Anamika Ray Memorial Trust Lecture on media literacy at Gauhati University

Jatin Srivastava, associate professor, EW Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University, US, delivered the Anamika Ray National Media Lecture at the Gauhati University on Saturday.

While addressing the gathering on the topic ‘Media Literacy as Active Citizenship: An Argument’, Srivastava said that media literacy might prove to be an instrumental factor in dealing with challenges and it could pave way for a more active and engaged citizenship.

On the functioning of the media, Srivastava said, “The media may be vulnerable to biases, but it is also indispensible for a healthy democracy. Media can be very biased, because it is controlled by some unidentified forces who try to establish their agenda.”

The lecture was organised by Anamika Ray Memorial Trust (ARMT) in collaboration with the Department of Communication and Journalism, Gauhati University.

On the role of social media in the contemporary socio-political environment, Srivastava said, “Social media may have significantly altered the relationship between the political class and the mainstream media. In a democratic country like India, social media can be used as a facilitator of social awakening, and on the contrary, its disruptive action that pose a serious challenge to the functioning of a democracy.”

Srivastava spoke about the ‘#MeToo’ movement, which he said that has biasness as it doesn’t raise the questions of vulnerable sections.

“For example, does a domestic female worker or the marginalised people are included in the movement and have any recourse to social media?” he said.

In his inaugural address, Gauhati University vice chancellor Mridul Hazarika said, “I have a doubt that whether the ethical component and business can go together in media as media is dominated by businesses. Sometimes due to external forces values need to be compromised. Moreover, the unbiased citizen can be part of active citizen which is positive in the context of development of the country.”

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