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Dr. I. Arul Aram's Speech in MedIndia

Dr. I. Arul Aram
Head of Department
Department of Media Sciences
Anna University, Chennai

“First of all, I’m really proud to say that I handle a bunch of journalism aspirants as a Head of Department, because the term journalism do have an attractiveness, even while imbibing itself the quality of being a little bit cautious than the other fields. I handle a bunch of future journalists who are already well in terms with the fact that journalism is the fourth pillar of Democracy. I always advise my students about objectiveness – what you are really going to do, feasibility – how you are going to do, and reflexivity – shaping yourselves from your past experiences. At present Journalism in India faces multiple perceptions from people coming from various social/economic backgrounds and with various ideologies. Now with the social media at full pace, it’s possible for anybody to pass a comment about anything simply by sitting in front of a monitor and tapping the keyboard. So you need to be extra cautious on how you work. Don’t you wonder at me, don’t you feel why such a prelude is given to you ? What’s more in journalism other than what we study ? I’ll tell you."

"Do you know who you are and what you can do ? If any ordinary citizen who can boldly question the government’s shortcomings at present, he/she can be a media person. There’s a wide range of good deeds you can do to your society, by not reporting paid news, involving in bribery, etc. I already told about the different perceptions on media, now, first what do you think about media ? What is your take on it ? No view is completely wrong or completely right. It’s just completely clear or unclear. So whatever be your view about media, just be clear and be aware of it. That’s an attribute of a good journalist. Secondly there is a thought that media now is not the old one it used to be, that it became more business oriented and biased. I would say that is the point of despair. It should not be present in youth people like you. We had our lives, we senior media persons may have whatever emotional point of view about the past, present and future of media, as each of us had our own set of experiences, rises and falls, and we may or may not lose hope, but not you, not the young bloods."

"You should learn to keep your mind open. Don’t be biased or prejudiced. Accept all the viewpoints, analyze them and take whichever point is relevant for you. It’s not the age to lose faith in anything, in your case, in media. It’s the age to plant some faith in the minds of people. So be bold, accept the shortcomings and think of the remedies, that’s what young people like you are supposed to do. You can even consider it as a duty, I shall say."

"Do you know the famous Watergate scandal ? As aspiring journalists you should be aware of such revolutionary exposures by media. The illegal action the then US President Richard Nixon committed was so unexpected that the exposure forced him to step down. Even the famous President Nixon couldn’t escape from the unbiased eyes of the media. The point to be noted here is that Nixon had a very good name amidst the US citizens, but the way the scandal was exposed with all the evidences made the public listen to the media. That is the power of it. Another important point especially for you is that the two ‘Washington Post’ journalists, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who brought out the scandal to light, were like you, young. What made them to achieve ? What is the difference between them and you ? Why not you ? I leave the thought to you."

"You would have heard about disaster reporting, for example, reporting the catastrophe after the Bhopal gas leak and 2004 Tsunami. There is another term called precaution reporting, through which you can create an awareness among the people who are vicinal to any site that require safety measures to be carried out. You can bring the safety protocols to light and question whether they are followed and regulated often. Such reports reaching the people will make them equip themselves with the basic knowledge about what’s exactly happening around them as a civilian, and make them mentally armed to face any unfortunate accidents."

"Here we have ‘Yuva Shakthi’ with us which ardently follows Swami Vivekananda. He said, ‘Give me hundred men of steel and I will change the world’. Try to be one among that hundred which Swami Vivekananda dreamt to lead."


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