The inaugural session of the third edition of The Media Rumble, being held at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, commenced with an address by Sanjoy K. Roy (Managing Director, Teamwork Arts) followed by an introductory speech by Madhu Trehan (Editor in Chief, Newslaundry).
Sanjoy began by saying that a strong and accountable media plays one of the most important roles in any democracy and that we too, as citizens, have a certain responsibility to uphold. “If we keep quiet, the others win,” he commented and struck a chord amongst audiences.
He mentioned that through the years, news has been evolving in terms of content and scope and making sense of everything that is happening tends to get complicated. The Media Rumble, with the support of Newslaundry, had been set up to dissect the news of our times and get a picture of true journalism. This two-day confluence is a convergence of news, ideas, ideologies and discussions. In an age where print and broadcast tend to be flooded with tabloid, if one is willing to get news that is rid of biases, one needs to pay for it, Sanjoy said.
Madhu Trehan remarked there has never been a better time to talk about issues related to journalism, considering the fact that the credibility of the institution has been questioned. Journalists tend to become subjects themselves rather than making their stories the subjects of exploration. As those who are supposed to be exposed continue to own the institutions, media also fails to speak truth to power. She raised some key factors that play a critical role in the evolution of the industry, including citizen journalism, technology and, most importantly, social media and its importance in amplifying invisible voices. She raised a red flag on the instant credibility being granted to posts on social media by untrained and unskilled self-styled news-gatherers and commented how it has almost become like “I post. Therefore, I am!”
Trehan spoke about the importance of diversity in a robust democracy and how journalism can only thrive in a democracy. This led the way to talking about the two comprehensive reports on caste and gender representation that are being released at the forum in partnership with Oxfam and UN Women respectively. Madhu mentioned that the research had been done on a scale never attempted before for the media. The scope of the reports was wide and analysed representation across leadership positions, op-ed pages, debate panels and more.