Media Should Work in a Mission Mode to Bring about a Positive Change in Society: Javadekar

October 28, 2014

New Delhi: Media’s biggest strength is that it can shape public opinion and biggest weakness is that it falls prey to sensationalism, stated Hon’ble Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Shri Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday at IDSA, in a recorded message for the inaugural session of the 8th South Asia Dialogue on ‘The Role of Media in Promoting Regional Understanding in South Asia’. Media should work in a mission mode to bring about a positive change in the society, he held.

The two-day Dialogue is organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). It will conclude on October 29, 2014.

Delving into the state of journalism in South Asia in particular, Shri Javadekar said that the biggest challenge before the Media in the subcontinent is to understand whether it is in sync with societal thinking and to assume a proactive role for bringing about a positive change in the society.

Journalism is a responsible mission and the role of Media in the total renaissance of society is important, said the Minister. Quoting eminent jurist, Late NaniPalkhivala that ‘India’s illiterate intelligence is more powerful than the educated incapacity’, he urged the Media to act as a catalyst for change.

Insisting that it has a definitive role in promoting regional understanding, the minister urged the Media to go beyond ad revenues, TRPs and circulations and commit itself towards betterment of the society and be ready to fight for a cause. He urged media to manage sensibility issues delicately, while projecting relations between nations, adding that every country has its own issues, problems, weaknesses and strengths and their sensibilities. The Media should be respectful towards these, he stated.

The speakers at the dialogue acknowledged that while Media has grown in South Asia in the last five to seven years, due to growth in democratic processes, its role in regional cooperation and understanding is still limited. Neighbourhood is not given due coverage, they insisted. However, they agreed that the Media still has a formidable role, despite this lacuna, adding that governments on their part should facilitate movement of journalists across borders to foster greater coordination among regional Media. The Media on its part should avoid negative portrayal of neighbours, they concluded.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Deputy Director General, IDSA, Brig Rumel Dahiya (Retd) while setting the agenda for the dialogue, advocated for maximising the potential of Social Media and digital journalism.

The IDSA publication, ‘The Unfinished War in Afghanistan: 2001-2014,’ authored by IDSA scholar Mr Vishal Chandra was also released on the occasion.

The South Asia Dialogue is an annual event, organised by the IDSA. Since the countries in the South Asian region not only share many features of governance and structures, but also face similar challenges. The successive South Asia Dialogues have attempted to engage policy makers, scholars and grassroots activists to dialogue on key concerns with the objective to achieve sustainable peace and security in the region through mutual understanding.

The dialogue provides an opportunity for policy makers, academics, civil society actors and young professionals from the whole South Asian region to come together and share their views on issues of common interest.