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Media Seminar organised on 25th March

Indian media warrants matching accountability: VC

Pithy comment of Dr Jaspal Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, that the Indian media had blossomed as a powerful entity, warranting a matching accountability, generated a heated debate among eminent media personalities on how the presentation of news in the print and electronic media could be made unadulterated and objective?

Presiding over the valedictory session of the three-day national seminar on ‘Challenges and Opportunities Before Indian Media’, organized by Punjabi University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication here today, the Vice-Chancellor raised the question that if the consumers expected that even the toothpaste should be an ‘unadulterated and standardized’ product, why should not they be expected to be supplied unadulterated and factual information by the media?

Dr Jaspal singh further said that despite being a powerful network, the media was not reflecting a pan-India scene and instead was leaving the country’s peripheral areas uncovered and ignored. He was responding to the observations of Mr H.K Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune Group of Newspapers, that the mainstream media rarely gave a healthy coverage to the underprivileged while focusing on such issues like killings and ambush of security forces.

Referring to observation of Prof B.K Kuthiala, Head of Department of Mass Communication and Media Technology, Kurukshetra University that media was an extension of intra-personal dialogue, the Vice Chancellor said it was an integral part of the human existence and it could be established with the self or within the person as per the Indian spiritual traditions.

Talking in the same vein, Punjabi Tribune’s Editor, Mr Sidhu Damdami, said that the India media had become too powerful necessitating an immediate regulatory mechanism to control it before it causes intolerable damage to the society. And this realization among the people, he said, has become more pronounced following the live coverage of the terrorist attack in Mumbai which exceeded all the limits of fair reporting while bordering around sensationalism. Such a mechanism, however, was a ticklish issue since any such dispensation would be opposed by the media on grounds of “freedom of the press’, Mr Damdami said. He, however, said that the electronic media had developed an enormous capacity to misuse and abuse the facts as these suited their business and political interests.

Dr Gurmeet Singh Maan, Head of the Department said that we, as media consumers were over-expecting from the media while ignoring our own responsibilies. The issues raised by it seldom found favour even among its ardent and impassioned audiences. He condemned the practice of calling media as watchdogs and suggested that these should preferably be called as guardians of the society. In all 30 papers were presented in the seminar discussing various aspects the media scene, he said

Dilating on the suggestion of setting a Press Commission for review the entire gamut of media Prof Kuthiala said that it was yet to be decided whether media was a business, a service sector or voluntary dispensation. Media stalwarts who participated in the seminar included Dr Narinder Singh Kapoor, Prof Gulzar Singh Sandhu, Prof Radhey Shyam Sharma, Prof Ashok Ogra, Dr Vikram Dutt, Prof TDS Alok, Dr Ashutosh Mishra and Prof Avinash Singh. The seminar reached its climax with the holding of an alumni meet of the students in the Department.


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