The second day of the two day international conference – ‘India at Leisure: Media, Culture and Consumption in the New Economy’ – organized by the Centre for Culture, Media & Governance (CCMG), Jamia Millia Islamia, India, and School of Arts, University of Waikato, New Zealand, discussed various issues ranging from the role of media in generating revenue by promoting pilgrimage tours to the challenges faced by the journalists.
Speaking on ‘Religion, Communication and Political Economy in India: Contextualising “Gospel for Asia’, Dr Pradip Thomas lectured on how religion, being an institution in itself, is being treated differently from a corporate institution which leads to financial mismanagement and lack of transparency as well as accountability. It becomes difficult to get any financial or some other data from a religious body. His case studies on ‘Gospel for Asia’ and ‘Believers Church Kerala Diocese’ present an important component of their financial sustainability in the solicitation of funds and asset management strategy with other organizations. Appreciating its work, he said that the website of Gospel for Asia keeps on changing very frequently at a professional level. They broadcast radio programmes in many languages. To train the native missionaries has been one of the major strategies of GFA. In 2010-11, GFA received around 81.7 crores of foreign funds.
Prof Padmaha Shaw spoke on ‘Your faith, My Power? Political significance of religious channels’. She spoke on the changing impact on Hindu religion owing to the pivotal role played by the different kind of Indian media. Mentioning the popularity gained by Baba Ramdev, she said that Birendra Brahmchari was the first yoga guru who appeared on television and became a face of each door. She appreciated the analysis of the impact of Ramayana on Indian politics done by Arvind Rajgopal. It allowed the Hindu nationalism to provide a range of Hindu rhetoric inside and outside the political sphere. On the widespread superstitions and mal-practices, she remembered DD Kosambi’s statement that Indian traditions combine religion with love and sex (more precisely, sex with superstitions).
Religion plays an important role in social transition. Travel and tourism recognizes the new consumerist values in the large middle classes’ life style is leisure travel.
Information about religious events and pilgrims centres coming through television and other media has largely contributed to channeling the flow of pilgrims to holy places. The money spent on it is considered well spent and it adds value to the nation’s economy.
An Assistant Professor at the Sikkim Central University and a pursuant of PhD from Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Milia Islamia, Manoj Das threw some light on the journalistic approach and the media’s significant role in giving the funeral of Sathya Sai Baba a status of national grief.
Dr Ratnakar Tripathy, senior research fellow at ADRI, addressed the panel about his research on The music entrepreneur and his economic environment’. From a comparative research done in Bihar and Haryana, he presented some common findings in Bihar and Haryana. Despite the immense growth of recording and replicated technologies, the mainstay of the industries lies on the live shows as far as the artists are concerned in both the states. The music company doesn’t share the revenue with the artist. Bagging the opportunities to perform live is the chief concern of the artists in Bihar as well as Haryana. Among 4000 artist in Bihar, around 45-50 percent are dependent on is earnings from music.
Speaking on ‘Mobile phones & multimedia consumption among users of limited technological access’, Rashmi M, a doctoral student in the School of Social Sciences, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. Added to a just mode of communication, the mobile phones also has data storage technology, data transfer protocols (Bluetooth), Mobile packet data technology, which provides an unprecedented access to media content. The socio-economic access to media has been changed. While comparing the easy access of computer from mobile, she said that computer requires more literacy and the knowledge of English while mobile, being a graphic user interface, it is easier to work with. The time of cds and dvds has been replaced by the downloading and sharing through Bluetooth and whatsapp applications.
An Associate Professor at the School of Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Studies, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Dr Babu Ramesh addressed the panel on ‘Dissecting the Job Insecurities of Print and Television Journalists. He shared the outcomes of his exploratory study based on the interviews of the journalists across the NCR region from the English as well as Hindi dailies which is supplemented with secondary source of information. Dividing the journalists in two categories, first being the In-house journalists and the other the stringers, he explored the different issues and problems such as low paid salaries, job insecurities, immense pressure for collecting saleable news faced by them. He ended with a quote that media sector is booming at the cost of worsening labor standards.
In her presentation on “Twenty-first century labour: Globalization and production crews in mumbai’s media industries” Sunitha Chitrapu of Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai, explored the changes wrought by globalization to Mumbai’s film and television industry labour using the frame work of the political economy. According to her, globalization has different effects on different parts of the labour force reducing the amount of work that some members of the labour force such as sessions musicians have access to. The internationalizing effect of globalization with its emphasis on the use of English and more western ways of doing things privileges workers who are able to bring this kind of social capital to the table thereby bringing in more middle class female workers into areas such as assistance in direction.
Senior Lecturer at Curtin University of Perth , Dr. Scott Fitzgerald spoke on “Professional logics, industrial relations and the markets for news media”. He began with a review of the series of high profile dismissals and resignations of editors and journalists in the run up to and election of the Narenda Modi government and the formation of the 16th Lok Sabha in May 2014. In his effort to assess changes in the diversity of professional logics, he tried to reconcile a framework premised on institutional logics with one based on a labour process approach.
The fourth and final session of the day, chaired by Prof S V Srinivas, a Professor at Azim Premji University, Bangalore, threw some light on how the role of advertisement has been changing in the television as well as other media.
Dr Sathya Reddy, an expert in documentary film making, came with his case study on ‘Advertising practices and the making of regional newspaper markets: Andhra Patrika, 1914-1920’. Considering the 58 advertisements from the Andhra Patrika from June 1914 to December 1916, he said most of the advertisements were of medical commodities.
In her presentation on “Consuming the environment: Missing media narratives on food and climate change”, Dr. Radhika Mittal discussed the mediated representation of food as a consumptive practice in the context of climate change and environmental sustainability. She examined whether prevalent newspaper discourses in India frame the link between food practices and climate change through an analysis of reportage in three English-language newspapers of record, namely The Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Indian Express.