People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 47

November 30, 2008


EMS Academy Hosts Party Media School

Towards Setting Peoples' Agenda: Changing Role Of Media

V Srinivasa Rao

IN the era of globalisation, the role of media has changed drastically in both technical and professional areas. Due to the availability of information through various channels like internet, SMS etc., readers and viewers of media also want to be informed accurately and on time. With the advent of 24-hour news channels, the character of print media is also changing. Most of our Party media in various states is mainly dependent on the print media.

Twenty years ago when the discussion on Party media had come up, a broad understanding was reached: 'Party newspapers should be run as comprehensive news papers and not confine themselves to just expressing views'. Lot of changes had taken place in our Party media after that. New machines with multi-colour printing were introduced, our offices were fully computerised with high-brand width networking in the technical side and new editions were started together with the introduction of district editions. Even though all these developments have taken place, our media is still lagging behind because of the high costs and skills. As far as professional skills are concerned in-house training methods are introduced. Apart from training, regular reviews were also helping us to rectify our mistakes and shortcomings from time to time. But this development is not uniform. Particularly the periodicals that are run in the weaker states are lagging behind in various aspects.

During this period, the media in general has changed a lot. Every newspaper is expressing its own views in the front-page 'news items' itself. Special stories, cooked up to serve their own agendas are being published. All these years, bourgeoisie media is affectively interacting with the readers and influencing them with their 'news'. Taking into consideration all these changes, a year and half ago the in-charges of Party media met and discussed about these trends.

In this context Party decided to hold a school and workshop for comrades working in Party media. The school was held from November 1-3, 2008 in EMS Academy, Thiruvanantapuram. 87 comrades attended from various dailies, weeklies and Party periodicals. Sitaram Yechury while inaugurating the school dealt with the forms and methods of media in the era of globalisation. He emphasised the need for strengthening the Party media both professionally and technically. He also explained about the implications of financial crisis and how the bourgeoisie media had reported it to serve its interests. He directed the comrades working in the Party media to monitor the news content-that which is useful to the people and the country and that which is not. He also explained the need of timely interference and the developments taking place in mass movements. He stated that this is the right time to place peoples' agenda affectively on the basis of real mass issues.

V Srinivasa Rao, member of Central Secretariat presented a review report since the last meeting. On the basis of this report, a discussion was held in two stages: in the first stage, state-wise and in the second stage theme-wise discussion was held. Delegates were divided into six groups to discuss on the themes such as news resources, agitation-propaganda methods, lay-out design, managerial issues etc. Finally Sitaram Yechury summed up these discussions. In his concluding remarks he exhorted the comrades to explore the opportunities available in the current situation and also advised to follow offensive ideological positions to counter imperialist globalisation propaganda and for social progress to make use of the present favourable situation.

On the second day, there were three lectures exclusively on professional subjects. Dr K Nageshwar, Professor in Journalism, Osmania University, Hyderabad explained about media and social responsibility. Prominent journalist and reporter of Frontline, Parvathi Menon presented a paper on recent trends in journalism. M A Baby, member of the Central Committee presented a paper on media and globalisation. These three subjects gave an idea on the present trends in the field of journalism and specific responsibilities of journalists working with a pro-people agenda.

On the last day, Nilotpal Basu took a class on recent political developments and the stand of CPI (M). In the evening, Deshabhimani, Malayalam daily hosted the delegates in their headquarters in Thiruvanatapuram. On this occasion, delegates interacted with the editorial staff and managers of Deshabhimani. This interactive session helped them understand various aspects.

This three-day workshop was a good experience to all those who attended the classes. Delegates hoped that even though this is a modest beginning, workshop and classes of this type would certainly help them a lot. CPI(M) Kerala state committee, EMS Academy and Deshabhimani made all the arrangements for this workshop and classes to ensure that the delegates do not face any difficulties.