Friday, 30 May 2014


Following from AMIC:



Dear AMIC Members and Conference Participants:
Given the extraordinarily difficult and uncertain situation in Thailand, especially in Bangkok, the Board of Directors of AMIC has decided today to postpone the AMIC annual Conference scheduled for July 9-12, 2014 in Bangkok.
The Board deeply regrets the disruption and the inconvenience this change of plans might cause. It was an extremely difficult decision to make as the local organisers had put in much effort to raise sponsorship, invite a Cabinet member as a keynote speaker, and make other arrangements for us to enjoy their Thai hospitality.
But after consultation with our Thai Board Member and other relevant authorities, the Board had to conclude that in the interests of conference participants’ safety and security, the event must be postponed.
The Board has started exploring other dates and, if necessary, other venues to hold the conference later this year. If nothing suitable emerges by July, the Board may cancel this year’s conference and proceed with next year’s conference.
The AMIC Board and Secretariat seek your understanding and patience. We will contact you as soon as new decisions are made.


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Can Narendra Modi Clea-Up Ganga?

By Kiran Thakur

If Mr Narendra Modi takes up Ganga cleanup project in right earnest now that he is at the helm, he will not be the first prime minister to evince keen interest in the task. 
Mrs. Indira Gandhi had announced a fund of Rs. three crore to study Ganga pollution in 1980. When she made the announcement in the Parliament, she wanted only to wriggle out of a huge embarrassment for her government caused by repeated assertions by her minister  that Ganga cannot be polluted. The opposition parties had created din in Rajya Sabha when her colleague very categorically asserted that Ganga could not be polluted because the river is holy.”
The opposition had raised the issue in the upper house based on a UNI report from Varanasi. The UNI correspondent had written a feature on dead bodies and carcass floating in the river causing serious pollution. It was followed by a story on prevalence of water-borne diseases in Varanasi, and still later a feature based on a research paper in a British medical journal. Mrs Gandhi had to intervene on the floor of the house, when the minister continued to contradict the stories maintaining that Ganga was holy and could not be polluted!
Newspapers subsequently reported that the Rs. three crore central fund was to be utilised to study the extent of Ganga’s pollution, from its origin Gomukh in Himalaya, to Bay of Bengal. The Banaras Hindu University was to be given the responsibility to study the pollution levels.
The next Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, who took over after her assassination, evinced kin interest in the Ganga cleanup. He launched Ganga Action Plan (GAP) on June 14, 1986. Even BJP leader L K Advani, on January 07, 2013, gave him credit for initiating the GAP to clean the polluted river.  The occasion was launch of the BJP’s programme last year to save the river. The programme was formulated by party leader Uma Bharati and was to have spread across all the states through which the Ganga flows.
In his speech that day, Mr. Advani pointed out that the Supreme Court has issued an elaborate order on the Ganga pollution issue and told the amicus curiae (the friend of the court) who could even file a contempt case against the government if he deems it necessary.
Mr Nitin Gadkari, who was the party president last year, announced at the function that BJP would set aside Rs. 10,000 crore for cleaning the Ganga if voted to power.
It thus became clear that the prime ministers after the late Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, did nothing to follow up his initiative. These included Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, who was the prime minister twice, for 13 days in 1996 from second time from 1998 to 2004. 

Dr. Manmohan Singh, who succeeded Mr. Vajpayee, declared Ganga as a National River on November 4, 2008, and set up a Ganga River Basin Authority. The Authority, thus, is in place. It is chaired by the Prime Minister and has as its members Chief Ministers of states through which the river flows.
Two years later, on October 23, 2010, the Central government committed that the Ganga would be pure and free of pollutants by year 2020.  It acknowledged that the GAP had failed and Rs. 1000 crore investment did not yield desired results. However, the Attorney general G E Vahanvati assured a Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar that day that the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) headed by the prime minister would deal with river pollution in a comprehensive manner. 
The work has since been entrusted to a consortium of seven IITs -- Kanpur, Delhi, Madras, Mumbai, Kharagpur, Guwahati and Roorkee. The National River Conservation Directorate under ministry of environment and forests has in its affidavit said that the World Bank has sanctioned a project preparation facility of US $1 billion. 
But amicus curiae Krishan Mahajan, who was part of the public interest litigation filed by M C Mehta for cleaning of Ganga since 1985, expressed doubt if the programme would succeed during the near future. During the hearing at the supreme course, the states had identified Investments totalling over Rs 1,200 crore.
One gets an impression that the state governments and their agencies did not care what was submitted or committed during the court hearing. Earlier, in another case, in July 1997, a the Supreme Court was told that activists had cleaned Ganga in Kanpur that year and had removed 127 dead bodies (117 human and 10 animal carcasses). However, within just a fortnight, the activists found 100 bodies floating in the same stretch of the river. The government agencies not only in Kanpur and Varanasi, but also elsewhere on the bank of the river had displayed similar apathy before and since then. Besides, the industries and tanneries pour affluent into the Ganga and its tributaries.
The governments, local self-governments, and other official agencies have shown apathy, lack of concern, and also helplessness to tackle the pollution and related issues. Besides the courts, which admit public interest litigations, there are ministries and high-power committees that express serious concern over the state of affairs.
Statistics indicate that over 1.3 billion litres of sewage goes directly into the river per day in over 29 cities, 70 towns, and thousands of villages.  Besides this, about 260 million litters of industrial waste is poured into the rivers by hundreds of factories along the rivers banks. Thus, the river is polluted with  organic waste, sewage, trash, food, and human and animal remains. The pollution is aggravated by the over 40,000 cremations in Varanasi alone where bodies are burnt on wood pyres. Remains of these bodies, and un-burnt and half-burnt human bodies and carcass thrown into Ganga, add up to the filth that make the river a major source of water-borne diseases.  

These reports give us only a broad idea about the enormity of the Ganga pollution and its impact on the hygiene and health of the people living on its banks. This affects millions of tourists and pilgrims visiting the holy places around the year.
Will Narendra Modi be able to make the river clean? His supporters assert that he can, and he will. They cite his record of accomplishment as Gujarat Chief Minister in this field also. They say he utilised a central government fund to develop 10.4 km riverfront of Sabarmati flowing through Ahmadabad. If he could get it done there, he would be able to it in Varanasi. His critics, including those in Aam Adami Party, counter this by producing reports of water samples of Sabarmati that indicate that the river continues to be badly polluted. Photographs of filth floating in the river are circulated in social media.
The prime minister, as the reports suggest, is likely to create an agency to monitor execution of plans to clean Ganga in Varanasi which has elected him to represent the constituency in Lok Sabha. Will he be able to tackle ruling and opposition politicians from this region, and also in the states not ruled by his party, such as UP and West Bengal? Will he be able to give this issue a priority over other pressing problems facing the country?

 I wrote this piece before the swearing-in of the Modi-cabinet yesterday, May 26, 2014. Today, I notice that Mr Modi has created a ministry to take care of Ganga Clean-up. Title of the ministry raises hope. It is  “Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.”  Name of the minister to head the ministry, however, may not create optimism because of the controversies associated with the person throughout her political career. It is Uma Bharati.  One hopes that there will be no controversy surrounding this personality and that she would fulfil the heavy responsibility that Modi has assigned to her.

Point No. 2: I was the Varanasi-based Special Correspondent of UNI who wrote the features on the Ganga pollution mentioned in this blog post.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Lawsuit for $2,000 decillion (that's 36 zeros) for dog bite

Man files lawsuit for $2,000 decillion (that's 36 zeros) after being bitten by a dog and having his photograph taken by a Chinese couple

Claimant seeking compensation of an order greater than the combined worth of all the goods and services created in the history of humanity

Rob Williams Monday 19 May 2014

Where there's blame, there's a claim, so they say.
But for the subjects of a lawsuit, which some are describing as the largest in history, paying up could prove difficult.
To put it in perspective: even if they managed to get hold of the money equivalent of the estimated economic value of all of the goods and services ever created in the history of humanity ($2,400,000,000,000,000), they would still find themselves unable to pay.
A New York man is suing defendants including Au Bon Pain, Kmart and the City of New York for the remarkable sum of $2,000 decillion (or $2 undecillion) after he was bitten by what he claims was a rabid dog on a bus.
According to the legal humour blog 'Lowering The Bar', Anton Purisima, 62, has demanded $2,000 decillion (that's 36 zeros) in a hand-written lawsuit filed in April, requesting damages for "civil-rights violations, personal injury, discrimination in national origin, retaliation, harassment, fraud, attempted murder, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy to defraud".
In the 22 page document Mr Purisima claims that his middle finger was bitten off by a 'rabies infected' dog on a city bus. He also alleges that a Chinese couple took photographs of him without his permission while he was being treated in a local hospital.

In a seemingly unconnected additional claim bundled into the document, he is also seeking compo for being routinely overcharged for coffee at LaGuardia Airport. He claims that some of the additional woes he suffered from the bite, including the pain, "cannot be repaired by money" and are "therefore priceless".

Priceless indeed as such a ridiculous amount of money would be impossible for any corporation to pay. As the What If? website notes: 'Even if Au Bon Pain conquers the planet and puts everyone to work for them from now until the stars die, they wouldn't make a dent in the bill.'

In their report on the case 'Lowering The Bar' notes this isn't the first time gargantuan and impossible figures have been cited in a lawsuit. It notes a case from 2008 in which a Hurricane Katrina victim sued for three quadrillion dollars, essentially the whole Gross Domestic Product of the United States for the next 228 years.

Mr Purisima, who will represent himself during proceedings (presumably to keep costs down), has form for lawsuits. In the last four years he has brought cases against several major banks, the Republic of China and the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, amongst others.

Abstracts from journal Media Watch May 2014

The following is from Mr. Deepak Ranjan Jena. I trust these abstracts will be of great help to media researchers searching for the latest studies for literature review, or to locate concepts for new studies.

  Abstracts: Media Watch May 2014
(Vol. 5, No. 2)
Impact Factor: SJIF 3.276 | IIFS 0.993 | ISRA 0.834

Facebook Culture: Millennial Formation of Social Identity

Hilary K. U’Ren
Portland State University, USA
Social Networking Sites have become a rising trend over the past decade as a source of interaction on the internet., in particular, has become dangerously popular, with over 700 million active users to date. This study examines how Millennial’s use Facebook in order to regulate impression management and gain cultural capital through their virtual networks. Erving Goffman developed the concept of impression management as a method of censoring or altering the literal impression we are projecting to those around us in order to emanate a certain identity. Facebook aids this process by allowing us to actively edit exactly what we say about ourselves on a platform that is connected to everyone we know. Profiles were coded according to the nature of their About Me sections, profile photos, and count of online friends. Through simple random sampling amongst these categories of profiles, interviewees were selected. Each Millennial selected agreed to participate and was interviewed for a period of time ranging between thirty and sixty minutes. From this data, it was found that members of the Millennial generation use the site to manipulate the way they are perceived by various groups, like peers, coworkers, and parents, present on the site.

Offline Goes Online: Does the Internet Implement or Supplement our Communication and Relationships?
Kaja Tampere & Ave Tampere
Tallinn University, Estonia

This paper will be looking at the computer code-mediated communication and relationships between people. Questions, for which answers will be sought in the paper are—Does the Internet supplement or implement our communication and relationships? Supplement by filling in pieces of relationships that we would otherwise be missing out on; implement by creating or sustaining relationships that otherwise would not exist? How are relationships that were formed offline sustained online? How does the Internet change the concept of ‘long-distance’ in terms of communicating relationships? To study the topic of this paper, a literary analysis will be performed. The argument will be based on the example of Facebook. The study will focus on examples and theories covering the Western world where the research has been conducted and claims made.
Social Media and Documentary Cinema: the Arab Spring, the Wall Street Movement, Challenges and Implications for Documentary Filmmakers
Fritz Kohle
Edinburgh University, UK
Used by millions on a daily basis Web 2 and social media have become part of our lives; Facebook arguably developed into the largest online group worldwide with some 800 million users – or one seventh of the world’s population. (Facebook, 2011) This paper reviews social media and provides a general overview of the same from the perspective of an independent documentary filmmaker. The paper investigates use of social media during the Arab Spring and Wall Street Movement (Occupy, 2011) and compares social- with traditional media. Using the example of the documentary ‘God, Church, Pills & Condoms’ (F Kohle, A Cuevas, 2011) the tools social media offers are examined and their applications are discussed. Web 2 is the accumulative sum of print, radio, TV and film, offering an ever-increasing amount of content. What are the implications and challenges for Documentary filmmakers? How can documentary filmmakers explore the full potential of social media? Does social media really offer an alternative to traditional content commissioning, content development and distribution as well as fund raising? The paper concludes by examining future trends for social media and potential applications in documentary filmmaking.

Media Morality in a Postmodern Era: A Model for Ethics Restoration
in the Mass Media

Kingsley Okoro Harbor
Jacksonville State University, USA

This paper develops a chronology of milestones in mass media ethics from inception to contemporary times, demonstrating that media ethics has been on the decline throughout mass media’s history. As a response to the continual decline of ethics in the mass media, this paper proposes a model for restoring ethics to the mass media. The model has four corner stones: (i) journalism and mass communication curricular revision, (ii) student entry placement, (iii) revised training for future journalists, and (iv) journalistic de-collectivization, a term used by this author to describe the act of shielding a journalist from the impact of corporate culture in the newsroom. Essential theoretical frameworks guiding the model include Kohlberg’s moral development theory and Patterson and Wilkins’s ethical news values.
Bollywoodization of the War on Terror
Daya Thussu
University of Westminster, London, UK
In the decade since 9/11, the ‘war on terror’ has been framed in mainstream global media discourses predominantly as a conflict between medievalist Islamic terrorists and the modern West, led by the United States. In India, where the media market has grown exponentially along the lines of the US commercially led model, the media discourse has broadly followed this global trajectory. After providing an overview of terrorism in India, this article focuses on the coverage of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai on 26 November 2008, the most extensively covered terrorism story outside the Western world.  The article shows how during ‘India’s 9/11,’ media and communication technologies intersected to create a tele-visual spectacle, in a fiercely competitive media market, one increasingly shaped by an infotainment-driven news culture. Such ‘Bollywoodization’ of the ‘war on terror,’ the article suggests, contributes to presenting grim realities of political conflicts as a feast of visually arresting, emotionally-charged entertainment – genres skilfully borrowed from India’s bourgeoning film industry, to sustain ratings.
Political Economy of Corporate Power and Free Speech
in the United States

Jeffrey Layne Blevins
University of Cincinnati, USA

This political economic analysis of U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence broadly examines corporate speech rights in campaigns and elections, in commercial speech, and in conflicts between speech and privacy.  From this examination, it appears that corporate wealth has expressed its dominance within communication space, which was once the primary domain of human liberty.  Moreover, the analysis demonstrates the ‘historical amnesia’ expressed within the Supreme Court about the revolutionary potential of electronic media, as corporate encroachment of communication space is diminishing the value of human speech under the law.

Journalism Ethics: The Uneven Tempo between
International Principles and Local Practice

Kiranjit Kaur & Halimahton Shaari
Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
Media codes of ethics comprise principles of ethics and good practice.  Though media codes may vary from country to country, the global media and communication profession is guided by principles that share many common values for the simple reason that many social and individual values are universal.  In the journalism profession, as an example, ethical practice would almost always revolve around universal values like accuracy, honesty, truth, objectivity and freedom. Though the Malaysian media adopt and practise many international principles, media practitioners have also to take cognizance of the socio-political sensitivities and sensibilities that shape and influence the workings and contents of the media. Qualitative interviews with media practitioners provide insights into how values and principles, both local and international, either go in tandem or clash and impact on media practices. This paper also studies the practicality and applicability of media codes in the face of rapidly-changing media values, contents and technology.  The media occasionally violate ethical boundaries; however these are sometimes not perceived as digressions by media practitioners as media values and roles undergo a facelift.
Press Coverage of Post Tamil Eelam War in Dinamani
C. J. Ravi Krishnan, C. Pichandy & Francis Barclay
PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore, India
The war for Tamil Eelam and the last battle at northern region of Sri Lanka between the government and LTTE has been seriously viewed and reported by media around the world. However ‘Eelam’ is an issue close to the heart of the Tamils in the world. The present study has chosen the post-war period for two years  from January 2009 to January 2011 to find out how the Tamil print media in Tamil Nadu reacted to the end of the LTTE regime in Sri Lankan northern province and the sentiments of the Tamil population. Editorials and columns of Tamil daily, Dinamani considered for the study. The study revealed that editorials and columns published during that time exposed violations of human rights by Sri Lankan government. The study also found the role played by the Indian and Tamil Nadu government during and after the war period were not satisfactory in the context of dealing the Sri Lankan Tamilian issues. 
Media Effects of Assam State Assembly Elections 2011
Kh. Kabi
Rajiv Gandhi University, India.
Anupa Lahkar
Assam Don Bosco University, India
Election is one of the most significant exercises particularly in a democracy, wherein citizens participate to elect their representative. For the first time in the history of Assam (Northeast India) State Assembly Election, campaign was carried out in the presence of wide media coverage. This study focuses on the impact of media’s coverage of the election campaigns during the last Assam state assembly election held in 2011.  It examined the role of media in setting the agenda of important election issues and its impact on the opinion of the people. Attempts have been made to find out the effects of political campaign on the potential voters in view of their political opinion formation and their decision to participate and vote for a particular party or candidate. The study revealed that majority of them has been impacted by the media coverage to some extent and it has aroused them to participate and vote. However when it came to their voting behavior, it is their personal choice and reasons that matter and not necessarily due to media’s campaign. 

Cross-Media Ownership: Would It be Really Curbed?

Shivaji Sarkar

India has been debating the issue of cross-media ownership for the last over 60 years. It is not that it is being raised by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) at the behest of the ministry of information and broadcasting for the first time. In fact, TRAI in its paper expresses limitation on checkmating cross-media ownership. Rather softly it has given it up. TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar said the regulator would, with the help of the Competition Commission of India, attempt to ensure that there are a minimum number of mergers and acquisitions. A consultation paper will spell out restrictions, make mandatory disclosure requirements, spell out levels of market share which will ensure plurality and diversity, list general disqualifications, recommend how cross media ownership can be dealt with, set rules for disaggregated markets, and ensure minimum mergers and acquisitions.

For information, please contact:
Editor, Media Watch
S C S College Road
Near Amala Club
Puri-752 001, Odisha, India
Tel: +91-94395 37641

Sunday, 18 May 2014

ACMC International Conference in Hong Kong November 13 to 15, 2014

Following from Prof.(Dr.) Biplab Loho Choudhury

13,14,15 November 2014,
The City University of Hong Kong

“Media, Communication, Culture and the Dynamics of Change”
2014  ACMC International Conference
in partnership with the
Department of Media and Communication, City University of Hong Kong

As technology continues to develop, platforms of communication and paradigms of communicating are changing at a faster rate than ever before. From linear to non-linear, from single levels of engagement to multi-level structures that can prove challenging in the delivery of the message. McLuhan’s dictum “the media is the message,” has become the mantra of the new media even as communication channels continue to shift from the traditional mass media to the Internet and to mobile media.  

At the same time, the development of a whole new virtual world – from virtual offices to virtual classrooms to virtual stores – are changing the way people work, study and do business. Theoretically, we can have multiple identities with more communication taking place online than our daily face-to-face interactions.  New virtual community groups have taken shape, forming a generation of members defined by their unique creative interests and special terminology for in-group communication. The theme of the 2014 conference seeks to address the challenges that emerging media pose to the study and use of media.

Indeed, what does this change mean for teaching communication and languages in the global virtual realm? How does one bridge the real world with the virtual in the teaching of communication and language? What should the universities’ priorities be? What steps should faculties take so as to be in tune with this fast paced development?  How can communication be planned, packaged and managed? What would the implications be for researchers of media studies and communication practitioners in Public Relations, Creative Industries and Advertising?

SUBSTREAMS include but are not limited to:
·         new media literacies
·         media innovations, influence and impact
·         ethnicity, race and religion
·         media and gender
·         linguistics and the global classroom
·         language, identity, representation
·         advertising in the new media 
·         public relations in a digitized world   
·         crosscultural networking
·         media, human rights and empowerment
·         socio-cultural challenges and the new media
·         social media, social responsibility
·         new media ethics
·         health, disaster and environment
·          virtual world versus real world
·         gaming as communication

Abstracts due: MAY 20, 2014  
Abstract acceptance: (on or before) May 30, 2014
Full papers due: September 30, 2014
Participation payment due: September 30, 2014

Early Bird (on or before September 30, 2014) :
non-members               USD350
ACMC members           USD175 

Regular Rate: USD450
On-site Rate: USD550
Membership Rate (on-site): USD250
Undergraduate Student Rate: USD100 (attendance only)

Conference fees include participation fee and IC, lunches, coffee breaks, certificates and conference kits.

To be submitted via email <>.  Papers should NOT to be emailed to personal emails of ACMC officers or conference organizers.  

The conditions are as follows:
All submissions will undergo a blind review. You will be notified a month after submission of your paper if it qualifies for the conference and/or the ACMC Journal. Papers that do not qualify for publication in the Journal, may still be eligible for ORAL Presentation at the conference and will be published in the ACMC Online conference website.   
1. Indicate “Abstract Submission” in the subject line of your email
2. Email should contain the following:  
a. Conference Stream to which it belongs
b. Paper title
c.  Author name, position, institution   
d. Short biography of Author (100  150 words)
e.  Paper Abstract (300500 words)
Papers intended for the refereed stream should be academically rigorous (e.g. theoretically and methodologically sound, thoroughly researched and referenced) but also accessible to anyone interested in communication and its implications. Refereed articles will appear in the ACMC Online Conference proceedings that will be publicly accessible, and which provide a showcase of the

 relevance of ACMC and communication research to a wider audience, so please write clearly. Use plain English and, if you must use jargon, clearly explain its meaning. We reserve the right to edit your work should it be chosen for publication in the
ACMC Journal.

Full paper should be a Microsoft Word document. Resubmit title of the paper and an abstract of 150 300 words on the first page.

The body of the paper should be doublespaced, justified. Quotations should be in “double quotation marks” (not ‘single’) and paragraphs of cited text longer than 20 words should be indented. Please number all pages of your manuscript in the top right header.  

Word count: 4000 to 7000 words.  

Referencing: Papers must be referenced in the APA style. Information on the APA
style can be found at or at   

Registration: All presenters need to register to attend the conference. In the case of multiauthored papers, at least one of the listed authors must attend in order for the paper to be included in the ACMC 2014 Conference program.  

Disclaimer: Successfully refereed articles will be published online. It is authors╩╣  responsibility to ensure that articles and accompanying materials submitted for ACMC2014 are accurate, and are not offensive, defamatory, or otherwise injurious to any person or organization before submission. Authors should ensure that all ideas and work not their own are fully referenced. Authors are also responsible for ensuring that articles and accompanying charts, graphs, photographs, illustrations, trade literature, data, etc., are free of copyright or ownership restrictions and may be published online without encumbrance.


Please contact the Secretariat at or visit our website for more details and updates

Indian contact:

Prof.(Dr.) Biplab Loho Choudhury
Center For Journalism & Mass Communication
Visva - Bharati, Santiniketan
West Bengal, India
Country Director (India),
Asian Congress for Media & Communication (ACMC),