NOIDA: Day 2 of ICAN 5 witnessed an enriching Master Class by Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury, Adviser & Professor, Daffodil International University, Dhaka on the topic ‘Inclusivity in South Asian Media: Cases from India, Nepal, and Bangladesh’.
Prof. Chowdhury talked about the concept of inclusivity in the social context and called it a necessity rather than a desire. He remarked, “We are all minorities in one or the other part of the society and stressed the need for building relationships between different communities.”
Outlining the role of media, he emphasized on the lack of inclusive and experimental content in all forms. “Just like political parties have their vote banks as the targets, media houses have their specific audience as targets; and hence they remain restricted to specific content they create and the kind of representations that are made,” he stated.
The senior academician with his vast experience in the field very categorically mentioned how social inclusion can be achieved through shared experiences, advocacy, and a sense of identity. He quoted several cases including UNICEF’s effort in training Indian journalists.
Prof. Chowdhury cited examples from Indian, Bangladeshi, and Nepalese media to draw comparisons in terms of media ownership and content. “Nepal is a much smaller country than India but with a much larger number of private FM channels.” He specifically noted the ban on private radio channels for broadcasting news as something undesirable.
Prof Chowdhury made some concrete suggestions to strengthen inclusiveness in media. He specified that media must focus on public issues to fulfil its responsibility of development communication; remain wary of spreading false content; and have newsrooms with a diverse population. “Vernacular media is particularly isolated from diversity. This creates gaps in representations of other communities.”
Dr Ambrish Saxena, Professor and Dean, DME Media School & Convener, ICAN 5 appreciated Prof Ujjwal K Choudhary’s effort in highlighting such an important issue of contemporary times.
Towards the end of the session, Dr Susmita Bala, Professor and Head, DME Media School and Chief Associate Convener, ICAN 5 said that unless we understand inclusiveness, we will not be able to progress. “Inclusiveness will come when we don’t discriminate, respect each other,” she added.
Technical Session I
Earlier the day began with Technical Session I on the theme ‘Gender neutrality, sexuality, and representation of women and the other sex’. Dr Shaheena Ayub Bhatti, Director, Women Research and Resource Centre, Fatima Jinnah Women’s University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan was the chairperson of the session. Ms Sukriti Arora, Assistant Professor, DME Media School co-chaired the session.
Dr Ambrish Saxena in the opening remarks said, “Discussion on gender issue should be taken up regularly to sensitize the society. It is good to have a dialogue on this theme in ICAN 5.”
A total of seven presentations were made during the session. Some of the topics were Gender Neutrality: Breaking stereotypes of gender biases in Indian society, Exploring Sexuality of Women in Media and Queer Representation in Indian Media.
After the presentations, Dr Shaheena while gave valuable recommendations to the scholars. “The work done by all the researchers was noteworthy,” she applauded. She also thanked the organising committee of ICAN for putting up such wonderful themes which are the need of the hour.
Paper titled ‘Exploring Sexuality of Women in Media’ by Dr Namrata Joshi, Associate Professor and Head Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, RC GNDU Jalandhar was awarded as the best paper of the session.
In the end, Dr Susmita Bala said, “It is encouraging to note that UG/PG students are coming forward for presenting the papers. While planning ICAN, we decided to create space so that future researchers could be prepared.”
*Technical Session II*
Then ICAN 5 proceeded with Technical Session II on the theme ‘Education and Health in Digital Era: Impact of Online on Women and Youth’. It was chaired by Dr Pallavi Majumdar, Professor, Royal Thimphu College, Bhutan. Mr Pramod Kumar Pandey, Assistant Professor, DME Media School co-chaired the session.
In his opening remark, Dr Ambrish Saxena said that with every new edition of ICAN, DME Media School is trying to take a step ahead. “We have incorporated all the major issues of media and society in ICAN 5.”
Research papers on topics like Women’s Media Literacy about TikTok App: A study of Beijing and Hubei Province, Effect of online Education on Mental Health of Students and Awareness and Education and Communication about Menstrual Hygiene between Parents and Teenagers were discussed during the session.
Ms Zishan Zeng and Ms Xinke Yao, Renmin University of China were awarded as the best paper presenters for their research titled Women’s Media Literacy about TikTok App: A study of Beijing and Hubei Province.
After the presentations, Dr Majumdar gave additional tips and suggestions to all the researchers and anticipated that research findings would benefit society at large. She praised the efforts of the scholars in bringing out the new dimensions of Education and Health in the Digital Era.
Dr Susmita Bala while concluding the session expressed her happiness over the fact that everybody learned a lot from the valuable discourse.
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