MedIndia - Overall report
Students of the Department of Media Sciences, Anna University, are ecstatic as the two day inter-collegiate seminar on media, "MedIndia", jointly organized by them and 'Yuva Shakthi', a youth welfare association, went on successfully with the active participation of students from more than 10 colleges. The two day seminar, which focused on enriching the journalism aspirants about the basic ethics and commandments that a journalist should abide, was conducted on 13th and 14th September at IRS auditorium, Anna University.
The participants witnessed the presence of many dignitaries in the media field as chief guests.
Dr. I. Arul Aram, Head of Department, Mr. Shanmugavel, Registrar and Ms. Vijayanthi, a member of ‘Yuva Shakthi’ were present during the inauguration ceremony. Dr. Arul Aram delivered a short address to the students on how media people can boldly question a government of its shortcomings. “Even the famous President Richard Nixon couldn’t escape from the unbiased eyes of the media. He was first exposed for his Watergate scandal by Washington post. The point to be noted is that the two journalists, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who brought out the scandal to light, were like you, young”, he said. Mr. Shanmugavel who took the podium next stressed on how extra-responsible a journalist should be in a multicultural society like in India, for media being the fourth pillar of Democracy. Ms. Vijayanthi pointed out some of the mistakes done and being done by media, and told that whenever the pens bow down, the truth must stay high and strong.
The day 1 events began with the inaugural address of Mr. Bala Kailasam, Creative Head of ‘Puthiya Thalaimurai’ TV Channel. He addressed the students about the power of media and gave a new perspective to what journalism is. “A good journalist should not have a polarized perception or prejudice on any issue”, he exclaimed. “It’s not about whether you are for left or for right, or whether you are for good or for evil. Only when we see through both eyes, depth is created. So we have to accept both the positions and see the world through both of it”.
Mr. V. Jayanth, Senior Associate Editor of ‘The Hindu’ gave a brief overview on Indian media industry. He explained about the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) and the circulation figures estimated by ABC. He was worried about the increasing paid news culture that has been infiltrating in almost every media firm. He also showed a statistical report on how much money has been invested in media for advertisements, and to what extent it would increase in the near future. “It is estimated that 100 million Indians are active users of internet with the usage of 16 hrs/week/individual. Indian media is one of the fastest growing media field in Asia and it is still independent, that’s the beauty”, he added.
Mr. Stalin Gunasekaran, Convenor of Makkal Sindhanai Peravai, remembered the role played by Indian media during the freedom struggle, and told about the activities and actions done by popular journalists of Tamil Nadu like Subramania Bharathi, G. Subramania Iyer, at that time.
Prof. P. Sharon Senthilkumar, from Loyola Arts college presented a brief lecture on Alternative Cinema, and listed out the various cine-revolutions that happened around the globe. “Cinema is not what we think cinema is, it’s not one that contains five songs, two duets, three fight sequences and a comedy track. Cinema is how effectively the pain of the under-privileged people is passed over visually to the audience, and bring about a positive social change”. He also pointed out some of the notable film makers of India, like Mahendran, Dadasaheb Phalke, Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Balu Mahendra and Bharathiraja, and some of the recent Tamil movies that bring hope to the thought of how the future of Tamil Cinema would be, such as Vengayam, Kalavani, Madhubaana Kadai, Aranya Kandam, Atta Kathi and Vazhaku en 18/9.
Prof. I. Parveen Sultana from JBAS College for Women spoke about the portrayal of women in media. She made the students understand how women are looked as not more than just an object for men, and taught how the future generation should have an equal mindset about both the sexes. “Women have their own language, but who are the speakers ? Again men are portrayed as the one who are ready to give equal right to women. Who are them to give that ? We have the right and we take it !”, she exclaimed.
The day 1 events were concluded with an Adzap competition that was conducted between the students from various colleges. Ms. Lakshmi Subramanian, Principal correspondent of ‘The Week’ judged the performance of the students under various topics, based on the conceptual relevance, depth of the content and their creativity.
On the second day too the students were as energetic and enthusiastic as on the first day. Mr. Siva Prasanna Kumar from 'Puthiya Thalaimurai' addressed the students about the various challenges faced by media persons. “The development of technology has minimized the deadlines. Every minute is a deadline now. It’s not about the question of challenges, but the question of how alert you are in updating whatever that happens around you every second”, he said.
Mr. G.C. Shekhar, associate editor of ‘The Telegraph’ taught how to analyze the news we gather, and how to reason it. “A journalist should keep on asking the question ‘Why ?’. ‘Why this happened ? Why is he doing so ?’ These questions will lead you to logical reasoning with the aid of past happenings. The only thing is that you must not be prejudiced about anything or anyone before gathering news”, he told the students.
A debate was conducted between the students under the topic, ‘Media – A business institution or social institution’. It was moderated by Mr. S. Ramanathan, reporter in Times Now TV Channel. He concluded the debate by not taking any sides at the end. “I don’t know whether it is a business institution or a social institution. That’s how this debate can possibly end, because media is whatever people expect it to be for them. It depends on how you view it”, he clarified his stand.
Another competition called creative concepting was conducted between the students. Ms. B. Jayashree, Development officer at UNICEF, and Mr. R. Niranjan Bharathi, asst. editor of ‘Puthiya Thalaimurai’ TV channel were the judges. The students presented their thoughts in the form of articles and presentations.
Ms. Lakshmi Subramanian then handled the session on media achievements. She proudly told the students how very big scams and scandals were exposed to public by media. She also appreciated the works of journalists like Chitra Subramaniam, Arun Shouri, N. Ram, Manoj Joshi, and Malini Parthasarathy. “During the investigation of Bofors scandal, Chitra Subramaniam was pregnant. Such was her dedication in her work”, she praised. She then briefly narrated how the scams and scandals like Bofors scam, cement scam, Jail commission report in ‘India Today’ in 1997, Tehelka’s report about Mr. Bangaru Laxman in 2001, and 2G scam were investigated by journalists and brought them to light. “Media’s role especially in bringing the 2G scam to light is commendable”, she exclaimed. “Only because of media’s strong exposure of the scam to the public, the supreme court reacted quickly in this issue”, she added.
The valedictory address was given by Mr. Thamizharuvi Manian, President of Gandhiya Makkal Iyakkam. Evidently, his talk on ‘Media Dharma’ seemed to have greatly inspired the students, by their heavy applauses. “Historically you are lacking”, he claimed. “Only if you know the background and history of any issue, you can have a clear, unbiased perception towards it. History is not only about knowing about great kings and kingdoms centuries ago, but also about the incidents that happened the previous day. Knowledge has limits, only ignorance is limitless. Therefore you need to be updated about the things that happen around you”, he continued. “Truth lies in between, not on the line. Be truthful, be brave. You are the watch guards, like a gardener without whom the garden gets inhabited by weeds, like a shepherd without whom the herd cannot be controlled. These are the essential commandments of media dharma”, he said.
Throughout the seminar the students actively interacted with the chief guests and had their queries answered. Mementos were jointly presented to the dignitaries by the Department of Media Sciences and ‘Yuva Shakthi’. The feedback forms issued by ‘Yuva Shakthi’ witnessed positive response from the students. Certificates and prizes were distributed to all the students. “It was a highly anticipated programme both for us and the Media Sciences Department”, Mr. Shridhar said. “It’s always good to have our hard work rewarded, isn’t it ?”.