On Sunday morning, a group of digital experts, activists and academics specialising in the field of digital media and policy gathered here to discuss the many facets of the growing digital media juggernaut.
The sessions dealt with legal policy and regulation, understanding digital media and applying it to social activism, and the growth of digital journalism.
Organised by the Alternative Law Forum, Maraa and the Centre for Internet and Society, the one-day public consultation titled ‘Mapping digital media’ had experts mooting a fresh and holistic approach to media laws.
Tracing the history of free speech in India, Lawrence Liang of the Alternative Law Forum said that despite a decent history of respecting or enabling free speech, our understanding of the importance of questions of ownership and control of infrastructure is poorer.
“We need more evidence-based research as we live through this transition to the digital world to make its way and inform public debate and policymaking. Currently, a lot of our understanding of the digital media is either hyperbolic or far too dismissive of it,” Mr. Liang said.
The consultation revolved around discussing a December-2012 report ‘Mapping digital media’.
Mathew John, a legal professor, suggested the creation of autonomous regulatory bodies as a means of creating a public platform that is independent of government and private control.
Ownership of communications infrastructure, ownership of airwaves and identifying beneficiaries of communications were shaping the nature of activism, remarked Arjun Venkatraman of CG-Net.