The Vice Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Prof K. G. Suresh, Monday said the new age digital media has empowered the citizenry to the extent that they are now setting the news agenda, earlier done by the mainstream media organizations, comprising print and electronics.
“Technology has completely revolutionized the media. The content hasn’t changed that much, but the digital media including popular social networking sites of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram has democratized the media content and become a powerful tool for the people to raise their voice, share their thoughts and opinions about contemporary issues and reach out to the power corridors without any hindrance,” Prof K. G. Suresh said while delivering his keynote address on the theme “Media In the Digital Age: Challenges and Opportunities,” during the inaugural ceremony of the 5-day Induction Programme for the freshers, organised by the Department of Convergent Journalism (DCJ) Central University of Kashmir (CUK) at Tulmulla Campus.
Prof Suresh said that through social media, an individual can reach out to millions of people, including those holding powerful positions, across the world and put forth his point of view on diverse and contentious issues.
“Dynamics have changed as earlier the mainstream media owned by few big media houses used to decide the contents to be aired, but now even a road side vendor or a rickshaw puller can produce instant content in the form of videos and photographs on his smartphone and share the same to the millions across the world, thus challenging the mainstream media,” he said.
Prof Suresh said people have started breaking news on the social media platforms and even the news channels have started monitoring the social media posts to gather the news. He however cautioned that some vested interests and divisive forces were misusing the digital media to create divide among the people by uploading hate speeches and morphed videos and pictures.
“The need of the hour is to fact check all the contents available on the social media before being forwarded,” he said, adding that Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University has started a full-fledged media literacy programme to counter the misinformation and disinformation campaigns launched by the certain vested interests, trying to create disharmony.
Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chancellor, CUK, Prof. Mehraj ud Din Mir hailed the DCJ for organizing the induction programme and said the media has and is playing a pivotal role in highlighting the problems and grievances of people across the country, through “objective” reportage. He said the social media has now provided a huge platform to the media professionals to produce and showcase their content, not only to the local populace, but to the people across the world. Prof. Mehraj ud Din Mir however also identified the negative aspects associated with the social media. He said that the credibility of the social media is at stake as certain individuals in order to gain fame and earn quick buck are disseminating the information or the news without even checking the facts. He asked the students to grab the opportunity vis-à-vis working on social media platforms in order to carve a niche for themselves in the field.
Addressing the gathering, Registrar, Prof. M Afzal Zargar, said the induction programmes will give a detailed insight to the students about the department and the university. He said the students would be provided all the basic facilities and all possible support during their stay in the university. “The university has maintained its academic and examinations calendar, despite several constraints,” he said and appreciated DCJ for their innovative ideas for teaching, learning and evaluation besides offering new courses in tune with the requirements of the industry.
Speaking on the occasion, Dean School of Media Studies, Prof. (Dr.) Shahid Rasool, said the Department will facilitate students on every front and provide them multiple skills so that they emerge as thorough professionals in their choice of field. He said the department would train the students in all the forms of media, print and electronic and would also guide them to use the social media platforms and blogging to convey their thoughts and opinions on the diverse topics.
“The idea of this programme is to produce qualified, trained and highly responsible media persons fit for the industry,” Prof Shahid said. He informed that experts from across the country would be delivering lectures to the students during the induction programme and asked them to question and clear their doubts about the subjects under discussion.
Thanking Prof K G Suresh for his highly informative keynote he suggested entering into MOU between the two institutions for sharing of resources. Head DCJ, Dr. Arif Nazir Zargar conducted the programme proceedings.
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