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A round-table debate to mark the launch of the India Media Centre

The transformation of media in India – the world’s largest democracy and one of its fastest growing economies – has implications for media and communication globally. According to Goldman Sachs’ estimates, within a generation India will become the planet’s third largest economy, in terms of purchasing power parity. With 70 round-the-clock news channels – soon to touch three figures - unrivalled in any other country - India boasts the world’s most linguistically diverse media landscape, as well its largest film factory.

According to the World Association of Newspapers, sale of newspapers in India is booming – between 2000 and 2008 circulation grew by 46 per cent: every day more than 99 million copies of newspapers are sold in India, at a time when newspapers are closing down in the West on a regular basis. The Times of India now claims to be the world’s largest circulated ‘quality’ English-language newspaper. From FM and community radio to on-line media, journalists are finding new ways to communicate with a demanding and fragmenting audience, including a young and vocal, middle-class diaspora.

The study of journalism has not kept up with this massive expansion and proliferation of media outlets, although it has led to a mushrooming of mostly private, vocationally-oriented journalism institutes. The media revolution in India offers exciting opportunities, as well as challenges to professional journalists and scholars of international journalism. This raises some key questions: has marketization and competition encouraged journalists to move away from a public-service news agenda to a ‘soft,’ version of news, with its emphasis on consumer journalism, sports and entertainment? Is a market-driven news media eroding the public sphere in a Habermasian sense, in a country where a majority of the people still live in poverty? Given the scale and globalizing tendencies of media in India, what are the international implications of these developments for journalism?

Studying journalism in an international context is an important component of research at the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) of the University of Westminster, which was officially rated in 2008 as the UK’s top media research department. CAMRI hosts China, Arab and African Media Centres. The latest addition in this internationalization strategy is the India Media Centre, a collaborative project of CAMRI and the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), whose Director Rosie Thomas is Co-Director of the India Media Centre.

This round-table discussion will bring together journalists and journalism scholars to examine the changing contours of media in India and its impact on the rest of the world.

A round-table debate to mark the launch of the India Media Centre

Programme

3:00

Welcome and introduction

Dr Daya Thussu

Professor of International Communication

Co-Director of India Media Centre

University of Westminster

3:10

Keynote address

Dr Sarmila Bose

University of Oxford

3:25

Short presentations (5-7 minutes each)

Dr Chandrika Kaul

University of St. Andrews

Andrew Whitehead

Editor, BBC World Service News and Current Affairs

Hasan Suroor

Deputy Editor, The Hindu

4:00

Tea/coffee

4.15

Rita Payne
Commonwealth Journalists Association (UK)

Vijay Rana

Formerly BBC World Service

Dipankar De Sarkar

India Abroad News Service

4.45- 5.45

Discussion

Enquiries to Ranita Chatterjee at [email protected]