The Department of Multi Media and Mass Communication (BMMMC), Indraprastha College for Women organised ‘Meet the Media’, a panel discussion on the theme Media in Crisis as a part of its Annual Media Fest Parampara’16. Now in its 16th edition, the opening day of the three-day potpourri of activities saw the audience and panelists discussing pertinent issues surrounding the media and film industry.
Panelists included Bhupendra Chaubey, Executive Editor at CNN-IBN; Nikhil Taneja , Creative producer at Yash Raj Films; Swara Bhaskar, actress and Sattvik Mishra, founder of ScoopWhoop. Parul Oberoi, the President at Focus, the Department Association, welcomed the gathering, followed by the release of the BMMMC Department magazine and the teaser of the fest while Anshika Arora, Vice President at Focus, anchored the event.
Mr Chaubey was the first speaker from the panel, who began by commending the raw energy that the students in the organizing team and the college in general exuded. He explained how the media’s role is to pique curiosity among masses and that this act often involves different variables in the ethical equation that goes with it. He also added that the question of whether media is in peril is uniform throughout the world, because the fundamental elements of reporting remain the same. He ended on the note that he envisages a future where everyone has access to technology in a way that associates each one of us with media.
Next speaker up on the podium was Mr Nikhil Taneja, who has previously worked at MTV and HT Café and currently also teaches at Jai Hind College, Mumbai, shared his experiences with the audience. He began by sharing his experience of working as a Bollywood reporter and reminiscing the precise moment he thought of reconsidering the field when he interviewed Salman Khan. He ruffled some feathers by mentioning that the Fourth Estate, as the media is fondly called, is becoming extraneous and that it is the Fifth Estate, the people engaging in conversations on social media who now have a responsibility to keep their resolve more powerful than the trolls.
The floor was then opened to questions, and pertinent points were discussed, the most monumental of them being whether this generation will see the death of mainstream media.
The Discussion continued with Mr Sattvik’s address, wherein he emphasised on the importance of content to perform one of the three functions: entertain, inform or trigger meaningful conversations. He opined that digital media is definitely not in crisis because it is still in its nascent stage, and not grand enough to land in any trouble as of now.
The last speaker for the session was Ms Swara Bhaskar, who brought multiple perspectives to the fore. She began by explaining how, for one, media doesn’t exist in a vacuum, which is why it already faces a crisis. She implored the audience to not let the government ban what they’re not comfortable with. These thoughts saw wide support from the audience, evident in their nods and claps. She further suggested that as recipients of news, we should know who owns the news portals. She added that this serves not to discredit the news, but knowledge is power and it is important to know who is bringing the news out in order to have a fair view of the same. She ended on a very relevant note that since every perspective is mired in a power structure, as long as the relationship between power and media is uncomfortable, media is not in crisis yet.
This was followed by another round of Q&A, and the panel concluded that as recipients of news and information, we need to be aware of the biases that are infused in what is delivered to us. As a publication, if there’s a stand you take, ethics command that you be upfront about it.