N. Murali, the president of The Music Academy, Chennai, and Senior Managing Director of Kasturi and Sons Limited, said here on Sunday that though the media had a large role to play in propagating classical music, “the onus cannot entirely be on the media to preserve and propagate classical music.”

He stressed the need for the education system to inculcate classical music in the youth. “Unless some awareness is built up in the education system itself as part of curriculum or as extra-curricular activity, I think it is very difficult to draw youth to classical music. The media can act only as a catalyst.”

He was speaking on ‘Media as a shaping influence in music' during a two-day seminar on ‘Approaches to melody, rhythm and languages' at the National Centre for the Performing Arts here.

The panellists who participated in the discussion with him were writer and critic Shanta Gokhale, and writer and singer Amarendra Dhaneshwar.

Mr. Murali said though the media was often led by the market in the present liberalisation era, it should be more discerning.

“Everything that the media does should not be guided only by commercial purposes.”

Some worrying trends were catching up in the newspaper industry like a lack of reviews of concerts. “It is easier to criticise the large media houses, but even readers have changed their preferences and lifestyle. These trends also reflect society or the environment in which the media itself functions.”

Newspapers and the media should have columnists and experts from outside who would bring expertise to the reviews. The artists were not very kind towards any negative review. “[But] so long as it [the review] is objective and its critics are independent, the media should not mind adverse reaction [from the artist].”

Ms. Gokhale said the authoritative voice of the critic in the media could no longer exist. She gave an example of a write-up in The New York Times where the article suggested that the critics should write in a lighter and sharing voice than an authoritative voice so that the readers could find it interesting.

Educative role

She said the media could perform the educative role in various ways and not just by writing reviews.

Mr. Dhaneshwar said though the time given to classical music on television and space in newspapers had declined considerably, the impact of flashes of a few seconds on the TV could not be ignored.