IIMC celebrates 56th Foundation Day with a series of online events on media, social reforms and education

Dhenkanal: Media should act not as an oppressor but conscience keeper of the society. There should be enough emphasis on ethical issues in media education as digital disruptions are causing a paradigm shift in the media. Experts from academia and the industry highlighted such issues during the day-long 56th Foundation Day celebrations of Indian Institute of Mass Communication on Monday, 17 August 2020.

While delivering the Foundation Day lecture on ‘Media and Social Reforms’, organised by IIMC Dhenkanal, Professor Aditya Mohanty of the philosophy department of the Central University of Tripura, said, there is an immediate need to address the people without discrimination, bias and prejudice through the media.

“Information transmitted through media platforms can negatively and positively affect people’s behaviour. Therefore, the media should act as a torchbearer, a beneficiary of society but not an oppressor”. More importantly, society should be well informed adequately about the issues of concern, Prof. Mohanty added.

Professor Sanjay Dwivedi, IIMC Director General, in his opening address, reminded the role of the Institute in media education for a better India. “The whole country is striving to build a great India regardless of the service or the work they do. As a premier communication institute of India, we must also put our efforts to usher the country’s communication system and make the country ‘Shrestha Bharat’,” he said.

Professor Dwivedi also said “On this special day, we started our journey in pursuit of making India as a knowledge centre and our students are excelling in media and media education not only in India but also in other countries. We are proud that our Institute has crafted myriads of media and communication officers”.

Professor Mrinal Chatterjee, Regional Director, IIMC, Dhenkanal, welcomed the guests saying, “IIMC Dhenkanal has been observing the foundation day of Institute every year since 1993, the year the Eastern Indian campus was established. Given the Covid-19 pandemic situation, there was no gathering on the campus this year. All the events are being conducted online. However, we thought it important to discuss two very pertinent issues related to media: its role in social reforms and the media education in changing scenario.”

Media Education in the Digital Age

In the afternoon session, an online panel discussion on ‘Media Education in Digital Age’ was held as 2020 marks the centenary year of media education in India.

Giving special attention to the spread of ‘fake news’ in the digital age, Prof. BP Sanjay, former director of IIMC said, “Digital technology has become a hub for fake news, and many of the journalists have not been able to filter and recognise the fake news in this breaking news era of the media industry. To do so, media educational institutes should teach the budding journos on how to disseminate the well-checked facts rather than disseminating all and media ethics”.

Monideepa Banerjie, executive editor (East) of NDTV talked about the range of issues that present media industry and media educational institutions have been facing in this digitised world. She said, “While we say ‘Content is the King’, the ‘queen’ is the speed. Young journalists should be taught how to sift through Information and bring out the fact with speed.”

Talking about the earlier days of theory and practical methods of teaching
Prof. Ujjwala Barve, SPP University, Pune shared her experience of teaching then and now in the digital age. “Now, because of the development of digital technology, students are more equipped with modern devices and techniques. Media teachers are equally able to concentrate on teaching theory, ethics and hands-on training”.

Prof. Ankuran Dutta, Guwahati University, focused on the role of media educators, learners and how the media academicians should act to compete with the emerging digital journalism world. He also said, “Media educational institutes should give more emphasis on digital storytelling, digital news production, artificial intelligence courses in news production and dissemination.”

The panel discussion was moderated by Sambit Pal, assistant professor of IIMC Dhenkanal.

New National Education Policy and Media Education

Amit Khare, secretary, higher education and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, delivered the Foundation Day lecture from Delhi in the afternoon. He elaborated on the New Education Policy 2020 and stressed on the active role IIMC should take in collaboration with the state universities in formulating new course of action and syllabus in media education in the country. IIMC should take the lead in networking with the state universities in formulating new media curriculum, development of faculties, growing relations with the professionals from the industry and other disciplines, he said.

Explaining the Prime Minister’s vision of encouraging activity-based learning focusing on critical thinking, Mr Khare highlighted the importance of internship of the students in the media houses and better interactions between the Press Information Bureau and the media schools.

Monograph on Agriculture Journalism Released

Dr Mrinal Chatterjee, Regional Director, IIMC Dhenkanal released a monograph titled ‘IIMC Monograph 24 Agriculture Journalism’ to mark the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) declared by the United Nations. Professor Chatterjee co-edited the volume with assistant professor of the Institute Dr Jyoti Prakash Mohapatra.

On releasing the monograph, Dr Mrinal Chatterjee said, “Earlier, the newspapers published a great deal of news about agriculture and its allied activities. But over time, even though agriculture is the backbone of India, the publication of agriculture news has declined”. In this regard, we have tried to send a message to the media not to forget the agricultural sector in reporting”. said Dr Chatterjee.

The monograph contains 27 articles, including research articles, essays and semi-academic essays written by the journalists, media academicians and research scholars. It is a bilingual monograph, and the pieces are in English and Odia.

IIMC Dhenkanal Regional Director, Professor Mrinal Chatterjee announced a series of online panel discussions on the occasion of bi-centenary birth anniversary of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the celebration of Odia daily Samaja and Marathi newspaper Muknayaka. IIMC will hold photography and visual storytelling workshop in December and Filmi Chakkar, a three-day online conference on Biopics, film appreciation workshop, mobile film making contest and an exhibition in January next year. A session will be dedicated to great filmmaker Satyajit Ray on his birth centenary.