Maadhyam 2013, National Media Festival organised by the Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad to commemorate the silver jubilee of the Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication. The festival was inaugurated on 1st March 2013
The event started with the unveiling of the new logo of the School by Professor Vinod Pavarala, the former Dean of the School and UNESCO Chair for Community media in the C.V. Raman auditorium on the University campus.
This was followed by the launch of the Silver Jubilee Special of the “UoH Dispatch” a student lab journal of the Department of Communication, S.N.School.
Dr. Usha Raman, Head, Department of Communication gave the welcome address and later opened the floor for panel discussion, which was led by prominent personalities.
Sevanti Ninan, a columnist based in New Delhi writing on media for The Hindu and the Hindustan and founder-editor of The Hoot.org set the panel for discussion with her talk on “the culture of business media and the culture of media business” where she spoke about the business ownerships and the various perspectives of news coverage by the media. “Fear of losing advertising often leads to self-censorship, she said speaking on the ethical aspects of news reporting and what tends to be the motivator for most organizations to implement a self-censorship policy. She quoted from her experiences of running the Hoot and often being on the receiving end of criticism for indulging in ethical journalism.
The talk’s preceding the panel discussion was roughly based around the issue of self-censorship and ethical practises in journalism. Sevanti Ninan was followed by Vinod K. Jose, an award-winning journalist who is currently the Executive Editor of The Caravan (magazine) published from New Delhi.
“Media is a part of the society and is like any other profession where corruption is bound to occur at both individual and institutional level. Private treaty and paid news are some such inherent practices that have been gaining popularity in the recent years. And this calls for a larger debate on the ethics of the media and its framework,” said Jose speaking on the corruption at the individual and institutional levels.
T. S. Sudhir, former resident editor of the NDTV (South) while speaking on the constraints of media freedom of a television journalist said, “The aura around a journalist is disappearing and the profession seems less noble than it was seen few years ago. There is also a great fall in the number of young aspirants to take up television journalism in the recent past, which could possibly be due to the ownership patterns that the media has been witnessing.” Also speaking on the growing popularity of the social media he said that, “For every solution there is a problem in the social media, which although the most democratic platform gets the attention of only few people while the rest keep reflecting these popular opinions.” Sudhir concluded saying that “social media is the journalism of the day.”
Taking the subject further ahead but narrowing its perspective, Subbu Vincent, the founder of “Citizen Matters” a magazine published from Bengaluru stated that the focus of the mainstream media on the National news form a Delhi based perspective tends to reduce the impact the media has on its people which is partially responsible for its reducing credibility in the eyes of the common man. He emphasised on the need for a citizen or local based news coverage. “Citizen Journalism helps people to keep in touch with what is happening on the ground. However, this never has revenues from readers and has limited advertising revenues which makes its survival difficult.”
Speaking last before opening the panel for disscussion was Paromita Vora, a documentary film maker and writer. Speaking on the broad topic of “freedom and unfreedom” in the media context, she stated that, “it is necessary to create a culture of critic and free space for art.”
This was followed by a series of events like the short film screening competition “ON REEL” a pre-entry event that managed to attract many young film makers from across the country. Followed by a radio talent hunt event called “Flaunt your Frequency” organised in association with the Radio City 91.1 FM, which is an on the spot registration event.
The second part of the celebrations would take place on 2 March 2013, Saturday, which has several other events and competitions lined up to attract, entertain and educate the students.