favour of including environmental communication as a subject paper in
communication study centers across India. The secondary objective includes giving a clear picture
of the condition of environment in India to support the primary objective and finally to give a future
perspective of what can be achieved through such a change.
Methodology
The study was initiated on the assumption that media education in India needs to focus on an
environmental communication inclusive paradigm, as mass environmental consciousness is the
pressing need of the hour. The research has been done in three phases
Phase I
The researcher has evaluated the Indian environmental scenario with empirical evidence
from primary sources and secondary sources. This was done on the basis of content analysis of
these sources.
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Phase II
This phase of the research the researcher has given the idea of environmental
communication and why we need environmental communication to fight the environmental
situation that has been mentioned in the first phase.
Phase III
This phase deals with media education and why we need media education be incoporated
with the studies of environmental communication, which is the objective of this research.

Phase I
Indian environmental scenario-„why we need environmental communication‟
The concept of environment stems from the French word ‗viron‘, meaning a circle, a round,
or the country around (Patridge, 1966). The environment thus refers to ―external conditions and
influences affecting the life of an organism‖ (Bates, 1968) or entire societies, or, ―the physical and
biotic infrastructure‖ supporting population of all kinds (Schnaiberg, 1972). The environment is the
physical and material basis of all life, including land, water, and other vital material resources and
energy in which societies are embedded. Ernest Haeckel, A German Botanist, first used the term
ecology in the History of Creation, Published in 1868. He derived the concept of ecology from the
Greek work oikos- a house or one‘s surroundings. The action of producing and consuming biomass
does not occur in the biosphere per se; the action occurs in the vast diversity of interconnected
ecosystem that forms the biospheres building blocks. Each ecosystem has a dynamic structure
formed by the diversity of the resident population genetically capable of surviving in the unique
climate, seismic, and botanical conditions present at any given biospheric location. Ecosystem
growth theoretically changes from a rapid early growth rate to a stable state. But now ecologists
doubt the steadiness and termed it as turbulent, as there will be rise and fall of population within
that steady state (Craig & Humphrey, 2001).
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Figure 1: Environmental Performance Index (India)


The above data shows that the Indian environment is facing a grim scenario. At present the
Indian environment faces a great and grave challenge from El Nino. An El Nino event active since
March 2015 will almost certainly last through 2015 and is likely to extend into early 2016. The
intensity of this event is increasing with a peak expected in the last quarter of 2015 and there is a
significant chance that it may become one of the strongest events of the past 30 years. Along with
the situation at hand there are other things that have to be dealt with.

Figure 2: Indicators of Environmental Performance Index (Calculating in India)


Atmospheric pollution is a major problem facing all nations. Air pollution affects human
health, vegetation and various elements. Air pollution is not only restricted to the outdoor
environment. Indoor air pollution has been known since prehistoric times. Pollutants emitted into
the atmosphere do not necessarily remain confined in the area near the source of emission or the
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local environment. They can be transported over long distances, cross frontiers, and create regional
and global environmental problems. Considerable evidence has accumulated over the past two
decades to show that acidic deposition poses a threat to various resources: lakes and their aquatic
life, forestry, agriculture and wildlife (Tolba, 1992).
Indian monsoon rainfall is projected to increase and there is medium confidence in that the
Indian summer monsoon circulation weakens, but this is compensated by increased atmospheric
moisture content, leading to more rainfall. The aerosol effects on the Indian monsoon are similarly
complex, and have been the subject of numerous studies. Attribution of changes in monsoon to
human influence generally has low confidence. Due to Indian Ocean warming, there will be
increased rainfall extremes of landfall cyclones on the coasts of the South China Sea, Gulf of
Thailand and Andaman Sea, which are to affect the climate of the Indian subcontinent as moisture
will be drawn away from such areas reducing opportunity of rainfall leading to irregular heavy
torrents of rainfall and stormy conditions with increased lightning in the next few years is apparent.
There are an extended monsoon intervals failures and dry spells in India over the past years and
which is in high confidence is going to increase (IPCC, 2013).

Figure 3: Water Quality (BOD) Trend of River Ganga at Haridwar D/Si


The conservation of the biological diversity of living resources of the costal and marine
ecosystem requires integrated approach in a global level. This is even more complex along the
coastal zone than in the management of marine living resources, for the reason that coastal zone is
likely to include the interests of rural-urban development, forestry, wildlife, land based tourism and
industrial development. As an example in south Asian sea regions, all turtles are theoretically
protected in Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. However, law enforcement is difficult and in both India
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and Pakistan as there is continued consumption, while in Sri Lanka laws regarding turtle capture
were actually suspended. It has been realized that the turtle species are endangered and are
vulnerable during their annual migration during which time they migrate long distance for breeding
in the coastal regions. Therefore, it is essential that environment managers and decision-makers
primarily should have the information on the extent and status of these habitats within their
region/nation. Such information can assist in drawing up plans and programmes to protect these
potential habitats by guiding residential and industrial developments as these are the two key factors
that crush those habitats (Yogamoorthi, 1999). Tourism makes a tremendous contribution to the
improvement of socio-political environment and cultural exchange but Tourism has damaged the
ecosystem of the areas. It produces environmental pollution and damages natural beauty and
scenery. The deforestation also occurs due to tourism (Yadav, 1999).

Figure 4: Status of location surveyed for bio-monitoring on river Gangaii


The human environment is becoming more and more hazardous. Natural disasters are
becoming more and more frequent and catastrophic industrial accidents are on the rise. It is now
being recognized that human activities also enhance the occurrence and impact of geophysical
hazards. People can make flood-prone zones by removing trees and other vegetation which
normally absorb excess water (Tolba, 1992). It is likely that floods larger than the ones recorded till
the twentieth century in India and other parts of the world will occur in the next few years
surpassing the ones of the past in magnitude and frequency (IPCC, 2013).
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Figure 5: Environmental Projects Undertakeniii

Figure 6: Regional office wise physical targets and achievements for monitoring of approved project
under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 during the year iv

From the above consensus we can analyze that India is towards a decline in environmental
standards. If it s given to continue then catastrophe can befall the people of the next generation and
the trans-generational progress of humans shall come to a standstill and we might go back to the
tool age. Some scientists believe that earth shall go into the next ice age and human begins shall be
forced back in time. So the need of the hour is taking the right decision to impart as much
knowledge as possible to the humans about the environment.

Phase II
Environment Communication
Environmental communication is a field in the preview of the field of communication and
intercepts other fields. Environmental communication studies include broad areas of environmental
communication theories. Environmental communication is thought to have emerged as a distinct
field in the United States in the early 1980s from the tradition of rhetorical theory (Stephen &
Littlejohn, 2009).
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Environment communication has been defined as planned and strategic use of


communication processes to support effective policy-making and project implementation geared
towards environmental sustainability (OECD, 1999). In a more contemporary definition published
by (Cox, 2010), environmental communication is "the pragmatic and constitutive vehicle for our
understanding of the environment as well as our relationships to the natural world; it is the symbolic
medium that we use in constructing environmental problems and negotiating society's different
responses to them." By pragmatic, Cox means the instrumental function of educating, alerting,
persuading, mobilizing, solving and others. By constitutive he means the creative function of
helping to shape our perceptions of nature, environmental issues and ourselves. The need for the
functions to develop we require an environmental-inclusive exercise in contemporary media
education scenario not an exclusive one.

Figure 7: Environmental Communication Action Planv


The above diagram is a model of an environmental action tree where environment in
correlation with that of formal and informal education (vocational training) creates action on nature
for its protection, inside the periphery of communication. It is based on the linear model of
environment communication devised by the western thought of rhetorical environment
communication theories.
The definition of environmental communication is linear as it is previewed as a strategy or a
medium to develop a link between the human and nature to develop strength in the human nature
relationship. But in Indian philosophy nature is a part of human life and it is considered a living
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entity as human beings are. So communication perspective in regard to environmental


communication in India is not a strategy or a linear process but basic necessity of life.
The Need for Environmental Communication-„Indian Environmental Scenario‟
An important function of communication is promoting integration among the citizens.
Media professionals ought to work towards building a consensus among the masses. Once
consensus is achieved, it will be easier for them to embrace newer ideas and that too, probably, in a
more effective manner. The media can play a vital role in creating public opinion by analyzing and
discussing the contemporary scenario on issues of environmental interest to the people. While
proper analysis of environmental concerns must be done,media professionals ought to stop short of
imposing their interpretations upon people. As Carl Magee said, ―Give light and the people will find their
own way.‖ The media ought to keepan eye on the functioning of the three estates of a state and ask
necessary questions but it ought not to hold any estate to ransom by merely playing the blame game.
The media has both the right and the duty to protest. However, it must concentrate more on facts
than faults for fact-finding and fault-finding are two contrary approaches altogether. While fact-
finding seeks a positive change, fault-finding only breeds an air of mistrust and
hostility(Bhattacharyya, 2013).
As it is evident from the discussion earlier, environment degradation is likely to have far
reaching consequences on the human civilization. Thus environmental consciousness is the pressing
need of the hour. This in turn calls for serious consideration towards inclusion of environmental
communication in mainstream media education. Including environmental communication in media
studies is also likely to improve the human-nature relationship.
The feasible way of doing so is by using the media‘s power of mass mobilization. So the
need for incorporating environment communication as a subject in media/ communication studies
has become that much important. The three major needs for environmental communication in India
can be classified accordingly:
 To solvecomplex environmental issues: The issue of environment is no doubt complex
because to develop without harming the environment is a challenge for all. It can be possible if we
try to understand how the environment works and what it needs to stay stable. If we can decode it
and alleviate the problem we can come to an understanding to develop an everlasting relationship
with the environment (human -nature relationship). Information is required to alleviate the
uncertainty and information transmission leads to communication. In this respect we can say that
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communicating the information that scientists and researchers have on environment to media
practitioners and media students shall engage in simplification of the message (information) that
shall lead to a simplified understanding for the mass. Thus the need for environmental
communication inclusive media education system is sought.
 To protect personal health and security: Environment has a great effect on the people that
are involved in the activities related to that specific environment. During the harvest season in the
state of Assam, elephants enter the agricultural field and eat away a percentage of the crops. It is a
clear example of how humans are degrading the environment and cutting down or commercializing
the forest products. The forest animals have to rely on violating the human space for their
sustenance. Due to degrading environmental standards and pollution, humans are increasingly
facing lot of health related problems. Communication in this respect is vital for the people as
human-animal conflict is a part of human‘s relationship with that of nature and how to cope up with
the health issues.
To vitalize the food source: An agricultural country like India depends on food for their vast
population. So any soil pollutant if harms the basis of agriculture in India can create a catastrophe,
Water is life; we have seen that the quality of water is degrading at an alarming rate, fresh water
rivers, lakes and ponds are being contaminated. Fish being another primary source of food is also
following the same path. Major need for communication is required between the environmental
scientists and the people who are in the profession of agriculture to alleviate such a problem.
To fulfill the above said needs, the serious challenge that lies in front of us is the fact to
proceed together with that of emergence of conservation of environment and deliverance of
development activities. We have come to know that knowledge is the way in which we can achieve
such a feat of both. Making people aware of the facts of environment and increasing their level of
knowledge to make the Indian government policies effective like the west. Education and
communication is the key to development of the knowledge one need to have to protect their
environment at all levels. It is true from the fact that India is a country with rich heritage in ancient
knowledge of environmental protection. But the knowledge is being wasted as it is not being
communicated to the public as a whole. Communication of the facts for awareness is very much
important in this regard.
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SWOT Analysis of Environmental Communication in the Indian Scenario


Only awareness is not enough to bring us to the state of sustenance, we must calculate the
strengths and weakness of environmental communication as a subject, if we want to succeed in
promoting environmental action among the citizens of our country. As Narendra Modi (Swachha
Bharat Mission in India) said ―Mahatma Gandhi did not go to every locality to clean up but his
commitment created awareness towards cleanliness in entire India. We also have to do it together,
wherever we are, we should do it. I believe that we will be able to clean our mother India. If once
we 125 crore Indians decide that we will not spill filth, no power in this world can make India
dirty‖
SWOT Analysis
Strength
The Constitution and the Government's commitment to the environment along with the rich
tradition of environmentally sound practices is an important backdrop under which the countries
Environmental Education (EE) strategy has been evolved. The Central Government and every state
within India, now has a Ministry of Environment. All education departments recognize EE as an
essential part of education. The law courts have been sympathetic to environmental issues and the
Supreme Court has passed a directive that all students must go through a compulsory course on the
environment and the media must show free of cost a certain amount of programmes to create
environmental awareness. India has a vast network of NGO's that are actively participating in the
creation of awareness on development and environmental issues. Working on their own and with
Governments they are the backbone of the strategy to create greater environmental awareness,
especially that leading to environmental action vi . This will help develop a strong link for
incorporating environmental communication inclusive media education scenario. It is the strength
that environmental communication as a subject can develop under the umbrella of media education.
Weakness
Illiteracy which is estimated at around 48% and a high dropout rate in the school system
impedes most educational programmes. There is also insufficient recognition of EE and
communication or for that matter education itself as an essential tool for development. While
commercial communication in the form of advertising is recognized by the business community as
essential, development communication and environmental education and communication still
remains at a sub-critical level as far as funding is concerned. The slower visible impact of EE and
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communication on improvements in the environment is an inherent ―weakness.‖ None of the


central universities in India offers environmental communication as a subject in Mass
Communication course curriculum.
Opportunity
The opportunity for the development of environmental communication can solve the macro
and micro level problems. Approaching the subject of information-communication criticality for
environmental sustenance of civilization essentially entails addressing the concerns at two layers
and striking a point of interface between them. These include:
1.Macro level: It constitutes the problem from the global and regional perspective. As
environmental degradation in any individual area affects the whole system it is important to
look at the problem from the ‗Macro‘ level.
2.Micro level: It constitutes the problems from a local and more individual understanding. As
environmental change originates from individual and collective actions and affects us
collectively in different ways, we must also look at the problem from the ‗Micro‘ level.

Macro Level Problem: Imagine a world in which environmental change threatens people‘s health,
physical security, material needs and social cohesion (Human ill-welfare). This is a world beset by
increasingly intense and frequent storms, and by rising sea levels (climate change). Some people
experience extensive flooding, while others endure intense droughts (food insecurity). Species
extinction occurs at rates never before witnessed (wildlife insecurity/ ecological imbalance). Safe
water is increasingly limited, hindering economic activity. Land degradation (pollution) endangers
the lives of millions of people (Bowman, 2008). Thus, it can be said that problems at the molecular
level affect the atomic / nano- level continuum.

Micro Level Problem: Humans ought to co-exist with the environment without harming the
balance and using the elemental resources judiciously for mutual beneficial existence. The problem
to such a proposition is lack of understanding ‗why‘ (knowledge gap), imbalance of scientific and
non-scientific information (information gap) though the human element of information has
evolved to transform us into contributors to the preservation and upholding of nature in the process
of progress (Choudhury, 2011), it is not happening, due to lack of structured communication system
(communication gap) to be used by the individuals for upholding the environment. Hence, it can
be said that problems at the atomic / nano- level affect the molecular level continuum.
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The real problem however is not with any one of the two layers, the real problem lies in the
distinctly different nature and approach to the individual layers of problem. Thus, even if the
problems at the Macro and Micro layers are addressed individually the real problem of addressing
the concern related to environment remains largely unaddressed due to information gap between the
respective stake holders at both the layers, unless both the layers meet at a desirable point of
convergence the problem of sustainable development cannot be addressed. This point of
convergence will, however, have to be facilitated by a desirable information interface, which will in
the process also eliminate the information gap between the respective layers for ensuring the safety
of the earth. Thus through the inclusion of environmental communication as a subject in media
education can bring the opportunity to not only save the planet but also give us the insight in
viewing communication from an environmental perspective from the both micro and macro level.
Threat
With opportunity, the new and powerful media with their increasing dependence on
advertising revenues have sparked off a consumerism which will have its own impact on people and
their behavior. The advertising budgets are huge compared to the total resources being spent on EE
and communication. These ―alternative‖ consumer messages can be seen as a threat to EE and
communication. Commercialization of forest product use also has spurred a lot of environmental
degradation. Use of animal products has resulted in ecological loss of balance.
We can achieve to sustain environmental inclusive media education scenario only when we
can alleviate the strength and weakness and focus on improving the strength and opportunities that
come by.

Phase III
Media Education- “The need for an inclusive environmental communication education in
India”

Media education has been an area of significant academic interest since the last leg of the
last millennium. While the roots of formal media education can be traced back to as early as 1908
when the University of Missouri in Columbia started the first ever academic programme in
Journalism, media education gained momentum only after the media pundits and administrators
started recognizing the important role played by the media in the construction of an efficient
administrative set-up in co-ordination with the other three estates. Needless to say, when India
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became independent and started looking for ideas from her western counterparts to restore
normalcy, the dominant paradigm of development, where the media was accorded an important
place, found many takers. However, not much was known about the modus operandi of the media
then which gave rise to the need for establishing an academic order that could unravel the mysteries
of media mechanism and prepare able media communicators who would work toward maximizing
the benefits of media proliferation in the Indian context. Thus were laid the seeds of media
education in India. It has been over sixty-five years since then. Many developments have taken
place in the media education system in the Indian context in the meantime. These developments and
the various constraints plaguing media education in India have been chronicled by many researchers
over the years. In this regard, Bhattacharyya (2014) opines:
―…it would be apt saying that media education is passing through a very sensitive
phase in the Indian context and both the academicians and the administrators alike
need to contribute to the cause of media education by encouraging the students to
take up the challenge and ensuring a vibrant and dialogic environment for media
education. However, this can only be facilitated if we show the willingness to revisit
the contours of media education. It is high time that we revisit the contours of media
education in India given the fact that the media has emerged as a powerful tool of
mass mobilization today‘s scenario. The media today has, well and truly, established
itself as the fourth estate in the truest sense of the term‖ (Bhattacharyya, 2014).

Figure 8: Universities having Mass Communication Department and


Their Thematic Range of Studies
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Thus we find that environmental communication has failed to find any place in the academic
syllabus of communication studies in the concerned central universities so far. By incorporating
environmental communication in media education we can hope to achieve an awareness and
sensitive mentality of the media practitioners, professional towards environment.
Let us take an example in this regard. Say for instance a photo journalist is sent to cover
exotic bird species (The blue tailed bee eaters) in the Burdwan district of West Bengal during the
month of June. They do not know many things about the bird and its habitat but they are unaware of
the situation of their environment is delicate. Filming the birds continuously for commercial
purpose can ruin the balance of their reproduction is something they were unaware because of their
lack in training of environmental communication. If they had a basic training in environmental
communication they should have known and given the birds some time to rest, as while filming the
birds also do feel agitated due to human presence. The true nature of environmental communication
is this that the media professional has to have education of what is right and wrong, i.e. he/she has
to take care that they do not violate the ethics of the environment to have personal or commercial
gain. The birds that have been spoken about are an endangered species if any harm to their
reproduction is cause then they might be extinct forever. So these have to be kept in mind while
shooting nature. The law of nature has to be taught to the professional here in where environmental
communication is needed in media education. The same practice is adopted by National
Geographic photographers; in an article by Jennifer S. Holland published ―Don't Feed the Bears:
Ethics in Wildlife Photography and Filmmaking‖ she says that there are needs of guidelines of
photographers while filming wildlife, then only the true sense of photography matters. Because just
calling oneself a wildlife photographer without environmental ethics and environmental education
should not be allowed to do photography at all. Each one has to have respect for the environment
(Holland, 2014).

Conclusion
It has been proved time and again that media holds a strong level of penetration among the
masses. This holds true for environmental awareness as well. However, unless media professionals
are themselves sensitive to environmental issues or familiar with the basics of environmental
communication, the media cannot be used to sensitize the people. In this regard, media education
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has an important role to play. We need media education as a tool to help impart the ideas of
environmental conservation.
The present paper is a humble attempt towards perspective building in the direction of
incorporation of environmental communication in the contemporary media education system of
India keeping in mind the need of the hour. In doing so, the researcher has also attempted to provide
the possible framework of an environment-inclusive media education system in the near future. As
is evident from the discussion so far, not much attention has been given to the idea of incorporation
of environmental communication in media education in the Indian context. The researcher,
however, hopes that the present work shall be able to draw the attention of his peers in the desirable
direction.

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Yogamoorthi, D. (1999). Are Marine Turtles Threatened? The Indian Ocean Regional Senario. In
D. B. D.Sc.,Indian Wildlife Resources Ecology and Development. Delhi: Daya Publishing
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Bates, M. (1968).Environment.In D. Sills, International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. New


York: Macmillan.

Bhattacharyya, K. K. (2014). Revisiting the Contours of Media Education: A Study in the Indian
Context.Media Watch, 5 (1), 105-118.

Cox, R. (2010).Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks:
Sage Publications.

Craig, R. & Humphrey, T. L. (2001). Environment, Energy and Society. Belmont, USA:
Wadsworth Thomson Learning.

Holland, J. S. (2014). Don't Feed the Bears: Ethics in Wildlife Photography and Filmmaking.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140116-wildlife-photography-film-
ethics-manipulation-feeding-staging-science/, Retrieved on January 18, 2014.
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The-Key-Aspect-of-Development-Foundation.pdf., Retrieved on September 21, 2015.

OECD. (1999). Environmental Communication Applying Communication Tools Towards


Sustainable Development (pp. 8-9). Paris: OECD Publications.
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Patridge, E. (1966). Origins.A short Etimology Dictionary of Modern English. New York:
Macmillan.

Priyadarshi, N. (2010,). indian-thought-perceives-that-there-is.http://nitishpriyadarshi.


blogspot.in/2010/08/indian-thought-perceives-that-there-is.html, Retrieved on September
21, 2015.

Yadav, R. (1999). Eco-Tourism for consrvation of Mountain Environment. In D. B. D.Sc.,Indian


Wildlife Resources Ecology and Development (pp. 223-231). Delhi: Daya Publishing House.

Schnaiberg, A. (1972). Environmental Sociology and the Division of Labor. Evanston, IL. , USA:
Unpublished Manuscript, Department of Sociology, Northwestern University.

Stephen, W. & Littlejohn, K. A. (Eds.). (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory. Mexico:


SAGE Publications, Inc.

Tolba, M. K. (1992). Saving Our Planet Challanges and Hopes. London, UK: Chapman and Hall.

United Nations. (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our
Common Future. http://conspect.nl/pdf/Our_Common_Future-Brundtland_
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Stapp,W. B., et. a. (1969).The Concept of Environmental Education.The Journal of Environmental


Education, 1 (1), pp. 30-31.
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Emerging Paradigms in Mediascape: Remediating Literature

A.C.P.Tripathi Pratima Tripathi


Assam University Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher
Silchar LearningAnantapur, Andhra Pradesh

Abstract
Digital technologies have created a new avenue in human communication and learning.
Multimedia such as tele and interactive texts, digitalized archives, cyber poetics and technological
innovations such as foldable screens: together these have influenced the production and reception
of literature, along the ways in which we think about reading and writing. The paper highlights the
metamorphosis of new media, literature and language in the form of a communication revolution.
Literature sometimes seems to be approaching an end in this modern era due to the cross
fertilization of media and new technology. The paper further explores the disciplinary relocations in
the humanities that redirect our focus from cultural studies to media studies. In this situation, the
paradigm shift in literature and media and its impact on contemporary society in India has become
of great importance. An attempt has therefore been made by the authors to analyze them in the light
of their theories and purposes.

Key Words: Media Literature, Communication, Technology, Globalization.


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Today, media occupies a central place in every human being lives. It has been a subject of
incessant research for a long time. Media is omnipresent and all- pervasive. The impact of media is
powerful. The present day society is increasingly been called an ‗information society‘. Those
working with the media are termed as ‗information workers‘. Now-a-days media has become an
essential commodity of the society as the food, water and shelter for human beings. At present
society has overcome its barren structure with the information fertilizers in a multifaceted role and
effects. Be it arts or literature, politics or economy, sports or gossips, music or dance, health or
wealth, nation or notion, media plays a crucial role everywhere. Media are an institution in
themselves, developing their own roles and norms, which link the institution to society and to other
social institution.
The media institutions are also regulated by its diversified tools. Media is often the location
of development in culture, both in the sense of literature and art, symbolic forms, and also in
manners, fashions, styles of life, and norms (Civikly, 1974). They have become a dominant source
of information and images of individual‘s social reality as well as collectively for groups and
societies.
Besides, the media plays an important role in its modernisation age with the advent of
communication techniques for development. Another important role that needs to be highlighted, in
the forms of research, discussions overcoming the periphery of regional boundaries is that of
‗remediating literature‘.
Literature has been placed on a paradoxical situation. It seems the approaching end in this
modern century due to the emergence of different media where words are almost replaced by
sounds and images. As the new dimensions of media technology booms, the people in India are
with a thirsty throat for a good literature. The growth of global information and media networks
over the past decades, the burst of creativity in technologies, applications, and business process
driven by these networks and by advances in computing, and their broader social impacts led to
widespread enthusiasm over the potential of information and communication. The growth of global
information and media networks over the past decades, the burst of creativity in technologies,
applications, and business process driven by these networks and by advances in computing, and
their broader social impacts led to widespread enthusiasm over the potential of information and
communication. The signs are all around us, for example, the introduction of the new media such
as computer and internet has created great impact in personal and business environments, and
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hasacted as a catalyst for a paradigm shift (new form of communication) in literature. The print
medium has been reshaped into online editions such as websites, blogging, social network and other
web feeds. The computer, internet has accelerated the creation of new forms of human
communication through instant messaging, internet forums and social networking sites. We are
shifting from industrial society to information centered society with advanced literature too. Since
the change is inevitable it is better to analyze it in a true constant by homeostatic methods of
balancing equations (Bolter et al, 1999). The themes having multidisciplinary folds of media and
literature must be conceived if we care for literature primarily on account of its deep and lasting
human significance. To peel out the shells of literature and media (literary media) is the element of
form and impact. Extracting the media, a piece of literature differs from a specialized treatise on
political economy, social concern, philosophy, astrology, film and entertainment, fashion and
beauty, rumors and mystery, sting operations or even religious gurus, in part because it appeals, not
to a particular class of its readers and viewers only but to men and women as men and women; and
in part because while the object of the treaties is simply to disseminate information through the
channel of industry on a business platform irrespective to give an ideal piece of literature not to
yield esthetic satisfaction by the manner in which media handles its selfish objectives (Anand,
2003). If we want to come out of the prologue, the judgment passed be in the order goes as the
history- literature was leading the media like an inscrutable intuition that lead the Indian society to
contemplate.
Recently digital media have developed and stimulated new theoretical reflections on the
nature scope and characters of media as such and on the way in which they evolve across time. It
would be interesting to analyse by research how does recent technological changes have affects the
medium of literature? Multimedia and interactive texts, digitalized archives, cyber poetics and
technological innovations such as foldable screens: together these have influenced the production
and reception of literature, along with the ways in which we think about writing and reading. These
ongoing developments call for a critical examination both of the relations between literature, and of
the relations between literary studies and media studies in the light of its impact on the
contemporary Indian society as wisely quoted ―We are not human beings having a spiritual
experience but we are spiritual beings having a human experience‖.
The advent of new media and technologies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, texts,
audio and videos and other multimedia contents are often stored and transmitted via., electronically,
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magnetically, or digitally, without using any media such as paper; tape and others, speech can now
also be recorded, stored, and transmitted, so that some literary historians, such as Walter J. Ong,
regard this as an age of "secondary orality". Such changes will doubtlessly expand and alter the
definition of literature, just as did earlier technological developments.
Bold prophesies of future technologies are common place these days, but few have been as
successful at these art as the British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space
Odyssey. In 1945, Clarke published a detailed plan to use orbiting satellite for conveying messages
on earth although he certainly did not expect realization of his idea within his lifetime. The
communication system of the feature will affect where we live, how we work, what we see, and the
types of individuals that will come in contact with, how our children are educated, how people are
trained for new jobs etc (Catton, 1969). The literature, culture and the living conditions in the twent-
first century will be dramatically affected by the communication technology (Hudson, 1989). The
transformative exchanges that have occurred in the past and continue to occur between literature
and technology invaded media.
Modern technologies have used to transform communication into mass communication
through: (i)- mass production of information, (ii)- new methods of mass distribution,(iii)- low cost
per unit by means of technology, (iv)- the development of formats and literature that have a wide
appeal to the average man and woman, (v)- formula for exploiting these formats by speaking to the
mass audience in a language it understands and appreciates and (vi)- a viable financial base,
dependent upon large circulation as well as auxiliary profits from advertising, in the case of
newspapers , magazines and, later, radio and television broadcasting (Tiwari, 2001).
Media and literature are explored alongside each other by analyzing the central issues of present day
media and media studies. If there is already a field of new media studies, it is a combination of
strategies established for understanding and working with earlier media. New digital media
constitute a cultural and economic phenomenon; our society is willing to spend a great deal of
money on the development of such forms as computer games, web sites, and computer graphics for
film and television. So it is not surprising that many academic disciplines are turning their attention
to these forms, at least in part to claim a share in the resources that new media are generating.
Computer science and computer engineering have a de facto claim, and at least some sociologists
and economists as well as humanists in literature, art history, and musicology are seeking to show
that their disciplinary perspectives are also relevant to this digital revolution. Some of these
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humanists want to use digital technology to further their traditional research and teaching; others
may simply want to assert that their fields remain important to our culture‘s assimilation of new
digital media forms (Bolter, 2003). Although academic humanists are attempting both to use and to
theorize about new media, they tend to keep the two (use and theory) separate. There has been a
great deal of theorizing. In a sense, we could say that the humanities in the second half of the
twentieth century became media theory, that is, the study of technologies of representation and
communication, beginning with but no longer limited to printed books and the literary forms of
print. The influential media theories, however, developed before the explosive popularity of digital
media and media forms. Such theories were occasioned by earlier technologies (above all, the
printed book, film, and television) and may be inadequate to the task of understanding new media,
especially because these theories were not designed to improve the practice of these earlier
technologies. Our culture‘s practical engagement with such digital forms as the World Wide Web
may compel us to rethink the relationship of media theory and practice in the humanities. We must
examine the way media texts make meaning and familiarize the psychology of communication,
concept of audience and the way they interact with notions of consumptions, subjectivity and idea.
Robert South, an English poet once said, ―All deception in the course of life is indeed nothing else
but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood from words into things‖.
The media affects human beings according to their backgrounds, perceptions, motivations,
and aspirations. Every person in this world is an era in himself or herself. He or she gets the audio,
visual, and audio visual stimuli through its senses. Media expected to advance national interests,
uplift the information- hungry society and promote certain key values of literature with an intense
impact seems to entering in the restricted ‗Danger Zone‘ passing through manipulation, privacy,
security, democratic process, isolation and commercialization (Dey, 1993).
Media and literature occupy the important base of any society and have far fetching impact.
They both complement each other but contradict in the domain of technology revolution. There
must be some precautions for bearing fruitful results while combining both in an experimental
apparatus. The value of literature and its core identity has thrilled the humanity through its
diversified thoughts and experiences. The paradigm shift in literature and media has a great impact
on the Indian contemporary society. Cross fertilization of media while remediating literature must
explore the great thought of Rabindra Nath Tagore, ―Where the mind is without fear and the head is
held high….. Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake‖. We care for literature
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primarily on account of its deep and lasting human significance. Literature is a vital record of what
men have seen in life, what they have experienced of it, what they have thought and felt about those
aspects of it which have the most immediate enduring interest for all of us. It is thus fundamentally
an expression of life through the medium of language. Such expression is fashioned into the various
forms of literary art through new media in a revised format (Hudson, 1989).
The full ramifications of new media in remediating literature and its continuing evolution
are far beyond the scope of this paper. The role of media and literature in our country today must be
to help the people in their struggle against poverty, unemployment and other social evils to make
India a modern, powerful, industrial state. We can conclude thus literature is a wonderful form of
learning an expression and may it never be replaced by technology of any form. It would continue
to develop as a schizophrenic medium, a hard medium of printed matter and an unstable medium of
electronic data at the same time though the digitalization is affecting reading practices and the
circulation of the literary text.

REFERENCES
Anand, N. (2003). The media effect; press and political mobilisation, Spectrum Publication, New
Delhi.
Bolter, J David and Richard G. (1999). Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA;
MIT.
Bolter, J D. (2003). Theory and Practice in New Media Studies. Cambridge, MA; MIT.
Catton, W.R. (Jr.). (1969). Mass Media as a Producer of Effects: An Overview of Recent Trends.
Civikly, J.N. (1974). Messages: a reader in human communication, Random House, New York.
Dey, P.K. (1993).Perspectives in Mass Communication.Kalyani Publishers, Ludhiana.
Hudson, W.H. (1989). An Introduction to the Study of Literature, Kalyani Publishers, Ludhiana.
Tiwari, I.P. (2001).Communication, Technology and Development. Publications Division,
Government of India.
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Special School Teacher‟s Perception On


Assistive Technology

Dr. Pramod Kumar Narikimelli


Assistant Professor
Department of Education
Mizoram University
Aizawi-796004

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the perception level among the special school
teachers in Hyderabad city. Assistive technology can play an important role in special education.
Every disability imposes certain functional limitations on the individual. However, moderate
disability causes certain limitations among the individual resulting in social prejudice and even
rejection sometimes. The advantage of modern technology has paved way for the disabled people to
overcome the functional limitations imposed by the particular impairment. The assistive technology
for disabled people has made them to live their life easier. India is one of the many developing
countries that face a high level of morbidity especially among infants, children, women and the
elderly. According to Census of India 2011, 2.21 percent of the total population of our country are
disabled. Special educators play a key role in providing students with the technology and the needed
skills to use the technology. Assistive Technologies not only help them communicate with others,
but also develop important life skills. It reveals that professionals who are working directly with
these persons are adequately trained to provide the support and accommodations necessary for the
people with disabilities to enjoy the full benefits of Assistive Technology.

Keywords: Assistive technology, disability, special educators.


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Introduction

What is Technology?
Despite all the technology, if it does not suit the student, it is likely to be abandoned. About
tools to assess which technology will most benefit the student, such as the Quality Indicators for
Assistive Technology.
A student with cerebral palsy operates a computer using his cheek, while another with
writing problems uses a digital keyboard with the main keys highlighted so predictive text can do
the rest, and a vision-impaired student uses the ―speak the screen‖ feature on her mobile device to
listen to what is on the screen. This type of technology, also known as assistive technology and also
popularly known as Special Education Technology Needs (SETN), is improving education for
students with physical or learning difficulties, helping them do tasks they cannot normally do, or
enabling them to do tasks better, and to work in mainstream classes.
―If we use to teach the students of the autism spectrum with the Titans of Space program
using Oculus Rift (a virtual-reality headset) the students virtually travel around the entire solar
system, learning about each planet as they visit them‖. ―Students also upload their more artistic
photos to a virtual art gallery‖. ―They take turns ‗walking‘ through the art gallery to see their work,‖
Video is an old technology, but it is being used as a tool to teach special-needs students a behaviour
or skill. The idea is to show a child a two-minute or less video of themselves performing a skill they
cannot currently perform. ―The learning is much more powerful when it‘s self that children are
watching and imitating,‖
Assistive Technology (AT) can play an important role in special education. Many students
with disabilities need special instructional treatment and teaching. The recent advancements in
technology have produced many applications that help to make their life easier. It can aid in
removing many of the barriers that students with disabilities face in today‘s classroom. It is not
always just for the students with disabilities, it can also be used to help any student with motivation,
academic skills and social development. Over the past three decades, special education has
addressed assistive technology resources and services (Edyburn, 2000; Alpher & Raharinirina,
2006; H. Lee & Templeton, 2008). Incorporating technology increases students‘ motivation to learn
and personalizes lessons to a student‘s individual needs. Even the students with the most severe and
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profound disabilities can use this technology to join a classroom of typical students and their
potential can be reached.

This Assistive Technology (AT) is designed to create a user-friendly environment for


students who receive special education services and has the ability to maximize students‘ academic
success. Furthermore, AT can be used to increase equitable access to academic, social, and
extracurricular activities for students with learning disabilities (Dyal, Carpenter, & Wright, 2009).
Assistive technology devices can range from low tech (pencil grips, highlighters, and colour
overlays) to high tech (text-to-speech software, computers, and Braille readers). Also included are
the environmental controls such as pointer sticks, mobility devices such as wheelchairs, and adapted
equipment such as bath chairs or toys (Alpher & Raharinirina, 2006). Special education teachers are
given increased responsibilities for students with disabilities in their classroom. Teacher education
programs have recognized their obligation to provide solutions for the dilemmas their teachers face
in the inclusive educational environment (Murry & Murry, 2000).

Methodology

The main objective of the study is to understand the perception level of Assistive
Technology among the special school teachers in Hyderabad city. In and around the city of
Hyderabad there are more than 15 special schools. From this, one special school was selected by the
simple random sampling method. The total strength of the teachers is 21 in the school selected as
sample. Due to the small sample size, all the teachers were interviewed. The collected data was
analyzed by using Statistical Package for Social Science.
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Educational Qualification and Experience of the Respondents

No of the
Variables Category Percentage Mean SD
respondents
Male 5 23.8
Gender 1.761 0.436
Female 16 76.2
<5 Years 14 66.7
Year of
5-10Years 6 28.6 1.381 0.589
Experience
>10Years 1 4.8
PG 9 42.9
Education UG 10 47.6 1.666 0.658
Diploma 2 9.5
None 4 19
Experience in
<5 Years 12 57.1
Assistive 2.095 0.768
5-9 Years 4 19
Technology
>10Years 1 4.8

The educational qualification and experience of the respondents working in special school
were measured with four dimensions viz., gender, year of experience, educational qualification, and
experience in Assistive Technology.

The mean score of the gender of the respondents works out to 1.761 with the standard
deviation of 0.436.With regard to experience of the respondents in teaching, the mean score value is
1.381 and standard deviation is 0.589. Educational qualification and experience in Assistive
technology of the respondent‘s mean score is 1.666, 2.095 and standard deviation 0.658, 0.768
respectively.
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Respondents Perception‟s on Assistive Technology

Percentage of the Respondents


S. No Statements Mean SD
SD D N A SA
I have a good knowledge about
1 4.8 9.5 47.6 19.0 19.0 3.381 1.071
AT.
I have confidence in using AT
2 4.8 4.8 23.8 52.4 14.3 3.666 0.966
for educational purpose.
I have good skills in using AT
3 4.8 - 38.1 33.3 23.8 3.714 1.007
for educational purposes.
The availability of AT devices
4 for students is important in my - - 38.1 52.4 9.5 3.714 0.643
class.
AT requires too much time to
5 14.3 38.1 4.8 38.1 4.8 2.809 1.249
use during the class.
AT enables students to be able
6 - 4.8 19 61.9 14.3 3.857 0.727
to access in their curriculum.
AT can cause disruptions in the
7 14.3 4.8 38.1 23.8 19.0 3.285 1.270
classroom.
AT devices are useful for all
- 4.8 28.6 42.9 23.8 3.857 0.853
8 core academic class.
AT devices help students more
9 4.8 - 38.1 42.9 14.3 3.619 0.920
readily in my class.
Using AT slows the pace of
10 9.5 14.3 33.3 38.1 4.8 3.142 1.062
learning for the entire class.
Only special education teachers
11 should implement AT for - 14.3 38.1 33.3 14.3 3.476 0.928
students in resource classes.
AT is effective in meeting
12 - 9.5 28.6 42.9 19.0 3.714 0.902
students‘ needs.
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Students need to learn to


function without AT as their
13 4.8 4.8 23.8 28.6 38.1 3.904 1.135
use of it would negatively
affects their skill development.
I have seen the student make
14 academic progress because of - 4.8 23.8 28.6 38.1 3.904 1.135
their use of AT.
I believe student achievement
15 - 4.8 19 23.8 52.4 4.238 0.943
can increase through AT.
SD = Strongly Disagree, D=Disagree, N = Neutral, A = Agree, SA= Strongly Agree

As observed from the above table, the special school teachers‘ perception in Assistive
Technology shows that most of the teachers are confident in using Assistive technology, good
skills, enabling the students to access in their curriculum and make the student to achieve in their
life using this technology.

Conclusion

Special school teachers‘ perception of Assistive Technology is important, because their


views could impact the academic success for students with disabilities. Assistive Technology can
play a vital role in special education because many students with disabilities need special
instructional treatment. The data reveals that teachers understood the importance of using assistive
technology but felt unprepared to effectively use devices because of a lack of resources, limited
planning time, adequate technical support, and poor infrastructure. It is also imperative that
professionals who are working directly with these persons and their family members be adequately
trained to provide the support and accommodations necessary for people with disabilities to enjoy
the full benefits of Assistive Technology.

References

Alper, S. & Raharinirina, S. (2006). Assistive technology for individuals with disabilities: A review
and synthesis of the literature. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(2), 47-64.
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Ashton, T. M. (2005). Students with learning disabilities using assistive technology in the inclusive
classroom. In D. L. Edyburn, K. Higgins, & R. Boone (Eds.), Handbook of special education
technology research and practice. Whitefish Bay, WI: Knowledge by Design, 229-238.

Balanskat, A., Blamire, R., & Kefla, S. (2006). A review of studies of ICT impact on schools in
Europe.European School net.

Dyal, A., Carpenter, L., & Wright, J. (2009). Assistive technology: What every school leader should
know. Edutarack, 129(3), 556-560.

Murry, F. R. & Murry, G. B. (2000). Using a lesson template to integrate general and special
education: Teaching lesson template use to educators of students with special needs. In:
Annual Proceedings of the National Convention of the Association for Educational
Communications. Information &Technology, 1-2.

Sicilia, C. (2005). The challenges and benefits to teachers‘ practices in constructivist learning
environments supported by technology (Unpublished master‘s thesis).McGill University,
Montreal.
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Contextualizing Media Education in Mizoram

Dr.V.Ratnamala
Assistant Professor,
Department of Mass Communication,
Mizoram University, Aizawl, Mizoram

Abstract

Mizoram is one of the small states of India, but has a high rate of literacy. As a result, the
mediaconsumption is also high. The present paper provides a bird‘s eye view of media education
which is rather nascent. It has its own teething problems and also advantages. The researcher has
made an attempt to highlight the need for contextualizing media education for employment and
professionalization.

Key Words: Media education, contextualization, professionalization, Entrepreneurial


education
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Introduction

Mizoram is a hilly North East Indian state with majority of ethnic people. Perched on the
southernmost tip of the north eastern region, Mizoram occupies an area of great strategic
importance. It is bounded by Bangladesh on the west and Myanmar on the east and south sharing a
total of 722 km international boundary with the two countries. It also shares its borders with three
states – Assam, Tripura and Manipur. Mizoram became the 23rd state of Indian Union in February
1987.

Objective of the study

The study will be exploring the opportunities for entrepreneurship in the field of media and the need
to emphasize on entrepreneurial education in Mizoram.

Research method

The qualitative research method is employed in this study. The field observation and in-depth
interviews is used for the data collection. Using a purposive sampling, editors and reporters of the
newspaperswere identified and deliberately sought as being able to provide the mostcomprehensive
perspective. Data was gathered from semi-structured face to- face andphone interviews.
Respondents were asked the same set of open ended guiding questions.Each interview lasted for
about 20 minutes.
This technique was used to collect qualitative data by setting up a situation (the interview)that
allowed a respondent the time and scope to talk about their opinions on a particularsubject. The
focus of the interview was decided by the researcher and there were specificareas the researcher was
interested in exploring. The case study method is also incorporated in the study.

Media Scenario in Mizoram

The media scenario in Mizoram is very different from the rest of the country. Mizoram is having
vibrant media industry. Presently, Mizoram has 91 dailies, 16 magazines, and 17 electronic media.
Of the 124 publications, only two are in Englishand 122 in Mizo language. With the tri/bi weeklies,
weeklies, fortnightlies, quarterlies and annuals there are 131 registered newspapers in Mizoram
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according to the Statistical Handbook of Mizoram, 2013. With the exception of one or two
newspapers and local news-letters, dailies are not published on Sundays in Mizoram. Each and
every district has its own newspapers. Lunglei district has 14 newspapers in publication, 6 from
Mamit District, 11 from Saiha, 7 from Lawngtlai, 9 from Champhai district, 9 from Serchhip district
and 6 from Kolasib district (MJA Annual Report 2011-2012).Aizawl alone has 34 newspapers.
Although there are over 34 newspaper in Mizoram, the newspapers that have the most readers
areVanglaini, Zozam Times, Aizawl Post and Newslink. There are 144 approved printing presses in
Mizoram. Newspaper reaches a wide area and is easily accessible which results in a higher
readership in Mizoram which is 67%. Besides Mizoram, other North- Eastern states like Nagaland,
Manipur are also among the highest newspaper reader statistics. The state wise distribution of
newspaper readership showed higher newspaper reading habits in the states of Nagaland, Mizoram,
Meghalaya and Manipur wherein more than 90% respondents read newspaper. Lesser proportion
(80-90%) in Srinagar, Assam, and Tripura read newspapers whereas in Leh only half the people
(52%) read newspapers (Department of Communication Research, IIMC. (2010).

Apart from Doordarshan and AIR kendras in Aizawl, 29 cable operators have been functioning in
urban and semi-urban areas. The ―Sky Link‖ has been offering Star TV programmes to limited
subscribers since 1991. The LPS and ZOZAM started their own production centers in 1992 and
1994 respectively. Among all states Mizoram is the leading state with 96.8% cable viewers. The
local channels in Mizoram provide their viewers with adequate information and entertainment. The
local operators like Zonet and LPS broadcast different types of entertainment for 24 hours. They
give out the news at 7:00 pm in the evening, there is no fixed time for the news, and it depends on
the number of news. Besides the 7 O‘clock news, LPS also broadcasts news in the morning at 7.
The morning news is not in brief, but gives out information on the VIP schedule, and other news
item. Unlike the local channel, Doordarshan broadcasts only the most important news at 5:30 pm
and the main news at 7 in the evening. Doordarshan news covers more on the national news and
unlike the local channels there is a fixed time on the news. DoordarshanAizawl center telecasts their
local programme at the entire state, even to the remotest areas. These improved the basic concepts
of the children living in rural areas, and promote aesthetic sensitivity, instill habits of healthy living,
bringing awareness of modernization of life and society.
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The All India primary survey, ―National Youth Readership Survey -2009‖undertaken by National
Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) on behalf of National Book Trust under the
National Action Plan for Readership Development shows that youth from the NE states are more
inclined towards reading books compared to the other states. In fact, the north-eastern region has
performed much better than Maharashtra, which is the topmost State of the country in terms of
economic well-being. The results reveal that the NE region is at the top slot with 67 per cent (85 per
cent urban, 59 per cent rural) readers followed by Assam with 41 per cent (55 per cent urban, 38 per
cent rural), showing that the NE states are far ahead of Maharashtra with 34 per cent (39 per cent
urban, 28 per cent rural) readers. The NE states, despite their economic backwardness, have a
greater proportion of readers, 43 per cent, among the youth population. While the central States
have the largest block (85 per cent) of non-readers, the north-east has the smallest (57 per cent)
(Dhar, 2012).

According to the eensus data 2011, the number of mobile users in Mizoram is 141,254(63.9%). The
numbers of people who have access to the internet with computers and laptops is 5602(2.5%). The
radio listenership in Mizoram is not so high when compared with other North-east states. It is less
than 50%, according to the census data 2011 the number of radio listenership in Mizoram is
74,113(33.5%). In terms of coverage, Radio has the most extensive coverage in the whole state. The
programmes mainly concentrated on education, health, agriculture and family planning. Radio was
tuned in for news/ current affairs programmes by as high as 93.4% in North-East.

The number of television viewers in Mizoram is 121,725(55.1%). TV was viewed by 92.8% of the
population surveyed thereby making it the most popular mass medium among all other media.
Access to TV channels was largely through Cable connection (69.4%), followed by the Direct to
Home service (15.3%). Exposure to cross-border mass media varied from state to state in the same
region. A large number of people in Mizoram (84.5%) were exposed to at least one or more media.
(Department of Communication Research, IIMC. (2010)

Mizoram has a population of 1,091,014 and has the second highest literacy rate in India (91.58%).
The high literacy rate can be the main reason behind the immense growth of media in Mizoram.
Both the print media and the electronic media provide entertainment and information to the
audiences in Mizoram.
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Case study of status of media in Lawngtlai district

Lawngtlai is one of the eight administrative districts of Mizoram. It is located in the southern most
part of Mizoram having common international borders with Bangladesh in the west and Myanmar
in the east. Also Lawngtlai is the most backward districts of Mizoram in terms of literacy having
only 66.41 %. According to DIPR (Directorate of Information and Public Relations) -10 accredited
journalists and 7 registered publications in Lawngtlai district. The newspapers which are publishing
from Lawngtlai areRauthla, Chhawkhlei Times, Ram Eng, Lai Ram, Lai Aw, Lawngtlai Post
&Phawngpui Express. The local cable TV channels areRL cable, Zonet&KT Vision.

DAVP (Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity) is following an Advertisement policy with
effect from October 2, 2007. Because of that policy only, even these small newspapers are
receiving advertisements from Government.

Clause2 illustrates that Government advertisements are not intended to be financial assistance to
newspapers/journals. DAVP maintains a list of newspapers/journals approved for release of
advertisements by empanelling acceptable newspapers/journals. DAVP will empanel only such
newspapers/journals as are required for issuing advertisements of the Government of India. Care is
taken to empanel newspapers/journals having readership from different sections of the society in
different parts of the country.

Clause7 of the policy classified newspapers into three categories, namely

i) Small, with a circulation of up to 25,000 copies per publishing day.

ii) Medium, between 25,001 and 75,000 copies per publishing day, and

iii) Big, with a circulation of above 75,000 copies per publishing day.

As per Clause13 of that advertisement policy, the newspapers certified by the state governments
from North Eastern states need to have substantiated minimum paid circulation of only 500 copies
per publishing day.

Clause 13 is as follows:
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A newspaper/journal should have a minimum paid circulation of not less than 2000 copies for being
considered eligible for empanelment. However, newspapers/journals in Bodo, Dogri, Garhwali,
Kashmiri, Khasi, Konkani, Maithili, Manipuri, Mizo, Nepali, Rajasthani, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi,
Urdu and Tribal languages as certified by State Governments. published all over the country and
newspapers/journals published in backward, border, hilly areas OR remote areas OR tribal
languages OR those published in J&K, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and North- Eastern States need
to have substantiated minimum paid circulation of only 500 copies per publishing day.

The local dailies in the district are very few and small. Lairam is the only daily which crosses
thousand copies in circulation. The circulation of other dailies is between 500 to 800 copies only.
Except one newspaper, all the newspapers are only 2 page print outs. All the newspapers publish
editorial in the right side of the second page. They do not carry datelines and credit lines. They
carry mostly government advertisements and very few local retail advertisements. The content of
the newspapers are mostly local news, editorial, biblical verses and advertisements. All the
newspapers are in Mizo following Duhlian script. Except one newspaper, all the others are printed
in the computer laser printer.

All these newspapers are mostly one man show. The editor, owner and publisher of the newspaper
are one person and also the journalist of the newspaper. The newspapers have circulation managers
who are in charge of dispatching the newspapers.

An intensive interview with the editors of the newspapers in Lawngtlai has revealed that there is
also an irregular publication. If there is power cut or the owner of the newspaper is sick, the
newspaper wouldn‘t get published. The newspapers do not have household subscriptions. They
depend on the government offices for subscription. The owners/journalists of the newspapers do not
possess any professional degree or training in Journalism. They are mostly entrepreneurs started the
newspapers out of their own interest.

Dubbing industry

The local cable television throughout the state is thriving mainly on dubbing serials and movies.
The Korean serials and movies dubbed in Mizo in local dubbing studios in Aizawl. The dubbing
industry in Mizoram was started in 2003 by LPS. But the evolution of the industry started by the
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end of 2004. Since a number of studios started to come into business, the industry started to grow.
The researcher find that Korean media is the factor that brought the industry to its peak. It is evident
that the Korean movie is the main factor for the reason behind the growth of dubbing industry in
Mizoram(Lalpuii, 2013).

The dubbing industry in Mizoram is growing immensely for the past few years due to the Korean
wave in Mizoram. The local cable operators broadcast dubbed Korean films almost 24/7. Mostly the
Korean programmes and films are with Mizoversion. Although the Mizos do not have film industry,
the new dubbing industry is emerging and testing its water in Mizoram. Mostly all the Korean films
and Korean television programmes are dubbed intoMizo language. Pirated Korean films are
flooding the bara bazaar of Aizawl. Mostly all the films are in Mizo version.

Zonet and LPS, the two main major operators in Mizoram dubbed a number of Korean serials in
their studio. Besides them, one of the main studios that do dubbing is RemPhamly, Ramhlun North.
A number of pirated films are dubbed intoMizo which is the main reason behind the popularity of
Korean serials. LPS was the first to dubbed foreign films in the local language. All the local
operators in Mizoram are broadcasting a number of Korean serials that are dubbed in Mizo
language. The dubbing industry in Mizoram is growing immensely during the past few years due to
the Korean wave in Mizoram. The local cable operators broadcast Korean films that are dubbed in
Mizo language for almost 24/7. The competition among them has rapidly increased by the end of
2004. If one operator shows Korean films successfully, the other has to do the same to attract more
customers and to keep themselves in the game. They promote Korean culture and it has gained
popularity within no time. The Korean Serial movie in fact, has created a dubbing industry which
involves the work of translation, narration, editing, marketing and piracy (Vanneihtluanga,2013).

Media education in Mizoram

Media education started in Mizoram in 2011 with the launching of MJMC course in Mizoram
University. Three batches of students have already passed out from this course. But only a few got
jobs in the Mizoram media. The reason is that though there are many publications and cable TV
channels in Mizoram, they are not economically big players. The newspapers in Mizoram still have
not crossed 50,000 copies of circulation.
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The MJMC syllabus of Mizoram University intends to equip the students to contextualise the
different theories in their social milieu. The students are encouraged to develop many more case
studies in the context of Mizoram. There is also a need to incorporate the history of media in the
region in the curriculum. For that the research on media studies should be extensively done in
Mizoram. Instead of viewing media course as mere skill based professional course, it should focus
on meaningful media research so that media studies could develop as a discipline in Mizoram.

Solution for employment

It is also important to generate job alternatives for the aspiring media practitioners because there is
hardly any scope for the expansion of the media.As the students are not willing to move to other
parts of India because of language and cultural barriers, onehas to think of creating jobs inside
Mizoram. The solution for jobs for the media students in Mizoram is entrepreneurship.
The working journalists and for that matter most of the media personnel are underpaid for the work
they put in. In turn, it is directly related to the existing small market and limited resources. It can be
concluded that money matters and money drives a person. Therefore, journalists work for the wages
they are paid for and usually not more. Time factor is also an issue. As stated before, majority of the
newspapers still are a one man show. Therefore, multi-tasking all the aspects of a newspaper can be
tiring and time consuming. Therefore, any extra effort can be hard to come by (Varte, 2013).

Entrepreneurship

Inferences drawn from the study reveal that there is a huge scope for entrepreneurship in the media
profession in Mizoram.As there is a huge demand of content for the local cable TV channels and
still thriving on dubbed serials, the media students can be encouraged to come up with their own
local programme production.There is a huge scope for production of serials. They could also launch
news apps for smart phones as there is a mass explosion of social media in Mizoram.

References

Commissioner, R. G. (2011). Census of India 2011. New Delhi: Office of the Registrar General &
Census Commissioner.
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Department of Communication Research, IIMC. (2010). Impact and Penetration of Mass Media in
North-East States and J&K Regions. New Delhi: Ministry of Information and broadcasting,
Government of India.

Dhar, A. (2012, November 26). Fiction over fact. Retrieved August 18, 2015, from
www.thehindu.com: http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/youth/fiction-over-
fact/article4136270.ece

Lalpuii, D. (2013). Political economy of dubbing industry in Mizoram(Unpublished Master‘s


thesis).Mizoram University, Aizawl, India.

Statistics, D. O. (2013). Statistical Handbook 2012. Aizawl: Government of Mizoram.

Varte, L. (2013). Ethnography of Journalists in Aizawl City (Unpublished Master‘s thesis).Mizoram


University, Aizawl, India.

Vanneihtluanga.(2013, September).Korean Zawlaidi.Lengzem, pp.28-34.


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„Mediavism‟: Gizmo of “Y” Gen. Media Mentors

RatheeshKaliyadan
Director,Media Analysis & Research Center,
Koyilandy, Kozhikkode, Kerala, India 673305

Abstract

As a proven approach and method of media education, mediavism has an acceptance in school
education system. The pedagogical practice of mediavism resulted in bringing forth novel
productions in the form of media content for varieties of media including print, audio, audio-visual
and new media. The three tiered activity is influenced and intervened by systemic rigidities due to
sophisticated structural pattern of the school education system. The experience in the pedagogical
practice of mediavism assures vast scope of applying the approach in andragogic and heutagogic
contexts. Since the adult learners are free and have self-direction/self-determination, they can
explore the tenants of mediavism with a more socio-political outlook.

Key words: Mediavism, pedagogy, andragogy and heutagogy


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Introduction

Mediavism is an approach to nourish mediavists and a proven method of pedagogical practice in


media education sector. The style of practice enhances the learners to construct socially committed,
rural friendly and peasant supportive mind set in their enquiries to satisfy quest to news production.
The way brings forth virgin news items which were denied by the mainstream media hoses most
probably due to their own ‗vested‘ interests or part of hidden agendas in transmitting news. The
underpinning flow of influence of the agenda is the nexus between the corporates and the media
managers, especially in the post globalization media structure where news becomes part and parcels
of market based affairs and a commodified exercise. Experiences of practicing mediavism in media
education class rooms put forward an extension of the method in an Andragogical and Heutagogical
environment. Let‘s consider the scope of the transition of mediavism from pedagogic practice to
Andragogic and Hutagogic practices.

Ecology of Mediavism

Post globalization era society is bound with sophisticated mass media structures including print,
audio, audio-visual tools and networked atmosphere with social-tech friend circles. According to
Henry Giroux, Ideologically, the knowledge, values, identities, and social relations produced and
legitimated in these sites are driven by the imperatives of commodification, privatization,
consuming, and deregulation. At stake here is the creation of a human being that views him or
herself as a commodity, shopper, autonomous, and largely free from any social obligations.

Traditionally the output of media intervened cultural influence were defined with the assets of
‗mediated culture‘. Certain media critics and sociologists tried to remark the mediated culture using
a German term ‗Kitsch‘. During the assumptions the major ‗villain‘ of criticisms was television and
its influence in society. Robert Heusca points out that Activist media are radio, television, and other
media practices that aim to effect social change and that generally engage in some sort of structural
analysis concerned with power and the reconstitution of society into more egalitarian arrangements.
Many activist media practices are also committed to principles of communication democracy, which
place at their core notions of popular access, participation, and self-management in the
communication process. (Huesca, 2008, p. 31)
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By the second half of 1990s the scene is shifted to a ‗networked society‘. Generation ―Y‖, also
known as the Millennial Generation, Generation Next, or Net Generation defined by the age group
between twenty (20) and twenty-six (26), has grown up with digital media from their earlier
education. They are used to obtaining necessary or useful information through online and mobile
applications. This digital environment refers to the new online culture such as ―instant‖, ―virtual‖,
or ―multi-media‖ and it often reflects their attitudes and manners which can appear as a lack of
craftsmanship in studio practices. Because they have grown up relying on their parents for
information, they are not independent in learning responsibility. (Alsop, 2008)

In the post kitsch atmosphere, Mass media itself became two edged tools. On the one hand it is a
weapon of corporate interests. Majority of mainstream, profit motive media managers stood for the
cause of fascinating gimmicks of corporate interests. On the other side it is a fighting component of
alternative choices. Thinkers and activists, the sympathizers of downtrodden, develop an alternative
channel of transmitting their ‗philosophies‘ through media activism using the commodities of
capitalist developments including social-tech. Media activism can be defined as two related kinds of
activity. One creates media that challenge the dominant culture, structure, or ruling class of a
society. The other advocates changes within that society intended to preserve or open up space for
such media. Often media activism encompasses both these activities in the same historical moment;
or it quickly moves between the two modes of action. (Lasar, 2007)

Mediavism formulated by combining the tenants of media practices and activism outlooks.
Mediavism is a way to educate learners how to identify news and recognize the story in a complex
field of fact and opinion, how to conduct mediavistic research, and how to write for, illustrate, edit
and produce material for various media formats (newspapers, magazines, radio and television,
online and multimedia operations including social networks) and for their particular audiences in a
right based way. Selection of theme, generation of media content and mode of dissemination will be
purely based on the mediavistic perspective. Through such an explicit agenda of media content
generation, mediavists negate the so called ‗objectivity‘ factor of news and populating hidden
agenda of the media managers. It offers ultimate freedom to the budding mediavists in selection and
cooking stories using the real information gathered from primary sources.
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Pedagogy

Pedagogy refers to a systematic procedure for advancing learning. It consists of conception of


substantive knowledge and its codification in symbolic form in such media as - text, film, art and a
process for engaging such codified knowledge that is designed to alter a person‘s understanding of,
aspects of, self and world (Robert Audi, 1999). In the words of Giroux and Simon (1989), pedagogy
may be described as a deliberate attempt to influence how and what knowledge and identities are
produced within and among particular sets of social relations.

Pedagogical practices are based upon a pre-designed curriculum. Curriculum imbibes hidden
agenda set by the academia considering the interests of the power structure. Traditionally the
practices were teacher centered. Learners had no role in the teaching process. The behaviorist
school of thoughts advocated for trial and error style of learning and teaching. Applying the
theoretical principles of Behaviourism to learning environments, it is easy to recognize that we have
many "behaviourist artifacts" in our learning world. The concept of directed instruction, whereby a
teacher is providing the knowledge to the students either directly or through the setup of
"contingencies‖ is an excellent example of the Behaviourist model of learning. The use of exams to
measure observable behaviour of learning, the use of rewards and punishments in our school
systems, and the breaking down of the instruction process into "conditions of learning" (as
developed by Robert Gagne), are all further examples of the Behaviourist influence.

Paradigm shift from behaviorism to constructivism made mentionable change in pedagogy. The
basis for cognitive constructivism is the assumption that the child has certain innate abilities. Here
the child is an isolated inquirer to construct his own knowledge.

General Educational Implications of Cognitive Theories:

 Cognitive processes influence learning.


 As children grow, they become capable of increasingly more sophisticated thought.
 People organize the things they learn.
 New information is most easily acquired when people can associate it with things they have
already learned.
 People control their own learning.
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The social or realist constructivist tradition is often said to derive from the work of Vygotsky.
Others classified in this category include Kuhn, Greeno, Lave, Simon, and Brown. Varied as
these theorists‘ ideas are, they are popularly held to be proponents of the central role of the
social environment in learning. Learners are believed to be enculturated into their learning
community and appropriate knowledge, based on their existent understanding, through their
interaction with the immediate learning environment. Learning is thus considered to be a largely
situation-specific and context-bound activity (Eggen and Kauchak, 1999; McInerney and
McInerney, 2002; Woolfolk, 2001)

Critical Pedagogy Kincheloe (2005), best known as CP, is concerned with transforming
relations of power which are oppressive and which lead to the oppression of people. It tries to
humanize and empower learners. It is most associated with the Brazilian educator and activist
Paulo Freire using the principals of critical theory of the Frankfurt school as its main source.
The prominent members of this critical theory are Adorno, Marcuse, and Habermas. Critical
theory is concerned with the idea of a just society in which people have political, economic, and
cultural control of their lives. Associationship of educational content with the learner‘s day to
day life is the core element of pedagogical practice in the contemporary education scene.

The pedagogic practice of mediavism as an extended approach is based on the critical theories.
The mediavism method is developed as a three tier activity. First phase is dedicated to generate
a wide awareness of the theme. The second phase elaborates the topic. The third phase is the
practical side of the theoretical discourses. Part of the activity based approach of knowledge
construction, learners engage in practical sessions. In mediavism method, learners are free to
find out scial issues, approach primary sources and develop media content and transmit them
using affordable media including the networks.

Andragogy

Malcolm Knowles labelled his work in adult education as andragogy in the late 1960‟s According
to Knowles the best educational experiences were cooperative, guided interactions between the
teacher and learner with many available resources. (Knowles,1980)

Knowles developed a set of five assumptions that enveloped his concept of andragogy.
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adults are self-directed learners


adult learners bring a wealth of experience to the educational setting
adults enter educational settings ready to learn
adults are problem-centered in their learning
adults are best motivated by internal factors (Knowles,1980).

Knowles (1980) called upon educators to employ a seven step process in order to implement and
capitalize upon the assumptions of andragogy.
 creating a cooperative learning climate;
 planning goals mutually;
 diagnosing learner needs and interests;
 helping learners to formulate learning objectives based on their needs and individual
interests;
 designing sequential activities to achieve these objectives;
 carrying out the design to meet objectives with selected methods, materials, and resources;
and
 evaluating the quality of the learning experience for the learner that included reassessing
needs for continued learning.

The seven step process implies that curriculum should be process based. Lessons should be taught
in a way to connect the theories they learn with the day to day life which they experience. Life
oriented content and dissemination are the face values of educational practices. Here the learners are
self-directed. Teachers act as a facilitator to realize the self-directed learning path.

Heutagogy

Hase and Kenyon coined the term heutagogy in the late 1990‘s. Heutagogy represents the concept
of truly self-determined learning. Heutagogical approach recognizes the need for

Flexibility in the learning process


Educator provides resources but the learner designs the curriculum
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Development of individual capability,


Individualized learning
Independent learning.

Heutagogy is seen primarily applicable to vocational education and tailor-made company training.
Universities might find some challenges in applying heutagogy, especially in terms of assessment.
The principles of heutagogy seek to democratize the assessment process by allowing it to be driven
by the realities of the ―real world‖. Hase (2002)

Heutagogy represents lifelong learning which enhances the learners‘ life with additions to what they
have. Actual life experience is the core value of this method of learning too. The self-determined
learner can choose a teacher as a mentor to seek moral support and guidance. The role of mentor in
the learning process will be minimized especially in a distance learning/technology supported
learning environment.

Mediavism in educational environment

Pedagogy, Andragogy and Heutagogy becomes different in connection with the age of the audience
associated with. Basic principles of these practices are almost similar in the context of mediavism.
On the theoretical aspect these trios are facilitated by the critical theories of education in the
contemporary contexts. Paulo Frier, the founder of critical pedagogy worked and disseminated the
ideals of transformational education among the Brazilian farmers.

In pedagogical practice of mediavism, the teacher provides theoretical frame of media education
through brainstorming or interactive lecture. Assigns wide range of topics and allows learners to
develop media content. Learners are absolutely free to select their own content and develop them as
media content. But there should be an invisible control of the teacher to maintain the institutional/
systemic control.

The andragogy practices seem to be a connecting link between pedagogical practices and
Heutagogical implications. The elements of pedagogy appear in the class room context. At the same
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time the self-directed learners are guided to do their work. Here the teacher transforms as a
facilitator. Mediavism could be practiced as part of media education in higher education sector.
Then the andragogic version gets a link to heutagogic assumptions of learning. Our colleges provide
theoretical frame of mass communication as a discipline with some practical components as part of
fulfilling UG/PG courses based upon a fixed curriculum developed by academia. The pedagogical
element is predominant here though the audience is matured.

Mediavism as an approach help the learners to find out issues around them and develop media
content as a tool to solve the issue or juxtapose them in the social milieu. Freedom to apply what
they learned in class rooms should be ensured. On the methodical part, facilitators have not any
kind of control over the selection of social issue, coverage or information gathering. The facilitator
can point out different streams if the learner seeks help. The facilitator‘s social, political or cultural
interests should not creep in advices. The self-directed learners can understand such hidden
interventions and the reactions will be different from school education scene. It is a liberation
movement from the clutches of the rigid frame of syllabus and hidden thorns of the curriculum.

Heutagogy provides opportunity to learn and earn. Earnings do not mean profit or money related
earnings. Earnings include money, cultural and political dimensions of life. Being an alternative
tool for social transformation through mass media interventions, mediavism will help the learners to
transform their life along with others. Mediavism is strictly life oriented, transformative and
continuous still the life of a mediavist exists which are the major tenants of heutagogy.

Conclusion
Mediavism as an approach and method of learning and practicing mass communication as a
discipline has plenty of opportunities to develop as a tool of social transformation. The ‗Y‘ gen.
adults can apply mediavism as a gadget to guard the creative expressions through social tech.
Transformative education sectors at all levels including school education, higher education and
distance/open learning environment can utilize the the scope of mediavism for a better being and
future of the society. Explorations of mediavism in andragogy and heutagogy needs more research
based interventions and develop alternative methods of mass communication transaction and
learning. Post globalization era networked society outlooks constructed over dreams of technopolis
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culture should have to realize the alarming sighs of the downtrodden and project them before the
social milieu. Mediavism is the gizmo for such development of alternative media ecology and
generation of responsible citizens.

Reference

Alsop, R. (October 13, 2008). The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the
Workplace. Jossey-Bass.

Hase, S, & Kenyon, C. (2003) Heutagogy and developing capable people and capable workplaces:
strategies for dealing with complexity, The Changing Face of Work and Learning Conference,
Alberta: University of Alberta, pp.25-27, available from
http://www.wln.ualberta.ca/papers/pdf/17.pdf

Hase, S. (2002, April). Simplicity in complexity: capable people and capable organisations need
each other. Paper presented at the Australian Vocational Education and Training Association
conference, Melbourne.

Hase, S. (2009), Heutagogy and e-learning in the workplace: Some challenges and opportunities.
Journal of Applied Research in Workplace E-learning, 1(1), 43-52.DOI: 10.5043/impact.13

Hase, S., & Kenyon, C., (2000), From andragogy to heutagogy. UltiBase Articles, Retrieved from:
http://ultibase.rmit.edu.au/Articles/dec00/hase2.htm

Huesca, R. (2008). Activist media. In W. Donsbach (Ed.), The international encyclopedia of


communication (Vol. 1, pp. 31-33). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Knowles, M. S. (1980). The modern practice of adult education: From pedagogy to andragogy.
Chicago: Follett.

Knowles, M. S. (1984). Andragogy in action.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


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Knowles, Malcolm S. and Associates (1984). Andragogy in action: Applying modern

Lasar, M. (2007).Media activism.In G. L. Anderson & K. Herr (Eds.), Encyclopedia of activism and
social justice (Vol. 3, pp. 925-927). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
principles of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.
Sützl, W. (2011).Medien des Ungehorsams: ZurGeschichtlichkeit von Medienaktivismus. Retrieved
March 11, 2011 from http://www.medienimpulse.at/articles/view/290
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MEDIA AND POLITICS IN MIZORAM:


A CRITICAL APPRAISAL
Lallianchhunga
Asst. Professor

Dept of Pol. Science

Mizoram University, Mizoram

Abstract

Focusing on the emergence of the media in the State, the author first traces the evolution of
the press and the contributions of British administrators and Christian missionaries for its
development. For this purpose, the author looks into the pre-Independence era to find the reasons
for the growth of the media in the then Lushai hills area. He then explores the dynamic role of the
press in the politics of the Lushai hills when the political future of the hill area was being discussed
by the first generation of politicians, and he also examines as to how the press has been responsible
for convincing the political leaders and their followers to accept India, rather than Burma. The
author then focuses on the resurgence of the media as an important tool in the politics of Mizoram
in the 1990s along with many problems encountered by media personnel, and offers suggestions to
make media more effective in ensuring good governance in the State.

Keyword: Media, Press, Politics, Journalists, British administrators, Christian Missionaries,


Political leaders, Mizoram State
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Introduction

In the beginning of the twenty-first century, media has been considered ‗mirror‘ of the
modern democratic society. In fact, media has multiple roles in such democratic society, such as
dissemination of information, educating the masses, providing entertainment and advertisements,
and correlating various parts of the society. The reach and range of media has been so deep and
strong that no society, be it democratic or non-democratic, can function independently from its
influence. The life of the people can also be shaped and molded by the media in such a way that the
political culture of any regime can be strengthened, or manipulated or changed on the basis of the
contents of the media. It is against this background that a study of the relationship between media
and politics in Mizoram has been recognized as an interesting area of research activity. It may be
important to note here that Mizoram becomes the 23rd State of the Indian Union on February 20,
1987 and compared to other neighboring States, it has significantly small literatures on every area
of human activity, though it has its own alphabet from Roman script more than hundred years ago.

The introduction of Mizo alphabets from Roman script was the treasured contribution of two
pioneer Christian missionaries, J.H.Lorain and F.W.Savidge; it led to the reduction of different
Lusei dialects into one language that is now more or less recognized as Mizo dialect which has been
widely spoken and understood throughout Mizoram. Furthermore, the introduction of Mizo
alphabets had made the translations of the Gospel of Luke, John and Acts from the New Testament
of the Bible possible during their short stay in Mizoram. J.H.Lorrain also compiled a Grammar and
Dictionary of the Lushai Language (Lushai into English) in the later part of 1899, which became
one of the first ever literature produced in Mizoram.

Prior to the introduction of Mizo alphabet by the Christian missionaries, the rise of Mizo
community as a single cohesive socio-political unit can be traced back to the year 1890 when the
British annexed the entire Lushai Hills and subsequently introduced landmark changes in the system
of administration. The annexation of the then Lushai hills was necessitated by a series of raiding of
British subjects in the British-India territory by the Mizo Chiefs. The British Expeditions of 1871-
1872 and 1889 were instrumental in annexing the hills. Before annexing the Lushai Hills, the
British administrators had, however, undertaken a survey on the land and the people. Even during
these expeditions, some administrators such as Capt. Thomas Herbert Lewin, Sir George Campbell,
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H.R.Brawne, A.O.Chamberetc conducted a study on the customs, traditions, languages and beliefs
of the Mizovii. Although these books were written in English, yet they provided the earliest sources
available in the Mizo literature and history. The annexation was followed by the coming of
Christian missionaries, who with the help of the then existing literatures on the Mizos began to
introduce Mizo alphabets from the Roman scripts. The Mizos, therefore, are relatively late starters
with regard to the growth of literature.

Growth of Press in the Pre-1950

However, in terms of the birth of magazines, the Mizo community witnessed a period of
unprecedented growth with the introduction of British rule and the arrival of Christianity. Just four
years after the introduction of Mizo alphabets from the Roman scripts, a hand written manuscript
newsletter called MizoChanchinLaisuih came out, and this was published by the British
administrators (Lalthangliana, 2001:586-589). These newsletters were normally sent to the Mizo
Chiefs, and contained orders and instructions of the British administration and stories of Mizo
villages. A monthly magazine popularly known as MizolehVaiChanchinbu(A Magazine of Mizo
and Plain People) was also beginning to publish from the office of the Superintendent under the
aegis of the then Superintendent, Capt. J. Shakespeare from November, 1902 onwards. Capt. J.
Shakespeare edited this monthly magazine, which consisted of 14 pages, and A.R. Gilesuntil 1911
when Makthanga become the editor up to 1936. It is very astonishing that three articles written by
Mizo were included in the first issue of this monthly magazine. This magazine was considered the
windows to the outside world for the Mizo people and various articles published in this monthly
magazine were so informative and educative in nature that it will even outshine articles published in
various newspapers and magazines in Mizoram nowadays. When the publication of this magazine
was stopped in 1941, it had already established itself as the best ever document on the functioning
of the then British administration in Lushai Hills in general and the mindset of the then Mizo in
particular.

Added to this, another monthly magazine called Krista Tlangau(Mizoram Presbyterian


Church, 2011:4) was published by the Presbyterian Church as its mouthpiece from October 1911
onwards. This magazine was renamed as KristianTlangau viii (In English, it literally means
Mouthpiece of Christian) in 1914 and it has become the largest monthly magazine published in the
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state without interruption. When the Central government prohibited the publication of magazines
and newspapers by organizations, which received donations/funds from abroad in 1984, this
magazine was spared due to its uninterrupted continuance. This magazine also contains, since its
first publication in 1911, articles which will help to strengthen the people‘s faith in Christianity and
essays that have educative values for the masses.

Moreover, Thado-KukiKristianChanchinbu (A magazine of Thado-Kuki Christians), 8 pages


monthly magazine was published by Thado-Kuki Christians from Manipur from August 1920.
Salvation Army also published SipaiTlangau, 8 pages monthly magazine from the beginning of
1931 through Lila Printing Works. The Baptist Mission, Serkawn, printed another monthly
magazine called Tlawmngaihna exclusively for the Rover Scout in 1934. This magazine, later
renamed as Robawm carried articles on the selfless sacrifice life of the Mizo and various articles on
character and moral building for the then Mizo youths in particular. Baptist Mission, Lunglei also
published another monthly magazine KohhranBeng, which was exclusively the church organ from
1947. LSAChanchinbu, later changed as MZPChanchinbu in 1947 was also published by Lushai
Students‘ Association (later known as Mizo Students‘ Association) from September 1938 after
every three months. This magazine had become a platform of the rising educated intelligentsias for
expressing their ideas on the future course of Mizo community. Articles and essays published in this
magazine were so influential and educative that several of them are still included in the syllabus of
the high school and college educations in Mizoram.

Liankhuma, Kulikawn from 1939 till the end of the World War II, ran the first ever-weekly
magazine. Although it was only six (6) pages, yet it did provide news of the world to the people.
District Commissioner, Major McCall also published the first daily newspaper in Mizoram during
1939 to 1942. This newspaper was only one page, but it carried orders and news of the government
to the people.

The United Mizo Freedom Organization started the first ever-mouthpiece organ of a
political party on December 6, 1947, more than one and half years after the formation of the first
political party known as Mizo Union on April 9,1946. It was a weekly magazine dedicated for the
promotion of this party‘s interests. H.K.Bawichhuaka, who was one of the then prominent leaders
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of Mizo Union, also edited a weekly magazine called MizoArsi in 1948 for the proliferation of the
interests of his party.

Emergence of Political Consciousness and Growth of Media


Interestingly, the rise of the first and second waves of political consciousness among the
Mizo was partly independent of the growth of media in the state. The first wave of political
consciousness was witnessed in the year between 1882-‘83 when the commoners led a revolt
against their village chiefs who were suppressing and exploiting their people in their day-to-day life.
Although it was suppressed soon because the ‗unity of the common people could not last long‘
(Sangkima, 2004:97) yet it laid the foundation for the rise of consciousness of their rights vis-a vis
the administration of their chiefs. The second wave of political consciousness happened mainly
from the year 1925-1927 led by Telela and his friends who began to question the burdens imposed
by the Mizo Chiefs on their subjects to do their private works. During those periods, imposition of
works on the subjects without paying wages was very common and the subjects had no forums for
redressing their grievances. The British officials were no exception. These were mainly opposed by
Telela and his friends. Although Telela and his friends were severely fined by the British
administrator, Lushai Superintendent N.E.Parry, but due to this agitation he issued new instructions
to the officials and the village chiefs not to impose heavy burdens on the people for pleasing the
officials who came to their village.

The third wave of political consciousness, however, was largely influenced by the growth of
media in the Lushai hills. The emergence of educated intelligent elite class in the 1940s helped the
growth of media which in turn facilitated this class to rise to the top political leaders. Vanlawma (L)
who was nurture on the lap of western liberal education formed the first political party on April 9,
1946 with the permission of the then Lushai Superintendent, Mc Donald. His party was initially
called Mizo Commoners‘ Union, which was later changed into Mizo Union without changing its
policies and objectives. Thus, the first political party was directed against the traditional village
chiefs whose system of governance was twice challenged by their subjects. The party soon becomes
very popular since it was joined by almost all educated elites of that time. These party leaders had
succeeded in convincing the people to accept Mizoram as a part of the newly independent India
than joining Burma. It was these educated elites who successfully used the media for their
advantages and there was no looking back since then.
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The success of the Mizo Union Party on various political debates with other political parties
was mainly due to two reasons. The first reason was its ability to accommodate the rising middle
class elite, which adds to its human resources potential. The second, which is no less important than
the first, was its ability to use the media for its advantages than any other political party at that time.
Mention may be made in this connection that C.Pahlira, who later became one of the top leaders in
Mizo Union Party published a weekly magazine MizoArsi in 1948 as an organ of the party, which
was edited by H.K.Bawichhuaka, another top brass in the party to counteract a war of opinions on
whether Mizos should join India or Burma between Mizo Union and United Mizo Freedoms
Organization (UMFO) party which also ran ZoramThupuan from December 1947. The
MizoArsibecomes instrumental for the victory of the Mizo Union in this war of titans.

Thus, several politicians have used media as a launching pad of their political careerix, which
in turn left a deep impact on the style of news reporting and editorials. In fact, most of the
newspapers and weekly magazines that were published from 1950 to till late1980s were either
mouthpieces of major political parties or showing strong inclinations to one or other political
parties, and privately owned magazines or newspapers were rare during these periods, although it
was not totally absent. This, in the opinion of Zabiaka, a partner in the Newslink English daily
newspaper, was mainly because of the fact that the state experienced 20 years of insurgency, which
put the owners of newspapers and magazines between two sets of combatants, the Indian Army and
the Mizo National Army. Under this situation, independent news reporting would be almost
impossible who feared a backlash either from MNF insurgents or the Indian Armies.

Resurgence and Status of the Press in Mizoram

Resurgence of the press takes place after the signing of peace accord between the
Government of India and MNF in 1986. As of now as shown in Table 1, there are 170 newspapers
and magazines/Journals having RNI registration number in Mizoram. One interesting point here is
that Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, is the hub of all political and, therefore, media activities and it
is in Aizawl that majority of the newspapers and magazines are located. Besides, Aizawl based
newspapers or periodicals have larger circulation in other district headquarters than the largest
circulation of newspapers or periodicals in such district headquarters. But unlike many national
newspapers in India, circulation of newspapers in Mizoram is subscription-based and they are not
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available with street vendors for sale. Although Registrar of Newspapers for India under
Government of India has been used as a source for the number of newspapers and magazines in the
State, its credibility is seriously questionable since there are several newspapers and magazines
having RNI registration number which are no longer published in the State.

Table 1: Number of Newspapers/Magazines etchavingRNI No. in Mizoram (As on


Sept. 2015)

Name of District No. of newspapers/Periodicals

Aizawl 139

Champhai 2

Kolasib 4

Lawngtlai 1

Lunglei 14

Mamit 1

Saiha 9

Serchhip 1

Total 171

Source: http://rni.nic.in/display_state.asp as on 28th Sept, 2015

Information & Public Relations Dept under Governmentt of Mizoram has, however, its own
list of newspapers and magazines (Table 2). This list has been prepared on the basis of recipients of
State Government advertisements.
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Table 2: Number of Newspapers and Magazines by I& PR, Gov‟t of Mizoram

Name of District No. of Newspapers + Magazines

Aizawl 32 + 3

Champhai 9

Kolasib 10

Lawngtlai 7

Lunglei 18 + 2

Mamit 7

Saiha 12

Serchhip 11

Total 106 + 5

Source: I & PR, Government of Mizoram- Oct., 2015

In Table 3, it is evident that there has been concentration of journalists in Aizawl, while the
number of journalists in other towns is significantly low. This has suggested, according to one
journalist, that journalism is not a very attractive profession in district headquarters outside Aizawl
city due to limited circulation, and for this reason, many newspapers are relying on advertisements
from State Government departments as a feeder for their financial resources. Added to this, in this
age of internet many manpower resources are not required to run a single newspapers as news and
information can be collected from multiple sources by a few individuals.

Table 3: Number of MJA members in Mizoram

Name of District No. of MJA Members

Aizawl 107
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Champhai 6

Kolasib 6

Lawngtlai 5

Lunglei 8*

Mamit 6

Saiha 6

Serchhip 6

G.Total

Source: MJA Telephone Directory( http://www.pibaizawl.nic.in/MJA%20Directory.htm on


Sept 28, 2015 )

The most important thing in the establishment of newspaper is the number copies of
circulation. The circulation signifies many things including prestige and status within the State, job
opportunities for educated unemployed and skilled workers. Newspapers having larger circulation
automatically acquire higher prestige and status than newspapers having very limited edition, so
also journalists working under it. In spite of advance in literacy percentage of the State, the
circulation of newspapers remains low. The largest newspaper (Vanglaini) in terms of circulation is
just around 45,000 – 50,000 copies and the next largest (The Aizawl Post) has around 12,000-
18,000 copies. The rest are small in number. Some has only 50-100 copies depending mainly on
government advertisements. Again, despite the State‘s high literacy percentage, readers and
subscribers of English newspapers are small in number. More than 90% of the subscribers are
government departments and readers are mainly government employees and non-Mizo. Even
majority of their news stories are merely translation of the news published in the previous day by
vernacular newspapers. Besides, there are only 3 English newspapers in the State, and one of these
newspapers is being published from Silchar (Assam).

Compared to national level newspapers, newspapers in Mizoram are marginal. Several of


the newspapers are acted as instruments of political parties, even though political parties publish
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their own mouthpiece separately. The difference, however, is that now privately owned newspapers,
weekly magazines and monthly magazines cropped up considerably in the State. Nevertheless, a
matured independent news reporting could not happen quickly as most of editors are not trained
journalists. They normally chose journalism as their profession since they could not get jobs of their
first choice. This has its negative ramification on their profession as a working journalist. While
running their newspapers, they either joined one or other parties with the hope of making quick
success. Several journalists today are enrolled as primary members of the ruling political party so as
to receive advertisements from government departments or for gaining the status of the so called
accredited journalist x which carries lots of benefits for them. Again, this adversely affects the
independent decision making process of the government while distributing government
advertisements and selection of media personnel for accreditationxi.

Even after the onset of worldwide interconnectedness in the state in the second half of the
1990s, media personnel in Mizoram are known for their lack of spirit in their news reporting and
investigation. Only entertainment and sports news have become multiplied in newspapers, weekly
and monthly magazines. The main reason, as one renowned journalist puts it, has been lack of
resources. Despite the improvement in the literacy percentage, the level of subscription remains
relatively low in the State and the owners are unable to hire more number of employees who will be
given separate assignments to collect news, to undertake investigations and to write entertainment
and sports news. The only viable option is to hire those who will be able to do all kinds of
assignments such as news reporting, collecting entertainment and sports news among others.
Compared to media contents in other states, Mizoram is therefore slowly moving behind other
states.

While investigative journalism is essential for exposing corruption and misuse of power at
governmental level, near total absence of investigative journalism in the State has not yet deterred
this malaise. As of now (Sept, 2015), there is hardly any newspaper or weekly magazine doing
investigative journalism by using the Right to Information Act, 2005 and any other form of
investigation. The reason, according to one working journalist, is limited human resources; they are
not in a position to take on this field regularly. In 2006, a weekly magazine called Zozam unearthed
a serious misuse of traveling allowance by several legislators of Mizoram to the tune of several
lakhs of rupees. Without traveling to the places they mentioned in the reimbursement forms, these
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legislators got lakhs of rupees. Even after this exposed, only one MLA had the spirit to return the
money to the Assembly Secretariat. Therefore, in the absence of investigative spirit, the contents of
newspapers in Mizoram are filled with information supplied by State Government departments and
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) pertaining to their activities.

Recent years, however, we have witnessed resurgence in the style of news reporting
amongst the journalists. This has been mainly due to the fact that several freshly educated youths
join journalism as their profession. The reason is lack of job opportunity in the government and
large scale practice of nepotism and favoritism, as a result of which when they get the opportunities
to expose corrupt practices at the governmental level; they do not hesitate without considering its
impacts it might have on them. For instance, in 2007 when weekly magazine, Zoram Today ran a
cover story on the farmhouse of the State‘s Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers, the
backlash is that Printing & Stationery Department owned by State Government stopped the printing
of this magazine‘s covers.

Only a few journalists have been exposed to outside the state. At present, there is only one
PTI correspondent, one stringer for Indian Express and one correspondent for UNI. It is not that this
State does not have news of national importance; rather it is due to lack of/ communication skills
amongst the educated youths to face the challenges of journalism.

One legislator has stated that he and his fellow legislators hardly read national newspapers
and magazines regularly by making lame excuse that they are too busy in their daily life as a
politician from dawn to dusk. Even they admit that they don‘t have enough time to follow local
news and read articles and editorials, and one legislator told this author that he mainly depends on
his personal secretary for important news reporting. This has its adverse impact on the decision
making process of the state. Since they are not aware of how this specific policy has been
implemented in other states, several of the Ministers are solely depend on the bureaucrats, not only
for their advice but also for decision making. This is why several of funds that the State has
received from the Central Government are to be utilized in bureaucratic-oriented manner. The result
is siphoning off of developmental fund before it reaches the people.
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Conclusion

Media has been, however, one of the largest services, perhaps next only to private
educational institutions, outside government service, which provide employment opportunities to
the educated youths in the State. Media has been acted as a ‗safety-valve‘ and eventually checks the
growth of frustration and desperateness amongst the Mizo youths that may encourage them to go
‗the Other Way‘. The introduction of a programme/ columns popularly known as ‗Voice of the
People‘ or ‗Opinion of the People‘ through Mobile SMS, e-mail and letters in all local cable
television channels and various newspapers and magazines has become an important and effective
‗outlets‘ for the Mizo youths to express their grievances against bad governance in the State. The
language is usually aggressive and it is a testimony to the fact that there is a growing sense of
awareness of corrupt practices at various levels among the youths, and this, they put the blame on
the State Government.

The interconnectedness between media and democracy has been well-known since the
introduction of democracy as a form of government and as a way of life in the State of Mizoram.
While democratic paraphernalia are basically essential for the growth and proliferation of media,
media in Mizoram also helps the State Government to undertake introspection of its policies
according to exigencies of time so as to be able to meet the challenges both from within and outside.
The challenges from outside are mainly from the proliferation of national level newspapers and
magazines which is able to provide more number of news items and articles to its local readers,
while the local newspapers are not able to do so. The threats to the media from within come from
the authorities and politicians who are trying to manipulate this democratic agent for promoting
their vested interests. As soon as these authorities and politicians succeed in their objectives, they
began to manipulate the existing democratic instrument and under such circumstances, the contents
of the media are also deliberately controlled so that the people will not be able to read news and
articles which may help them to form an independent judgment on critical political issues. Lord
Acton has long ago remarked, ―Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely‖.

In a small State like Mizoram, media both print and electronic can easily transform itself
into a very powerful democratic institution. Several media personnel are known for their lack of
independent news reporting. This is because of the fact that many media personnel have joined their
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