Second Refresher Course on Media Studies & Governance (Day 6)

Centre for Culture, Media &  Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi (CCMG, henceforth) in collaboration with Academic Staff College, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi conducts and organizes  every year the University Grants Commission Refresher Course  on Media Studies, Culture and Governance for the in-service faculty across the country. The first such RC was organized in February 2013.

The 2nd Refresher Course 2014 on Media Studies and Governance started on 14th January and will continue till 4th February, 2014.

Day 6/ 21 January 2014

As per the RC programme, Prof. Gita Bamezai, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, delivered a lecture on “Health Communication”. Second speaker Dr. Saima Saeed, Associate Professor at Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia spoke  on “Naxalism and Print media”. Then, Sandeep Bhushan, Project Fellow, Tracking Access under Digitalisation Project, Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, gave a talk on “News and the politics of Ethics”.

1st Lecture : Health Communication

???????????????????????????????Prof. Gita Bamezai said, it is difficult to provide health facility to everyone. Here health facility means access to doctor, clinics, hospital, medicines, etc. India has an extreme health facility scenario in terms of health care. One can see here All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi having all kinds of facility and expertise and in other places there are no doctors, clinics, nothing in the name of health facility. Awareness is a key word in health communication. The success of polio immunization programme is all due to the awareness drive on Polio.

If we compare between North India and South India in terms of health awareness then South India is much better than the North. After Independence the health sector has crossed many milestones. DSC08396There has been significant transition in dealing with challenges posed by epidemic diseases, like malaria and tuberculosis. Once deadly, now these diseases are in control and is curable. So far as population is concerned, India has more than one billion of people, but with the advancement of technology in medical sciences in form of vaccines, diagnostic tests, information technology, there is a demographical transition. The rate of fertility has decreased but life expectancy has increased. Urbanization has also affected the health facility both negatively and positively.

???????????????????????????????As it has been stated earlier, it is impossible to provide health care facility to everybody. As the proverb goes, ‘prevention is better than cure.’ In health communication, the stress is on the awareness regarding a disease and its causes. The awareness campaigns by various institutions and agencies have effect on the people’s perception of health. But it is interpersonal communication; (face to face interaction among family members, social groups, doctors, nurses, ASHA workers, etc.) that is more effective. This seems like to have limited resources but it has potential to  have impact and bring changes.

2nd Lecture : Naxalism and the Print Media

???????????????????????????????Dr. Saima Saeed,  Associate Professor at Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia spoke on “Naxalism and the Print media”. She made a comparison of the newspapers and news magazine reports and articles, covering the news on Naxalism. The assassination of Congress Party’s politician V. C. Shukla and Salwa Judum’s founder Mahendra Karma on the 25th of May 2013 attracted attention of the media and the common people at large.

Analyzing the news reportage and editorial pieces in some of the leading newspapers of the country, the talk looked at how the news media are central to creating a certain kind of public opinion on the issue. The frame of conflict and violence was found to be the pre-dominant focus to the obscuring of the development, human rights and the rights of the tribals. This straight-jacketed coverage by the Press tended to over-simplify an otherwise complex issue while resorting to a certain degree of mythification and romanticism of the same.

DSC08431 News texts in their editorializing, politics of sourcing and salience of information failed to act as a countervailing force in so far as to question the use of violence by the State against its own citizens or even to problematize the frame to understand the essential difference in the violence of the strong and the violence of the weak. A Critical Discourse Analysis of some of these ‘texts’ allow us to investigate the relations between media and power on the one hand and the use of media as tools of consensus-generation for the political and capitalist elites on the other.

3rd  Lecture : News and the Politics of Ethics

DSC08428Sandeep Bhushan, Project Fellow, Tracking Access under Digitalisation Project, Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, gave a talk on “News and the politics of Ethics”. He said, there is nothing called as objectivity in journalism. The objectives of journalism is to be a rigorous watchdog of the powerful and influential, to provide wide range of informed views and to avoid deception in facts and permit the truth at the top.

The ethics in journalism are comprised of dos and don’ts. The gatekeeper regulates the flow of information. It has made certain norms within the industry regarding the content and selection of the news items, for example not to show the name of a sexual molestation victim. News is a serious business and it should not be taken as any other products like toothpaste or shampoo. The editors and the reporters once happen to be the core of any news enterprise, but the meltdown of 2008 has devalued their importance. Now the news channels are owned by the big corporate organizations, which regulate the content according to their business and political affiliations.

DSC08430As news channels are driven by advertisements, it is somewhat mandatory for it to run for only sensation-driven news. Earlier there used to be two minute news clips with voiceover in any news feature, now they run any event continuously, without making any analysis of it. A large number of veteran journalists have been shown the outside gate by their media bosses. The young journalists, who have replaced them, just do the talking sans thinking. The notion of ‘Breaking News’ has transformed the journalism into an insensitive profession. A media professional can go to any extent for a scoop, like to manipulate a crowd to assault a lady or to blackmail a politician for extortion. The eclipse of editor and reporter from the galaxy of media has made the news industry into an advertisement business, with news in the gaps.

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