Media Governance and Cultural Issues
Edited by Rajesh Das, Mugdha Sengupta and Saswati Gangopadhyay;
Department of Mass Communication, The University of Burdwan, West Bengal; 2018; Pages 229; Rs. 225.
Reviewed by Shashidhar Kapur (Senior Journalist), 10, Indus Empire, Bhopal.)
The topical research volume on media governance and cultural issues published by The University of Burdwan offers great insights. Featuring a wide spectrum of papers and case studies, it covers both the theoretical and applied aspects.
Its first paper by Vir Bala Aggarwal is about internet and religion which points to how religion is being transformed a by media and vice versa. The former has come up with simplistic versions to connect with the masses while latter has shed its secularist tag. Aggarwal offers an interesting insight by saying that media has become a religion of sorts.
Biplab Roy Choudhary’s take on the role of media in influencing the vote in LS elections 2014 is discerning. It says that parties lose control over candidates who hire their own political consultants – often not mentioning their parties in campaigns. That the media acted as a matchmaker between creators’ perceptions and audience’s perceptions is an acute observation. Also, the concept of the “spiral of silence” from opponents’ after the first favourable opinion poll and the “bandwagon effect” of subsequent polls puts things in perspective.
The highlight of this volume is a paper by Prof. ( Dr. ) Pavitra Shrivastava and Prof. C K Sardana on “ Media - changed and changing role”.It avers that media has to be both proactive as well as reactive viz. have curtain raisers and follow ups. Its duty is to bring in the marginalised into focus. The duo has done a yeoman ’s service by underlining media’ s role in highlighting subjects like growing population, shrinking agricultural land, environmental degradation and the misuse of discretionary funds by elected representatives.
Mr Rajesh Das’ paper on Media mapping in SAARC region for development gives highly implementable suggestions such as having a daily SAARC news bulletin, hosting a SAARC documentary film festival and creating a SAARC news agency. One can only hope that policymakers take note of it so that, in South Asia, have a shared vision and project a common view of the world. It is significant since our destinies are interlinked.
Written in a lucid style, the compendium covers many case studies thereby bringing investigation into play.“ Media governance and cultural issues” has been edited professionally to proportionately range from mainstream media to new media .
Snehasis Sur has underlined the critical role of Public broadcaster which is slipping away, largely in the absence of a revenue model and also due to a lack of will on the part of government. Moreover , in Archan Mitra and Aditi Singh Roy’s paper marks the paucity of research in public service advertising . Besides , it brings up the aspect of audience viewpoint in media governance – which is almost unheard of in media discussions in India.
Also, the oft overlooked aspect of the relation of Media with NGOS has been studied indepth. Both aspects of advocacy and activism are brought out in Jhilum Roy Chowdhary’s paper on NGO’s and Advocacy and Kunal Roy’s on NGO - Media interface respectively. Roy Chowdhary mentions the latest trends of Public relations among Ngo’s which include crowd funding and online petitions. Kunal sees a complementary role for Media in developmental activities albeit with caution.
This well researched volume covers the entire span from past into the future via the present . From the traditional democratic participatory communication in Santhal villages being vitiated by vested interests of modern politics to a well planned response of India to the problem of Climatic change and prediction of a bright future of Indian Cinema in the complete timeline is covered . According to Amartya Saha, the role of mass media is critical in creating awareness about climate change and sustainable living. Mugdha Sengupta refers to the digitisation in cinema governance as a pointer to its bright future.
Of course, not all the papers match up to a uniformly high standard but being uneven is in the nature of any compilation. Perhaps better printing could’ve made this volume even more reader friendly.. However, it would be fair to say that “Media governance and cultural issues” brings out a continuum of concerns in the relationship. The volume offers hints to the resolution of most of these. All in all , the linkage between media governance and cultural issues has been deconstructed . It is likely to spawn a flurry of work to further decode it .
10, Indus Empire, Bhopal