Department of Journalism and Mass Communication (MUJ) organized a day long International Seminar on “Media and Rural Development: Retrospect and Prospect,” to highlight the role of media in the development of rural areas recently. The seminar provided a platform for media academicians, working professionals, development experts, and researchers to exchange views on the challenges and potential of media in rural development. The seminar was organized in collaboration with Village Square. It is a journalism platform based on rural India. It is a that kind of journalism initiative which is dedicated towards different issues of rural India.
The seminar commenced with a warm welcome from Dean Dr. Komal Audichya, Faculty of Arts, who emphasized the crucial role of media in rural development. Dr. Audichya expressed her delight in hosting such an esteemed gathering and recognized the importance of media in addressing the unique challenges faced by rural communities.
On the occasion, the chief guest, Dr. Ram Mohan Pathak, brought attention to the pressing issue of the “Digital Divide,” emphasizing the existing disparity in digital access. Pathak urges attendees to explore alternative avenues like newspapers and community radio to ensure that local communities are not left behind in the digital age. Traditional media, such as newspapers, have long served as trusted sources of information, reaching diverse communities. By prioritizing newspaper distribution in digitally underserved areas, we can bridge the information gap and keep local audiences informed and engaged.
Dr. Sanjeev Bhanawat, associated with Manipal University Jaipur and UNICEF, emphasized the importance of media in addressing rural issues beyond basic necessities like electricity, water, and healthcare. He encouraged young journalists to read between the lines, utilize digital media creatively, and employ local songs such as “lokgeet” to raise awareness about various issues while popularizing regional music.
Dr. Vipul Mudgal, former editor at Hindustan Times and current Director of Common Cause, highlighted the interconnectedness of rural and urban issues. He shared anecdotes about media coverage of drought in Rajasthan, illustrating how resistance from advertisers affects the dissemination of crucial rural stories. Mudgal recommended the inclusion of millet in government-provided mid-day meals to combat malnutrition and other health problems faced by students who heavily rely on these meals.
The event witnessed the presence of distinguished speakers who shared their expertise and insights on the topic. Lyndee Prickitt, Director of Village Square, shed light on the issue of national media neglecting local news. She highlighted the vibrant and engaging nature of these stories, which are often disregarded by Indian media as “Worthy but Dull.”
Village Square Fellows Jyoti Thakur, Amir Malik, and Monika Marandi shared their valuable experiences in the second session of seminar. They highlighted the significance of grassroots journalism and its impact on rural development.
Seminar was concluded on a high note with a vote of thanks delivered by Dr. Vaishali Kapoor, Head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. Dr. Kapoor expressed gratitude to all participants, speakers, and attendees for their valuable contributions toward understanding the role of media in rural development.
The seminar provided a platform for fruitful discussions and presentations that aimed to inspire positive change in rural development. Manipal University and Village Square extend their gratitude to all the participants for their contributions to advancing the role of media in rural development.