Dhenkanal: Pratikshya Mohapatra and Nidhi Giri of Odia and the English journalism batch of 2021-2022 received the prestigious Radhanath Rath and Satya Mohapatra Fellowship Award today at IIMC Dhenkanal. Eminent educator, Professor Santanu Sar, former dean of Anugul Government Autonomous College, was present as the chief guest who handed over the awards to the respective recipients. He also delivered a brief lecture on the topic of ‘media and democracy.’
“Two Cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three,” remarked Santanu Sara, quoting the English fiction writer, essayist, and librettist E. M. Forster. Speaking on the role of Media, he said, “Media and democracy, they supplement each other. Failure of media is the failure of democracy. Erosion of press freedom is both the symptom and contributing factor in the decline of democracy.”
Prof. Sar then went on to discuss ‘Jasmine revolution’ and the ‘Arab Spring uprisings’ in-depth, emphasising the critical role that social media may play in overthrowing oppressive regimes and restoring democratic principles. In his concluding remarks, Prof. Sar said, “Now every citizen can play the role of a journalist. Through social media, and blogging sites, citizens are able to express their voices and expressions. The media’s freedom will be inviolable for the long-term development of a nation, and democracy will be enhanced only via the combined efforts of the government, the media, civil society, and non-governmental organisations.”
Addressing everyone present at the venue, the regional director of IIMC, Prof. (Dr.) Mrinal Chatterjee said, “The idea and values of democracy are going through a tumultuous phase right now. It is important to discuss ‘media and democracy’ today. Democracy in our neighbouring states like Sri Lanka and Pakistan can be described as a failure of both democracy and the media. When it comes to the media, the fourth pillar of democracy, I am convinced that profit should not take precedence above ethics.” He went on to stress the need for a free press that spoke truth to power and addressed the concerns of the people.
Later, Sri Santanu Sar interacted with the students and responded to their inquiries. The presentation ceremony was attended by the students as well the teaching and non-teaching staff of IIMC Dhenkanal. Section Officer Kedarnath Jena, Assistant Professor Hari Krishna Behera, Curriculum Coordinator Jitendra Pati, Technical Coordinator Badreenath Jena, Librarian Shubhankari Das, Academic Associate Abhishek Roy, and Academic Assistant Padmalochan Pradhan were present at the ceremony. Assistant Professor Bhavna Acharya delivered the vote of thanks.