Thursday, 27 October 2016

One Out of Two in Internet

One Out of Two in Internet
The Internet has just reached another record figure in the world. Our database shows there are 3,675,824,813 Internet users in the world. The Internet penetration rate, equivalent to the percentage of the world population that has access to the Internet, is 50.1%.
The following table below shows the current updated Internet users in 2016 (Q3) for the main seven  World Geographic Regions
World Regions
2016 Est.
Users 2016
Penetration Rate %
28.7 %
45.6 %
73.9 %
57.4 %
89.0 %
61.5 %
73.3 %
50.1 %
Source: Internet World Stats, accessed on October 24, 2016.

Reaching 50.1% Internet user penetration in the world is a historical occasion. The Internet continues to grow in users and in the services available online. The increase in smartphone usage and the lower access costs as well as the growing population will surely keep Internet users increasing in all the world. The following page contains 1995-2016 Internet Growth figures.

462,124,989 Internet users for June/2016, 36.5% penetration, per IAMAI.
spacerIndia_flag INDIA
spacerIN - 1,266,883,598 population (2016) - Area: 3,166,944 sq km
spacerCapital City: New Delhi - 11,279,074 population (2012)
spacer 462,124,989 Internet users for June/2016, 36.5% penetration, per IAMAI.
spacer 157,000,000 Facebook subscribers on June/2016, 12.4% penetration rate.
spacerLocal Time and Weather in New Delhi, India

In India: 
462,124,989 Internet users for June/2016, 36.5% penetration, per IAMAI.

Map of India and country data.

India fact file.

India eGovernment
National Portal of India.

India Broadband Market, Internet Services and Forecasts
India Internet and Telecommunications reports

Sunday, 23 October 2016

SIMC's International Conference Report

The conference organized by the Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication (SIMC), Symbiosis International University, Pune, was attended by a large number of communication scholars. Here is the summary of the proceedings for the benefit of our colleagues who could not be here in Pune

OCT 6-7, 2016
Organized by Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication (SIMC), Symbiosis International University, Pune


The First International Conference on Media and Communication: Prospects and Challenges was held at SIMC on October 6-7, 2016. The inaugural function was held at SIU Convention Centre on October 6 at 10 am.

Chancellor Dr S.B. Mujumdar, Principal Director Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar and Vice-Chancellor Dr Rajani Gupte, along with four internationally renowned professors, inaugurated the conference.
SIMC Director Prof. Ruchi Jaggi, in her opening remarks, highlighted the importance of the first International Conference on Media and Communication to give a fillip to research in media and communication.

 The plenary session was scholarly and intellectually stimulating and inspiring. The conference had four academic luminaries of the media and communication world: Dr Daya Thussu, Dr Nishant Shah, Dr Suresh Ramanathan and Dr Steve McDowell. The theme of the Plenary Session was “The Past, Present and Future in Media and Communication Research” It was aimed at setting the agenda for the two-day conference. It examined the conceptual issues as well as future directions for media and communications research.
Our four plenary speakers spoke on the theme of emerging research paradigms in media and communications research.
Dr Daya Thussu enlightened the audience on global media and communications research in particular, drawing lessons from his scholarly work over the years. In particular, he examined the areas of international communication and soft power. 
Dr Nishant Shah focused on the emerging methodological frameworks that are shaping research on digital technologies in the political, social and cultural contexts. Additionally, he spoke on the challenges that scholars in the field of Internet Studies must be prepared to encounter.  
Dr Suresh Ramanathan spoke on the theme of consumer behavior research. He particularly focused on Innovation which holds the key for consumer behavior research. Innovation holds the key and in today’s place there is no place for mediocrity, he said.
Dr Steve McDowell spoke on the theme of emerging research paradigms in media and communication research. He enlightened us on global media and communications research in particular.

Skype Session with Dr Nick Couldry
In the evening, Dr Nick Couldry, Professor of International Communication, London School of Economics and Political Science, addressed us on skype on the theme, ‘The Social Construction of Reality’. Speaking on his long-term interest in the social consequences of the concentration of symbolic power in media institutions, he said the issue of media institutions’ role in the social construction of reality now goes much wider. He cited four examples to substantiate his thesis:
1. The rise of social media platforms as alternative foci of attention
2. The increasing interdependence of mainstream media and social media
3. The increasing push across the wider corporate sector
Dr Couldry said we can and will change the reality. He raised the pertinent question:
Is it enough to deconstruct the myth? It is important but insufficient to deconstruct the myth of us (and identity at work). It is a part of reality.

Skype Session with Dr Patrick O’Donoghue

On October 7 at 9 am, we had another brilliant address on skype by Dr Brian Patrick O’Donoghue of University of Alaska, Fairbanks. 
He said governments, businesses, marketing professionals, community and social organizations are encroaching, if not entirely displacing, traditional news organizations as sources of information about events, even breaking news today. News media no longer serves as society’s news gatekeeper, deciding what the audience needs to know, when and how.
The vital role for journalists today is getting unfiltered answers about issues and questions troubling readers and viewers. We can and should add value to information channels: putting our fact-collecting and analytical skills to work. That starts with listening to concerns raised by the audience. Success requires getting and reporting answers, earning the public’s trust.
In December 2016, convictions against four Native Alaskans serving decades in U.S. prison were overturned in a settlement fueled by 14-years of investigative reporting by Dr Brian and many years of student journalists
The impetus for investigating innocence claims by the Fairbanks Four began in the most traditional of news forums: letters to the editor from readers in Native villages. Dr Brian discussed how that came about and case lessons about the importance of public service journalism in the digital age.

Concurrent Panel Sessions
Our concurrent panel sessions in all four tracks spread across 28 panels were a roaring success. Delegates and Track Chairs have appreciated the efforts of the paper presenters and the quality of research.

Media, Culture and Society
Over 45 research papers were presented in 11 sessions during the course of conference.
This track was conceptualised to discuss and argue on one of the most critical facets of media studies – culture and to investigate media discourses on different dimensions of the social, political and cultural framework of society. During the course of the conference, scholars presented and discussed several concepts, themes, issues, and ideas. Paper presenters covered the following topics:
1. Role of newspapers in diminishing knowledge gap, paid news, coverage of social issues, coverage of election in the context of women candidates
2. Use of information, communication, technology for health communication and effect of education on woman and child health.
3. Representation of gender in animated films, Bollywood and regional films and representation of metropolis in Hindi film songs
4. Gender representation in cartoon shows on Indian Television,
5. Analysis of Indian and foreign television soaps and reality shows through the lens of diverse theories.
6. Use of participatory video for social change.
7. Adoption of technology for agro-based industry
8. Media literacy
9. Use of smartphones and Whatsapp
10. Studies related to various segments of the audience.

Media Laws, Ethics and Policies
This track generated a lot of interest because of the increasing importance of law in modern-day world. The importance of media laws and ethics has been increasing day by day. There has been a perennial conflict between a citizen’s civil liberties and societal expectations and goals. In defining the limits of the citizen’s protection, one faces at every stage difficult questions arising from conflict of values. Where does a citizen’s right to free speech begin and end? Of late, the law of sedition, for instance, has become the most controversial piece of legislation as questions have been raised over its legitimate application and enforcement. What constitutes incitement to violence and whether the government can book anyone under this law merely for hate speech (which can be tried under other laws) even if there is no explicit incitement to violence as ruled by the Supreme Court of India? Though the freedom of speech is the sheet anchor of democracy, it is circumscribed by reasonable restrictions. The media – print, electronic and digital -- is free in India and many other countries. However, it does not enjoy a special status vis-à-vis the citizens with respect to laws such as the freedom of speech and expression, law of sedition and law of defamation.
There were 14 papers in total spread over three sessions and they dealt with both macro and micro dimensions of law in diversified areas. The topics ranged from sedition law to television broadcasting rules and regulations, enforcement of the Right to Information Act, corporate frauds and journalistic ethics at the time of natural disasters like the Uttarakhand floods.
While Dr Biswajit Das, Director, Centre for Governance, Jamia Millia University, New Delhi, was the Chair on Oct 6, Dr Shashikala Gurpur, Dean, Faculty of Law, SIU, chaired two sessions on Oct 7.
Focus on New Media
Track III focused on the emergence of new media and its impact on society at large. As brought out by the researchers, new media has created a strong impact on multiple stake holders of the society. The penetration of social media platforms is altering the social behaviour and the changing ways in which communities are negotiating the personal and digital/social spaces.
Just like the digital natives, the aging population considered to be digital immigrants too have accepted and learned to use social media networks as platforms for contact, cooperation and socialisation. Social media is an empowering tool, which are being used by marginalized communities to raise awareness and gather support at the global level.
The manner in which news was disseminated has changed owing to the advent of social media. Now news can be immediate, backed by instant videos and a larger volume of public opinion can be garnered instantly.
New media has helped individuals create a digital identity and the research outcome indicates that each gender exhibits a different online behavior. This is an interesting revelation. The use of smartphone has gone beyond basic telephony and is creating a community culture in society which is beneficial for all stakeholders. However, online safety of vulnerable audiences is also an emerging concern.There is an immediate need to introduce stringent laws preventing mobile cyber crimes.
New media is the new buzz word, and marketers are using this platform to reach out to diverse target groups. However, research papers insights suggest that the user generated content enjoys a higher acceptance amongst the public compared to banner ads and pop up ads by marketers. In a young country like India, even political parties have started using social media for influencing the youth voters and this trend will only increase looking at the penetration of the new media.
New media provides for day-to-day utility also. Rural population too benefits from social media by using if for purpose like health and agricultural information. The lack of formal education may not limit digital literacy. However, the government has a huge onus to ensure social inclusion in this major disruption called the New Media. 

Business and Marketing Communication
In all, 29 papers were presented in this track. It emphasised on the recent trends of consumer research, use of big data in various sectors. It also laid emphasis on the various mediums through which marketing has emerged to the consumers. Special emphasis was put on various digital marketing strategies and how the response of respondents has changed with changing environment.

Looking into this, the session stressed the need to include online branding theories and models as a part of the digital research. The correlation of online marketing with personal branding was discussed. Apart from discussing digital world at large, the issues also revolved around other marketing mediums like celebrity endorsements, cartoons and gender issues relating to online purchase behavior among millennial. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Appear in person, explain where we went wrong SC tells Katju

Appear in person, explain where we went wrong
SC tells Katju
New Delhi

In an unprecedented decision, the Supreme Court summoned its former Judge Markandey Katju on Monday to appear before it and personally justify his Facebook comments terming as “regrettable“ and “grievous error“ the SC's September 15 decision not to award death sentence to Govindachamy in Soumya rape-murder case.Both the trial court and the high court in Kerala had held Govindachamy guilty of sexually assaulting Soumya in a moving train and then killing her. Both courts had awarded him death sentence for the murder and life imprisonment for rape. The SC had confirmed his conviction and sentence for rape but acquitted him of murder charges.
The Kerala government through attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and Soumya's mother through Sidharth Luthra had filed petitions seeking review of the SC judgement and sought reimposition of death penalty .
Converting Justice Katju's Facebook comments into a suo motu review petition, a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, P C Pant and U U Lalit said, “A former Judge of the Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju in a blog published on Facebook has expressed an opinion that the judgement and order dated September 15 passed by this bench needs to be reviewed in an open court hearing.“
“Such a view coming from a retired judge of this court needs to be treated with greatest respect and consideration...We issue notice to Justice Markandey Katju and request him to appear in Court in person and participate in the proceedings on November 11 at 2 pm as to whether the judgement and order dated September 15 passed by this bench suffers from any fundamental flaw so as to require exercise of the review jurisdiction,“ the bench said in its order.
The bench extracted Justice Katju's blog in which he wrote: “I said that the Supreme Court has grievously erred in law by not holding Govindachamy guilty of murder.The court held that since it has not been proved that the accused had intention to kill, he cannot be held guilty of murder. What the court has overlooked is that Section 300 IPC, which defines murder, has four parts, and only the first part requires intention to kill. If any of the other three parts are established, it will be murder even if there was no intention to kill. It is regrettable that the court has not read section 300 carefully . The judgement needs to be reviewed in an open court hearing.“
There had been instances when former judges have criticised the apex court's judgements and decisions in the past. But, never before had they been asked to appear before the court and justify their comments. It is difficult to fathom what would turn the case would take on Justice Katju's personal explanation, but the former judge would love the platform to wax eloquent on criminal jurisprudence. But it will surely test Justice Katju's understanding of criminal law, especially Section 300 of IPC.
Soumya was allegedly pushed off a moving train by Govindachamy after he sexually assaulted her. But the apex court took note of the oral testimony of witnesses who stated that she had jumped off the train to escape the rapist and acquitted him of murder charges.
The 23-year-old girl had boarded the Ernakulam-Shoranur passenger train on February 1, 2011 at about 5.30pm from Ernakulam Town railway station to go to her home at Shoranur for her betrothal ceremony the following day .
The following from the Hindu:
In an unconventional order, a Supreme Court Bench on Monday converted a Facebook post of a former Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju, into a review petition and asked him to personally appear in court to “debate” his online criticism of the Bench’s verdict, commuting the death penalty in the sensational 2011 Soumya rape and murder case.
A three-judge Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, P.C. Pant and U.U. Lalit took suo motu judicial notice of Justice Katju’s personal blog criticising the Supreme Court judges for “grievously erring in law by not holding the convict Govindaswamy guilty of murder.”
Justice Katju’s blog post said the September 15 judgment was “regrettable” and needed to be reviewed in open court.
“We issue notice to Justice Markandey Katju, former judge of this Court, and request him to participate in the proceedings on November 11, 2016 at 2 p.m. ... to require exercise of the review jurisdiction,” Justice Gogoi dictated in open court.
The Bench said Justice Katju’s views expressed in the blog – Satyam Bruyat – deserved the “respect and consideration” and a debate was in order.
Constitutional bar
However, Article 124 (7) of the Constitution may act as a bar on Justice Katju from “participating” in such a debate. The Article specifically mandates that no person who was a judge of the Supreme Court “shall plead or act” in any court or before any authority within the territory of India.

Friday, 2 September 2016

"Twentyseven journalists have been murdered in India in direct retaliation for their work since 1992"

As many as 27 journalists have been murdered in India in direct retaliation for their work since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a non-profit based in New York.
The CPJ’s latest report, Dangerous pursuit: In India, journalists who cover corruption may pay with their lives, tells the stories of Jagendra Singh in Uttar Pradesh, Umesh Rajput in Chhattisgarh and Akshay Singh in Madhya Pradesh.
“The challenges faced by India’s press are highlighted by the cases of Jagendra Singh, Umesh Rajput, and Akshay Singh… corruption was the impetus for all three journalists’ final reports and in all three cases, there have been no convictions,” Sumit Galhotra, CPJ’s Asia Program senior research associate wrote in the report.
Freelancer Jagendra Singh, who died after being set on fire, allegedly by the police in June 2015, was investigating allegations that a local minister was involved in land grabs and a rape. Before he was shot dead in January 2011, Umesh Rajput was investigating allegations of medical negligence and claims that the son of a politician was involved illegal gambling. Investigative reporter Akshay Singh was working on a story linked to the US $1 billion Vyapam admissions scandal—tests for professional jobs run by the Madhya Pradesh government–“when he died unexpectedly in July 2015”.
Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir are the most dangerous areas to report from (statistics do not put Chhattisgarh in the top three), given their “volatile” institutional structures and “complex” civil societies, the report said.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a global advocacy, called India “Asia’s deadliest country for media personnel, ahead of both Pakistan and Afghanistan”, IndiaSpend reported in April 2016.
The CPJ report also shows how small-town journalists face greater risks than those from larger cities, and how India’s culture of impunity is leaving the country’s media vulnerable to threats and attacks. “They rarely get support from their employers if they are targeted,” Sujata  Madhok, general-secretary of the Delhi Union of Journalists, told CPJ. “The gulf between journalists working in rural or remote areas and those working in big cities is huge.”
“The language a reporter writes in and, most importantly, what they are writing about—especially if it challenges the powerful—increase the vulnerability,” P Sainath, co-founder of People’s Archive of Rural India, wrote in the report.
“While rural and small-town journalists often have to cover multiple beats, those included in CPJ’s list focused mainly on corruption, crime, and politics: three beats often closely intertwined,” the report said. “This hasn’t changed too much in the past three decades, but it has become worse with the retreat of the mainstream media from covering rural India in any depth.”
Police are responsible for the first stages in any investigation, Geeta Sheshu, consulting editor of The Hoot, a media watchdog, told CPJ. “A faulty first information report, not applying the appropriate sections of the law, not clearly recording witness statements or protecting vulnerable witnesses, and not following up on preliminary investigations can be damaging.”
The CPJ has made various recommendations to the central government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the death of Akshay Singh and Umesh Rajput, the Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh state governments and the Indian media. These include:
  • Provide sufficient resources and political support to improve the capacity of authorities to conduct timely investigations and trials relating to crimes against journalists, including freelancers, bloggers, and those who publish news on social media;
  • Immediately transfer the investigation into the 2015 death of Jagendra Singh in Uttar Pradesh from state police to the CBI; and
  • Employers should establish clear mechanisms for staff and freelancers to report threats, harassment, or attacks, and offer appropriate support.