Tamil Nadu

Experts optimistic about future of media and freedom of expression

Vinod Surana, CEO, Surana and Surana International Attorneys; Sashi Kumar, Chairman, Asian College of Journalism;  and N. Ram, Director, The Hindu Publishing Group, at a panel discussion on ‘The Future of Expression’ in Chennai.

Vinod Surana, CEO, Surana and Surana International Attorneys; Sashi Kumar, Chairman, Asian College of Journalism; and N. Ram, Director, The Hindu Publishing Group, at a panel discussion on ‘The Future of Expression’ in Chennai. | Photo Credit: K.V. SRINIVASAN

A panel of experts from the media and legal fraternity on Saturday expressed optimism about the future of journalism and freedom of expression while acknowledging the severe challenges being faced in India and other parts of the world.

Addressing a panel discussion, organised by Surana & Surana International Attorneys and Asian College of Journalism (ACJ) here on ‘The Future of Expression’, Sashi Kumar, chairman, ACJ and Media Research Foundation, said that although one cannot have the benefit of hindsight now, the situation looks positive overall.

He said the media is more democratic than it was earlier because of technological advancements. It is no longer an ivory tower from where some decided what the public should see. He predicted that the media will have to provide more emphasis on providing context and perspective, going forward.

In his keynote address prior to the panel discussion, he juxtaposed the first amendments made respectively to the Constitution of the United States in 1791 and the Constitution of India in 1951 to show how the former provided constitutional protection of freedom of speech and freedom of press, while the latter compromised the same.

N. Ram, director, The Hindu Publishing Group, said the role and importance of mainstream media became visible during the COVID-19 pandemic as the public relied on them for credible information amid the barrage of misinformation and disinformation.

He said that while some people tend to compare the present situation in India to that of the period when the Emergency was in force, the latter period was very different and had total censorship. He added that despite all the attacks on the media and minorities and the religious tension prevailing in the country at the moment, there are still spaces available to express and negotiate.

Highlighting the importance of formal training for journalists, he said the role of academic institutions, like ACJ, in the field of media is crucial now more than ever. He said the academia played a qualifying and refining role in journalism. He said tackling of misinformation and disinformation will continue to be a key challenge for journalism in the future.

Vinod Surana, managing partner and chief executive officer, Surana & Surana International Attorneys, moderated the discussion.


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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 8:52:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/experts-optimistic-about-future-of-media-and-freedom-of-expression/article65517904.ece