Serbia envoy tells journalism students ‘freedom of Press key pillar of democracy’ 

Brazil Embassy secretary says ‘pluralism common to India and Brazil’

By Sudeep Sonawane
Surat, February 11, 2022.

Freedom of the Press and speech, and good ethics are important for democracy, two representatives from the diplomatic corps in New Delhi told an online event organised by the International Chamber of Media and Entertainment Industry on Friday.
Other panellist included senior journalists, authors, a former state governor, a film-maker, a photographer and a motivational speaker at the event moderated by Dr Shikha Verma Kashyap and co-ordinated by Marwah Studious Events Director Haripriya.
Marwah Studios President and AAFT University of Media and Arts Founder Chancellor Sandeep Marwah’s welcomed the speakers to the Webinar titled ‘Opportunities and Challenges for the Media’.
Speaking to the online assembly of 135 people comprising academia, journalists and journalism students, Republic of Serbia Embassy Charge de Affairs Sinisa Pavic said, “Freedom of the Press One is of the pillars of democracy. Journalists should be able to express freely their opinions.”
Encouraging journalism students, the Serbian Ambassador Designate said, “To be a successful journalist you must develop your own opinions. It is a challenging task. This is the beauty of journalism.”
Good journalist’s traits
Pavic shared his experiences of officially interacting with journalists mainly from Serbia. “The journalists I met developed their own style of writing and analysing issues. A good journalist must be capable, well informed, dig deep into history and have a deeper approach to his profession.”
Pavic lauded the photo exhibition screened before the ten panellists spoke at the event. He Praised Chancellor Sandeep Marwah’s approach to journalism education, teaching and developing communications skills of students.
Representing the Embassy of Brazil in India Secretary Daniel Kohler Leite said, “Brazil and India are pluralistic countries and very large democracies. Freedom of Press is one foothold of a democracy.”
Kohler worked for the Communications Department in Brazil before arriving in India and taking charge of the diplomacy section at the Embassy of Brazil in New Delhi. “I worked with many journalists while accompanying them on official visits. I could see they faced many challenges. The rise of the new media is one. Alternative media outlets often work without an editor, team or research. The challenge is creating regulation and as a diplomat, I emphasise the Declaration of human rights and other international mechanisms that ensure freedom of speech and freedom of Press. In Brazil our constitution ensures these rights. I believe it is the same in India.”
Diplomats depend on newspapers
Kohler expressed surprised at the huge number of media outlets in India, their pluralistic outlook and diverse opinions. “It is essential to keep this. It important to keep this work.” It is important for diplomats too he said, “As diplomats we tap into newspapers and news agencies to access information which is one of our main tasks to keep our government informed”.
Encouraging students Kohler said, “To keep up the good work though it is a challenging profession you have chosen. It is one of the main footholds of democracy, freedom of speech to ensure the liberty of all of us, guide public opinions and governments.”
Journalists’ dilemma
Film journalist and author Chaitanya Padukone said, “Media has infinite opportunities. Journalists should grab opportunities.” Among the challenges, he said, “Journalists are often under pressure from celebrities, politicians and police to tone down news report. They are in a dilemma whether to report a sensational story or a scandal. They often have to take an ethical call of not reporting something sensitive.”
Instant and constant journalism of breaking news is another challenge said Padukone. “It is going on at breakneck speed. Every journalist wants to be the first to break news. This one of the biggest challenges for the journalist.”
“Journalism is a thankless task,” Padukone said and quoted Amitabh Bachchan who told him “do not blame the messenger when the message is bad” while presenting him an award at an event.
Joining the webinar from Dallas, motivational speaker SmilyMukta Ghoshal said, “I don’t believe journalism is dying. I hope all journalism students have passion because it is a perfect job to reach out to audiences.”
Personalised news
ASM Group of Institute Chairman Dr Sandeep Pachpande said the news industry currently faces unprecedented uncertainty. “The social media has transformed how news is produced, distributed and accessed. It has had a profound effect on the way of working and economics of the industry.
“In the future journalism will see more personalised content. It will have intelligent algorithms, robo journalism and opportunity to experience news in different and immersive ways due to virtual and augmented reality. This has given rise to subscriptions as a revenue model. Thus shifting from conventional print and digital subscriptions to aggregators. Now many customers favour paying for personalised features and news. The challenges include ensuring the delivery of personalised news to consumers anytime, anywhere and in any language in the format of their choice.”

Former Governor of Chhattisgarh Dr Shekhar Dutt stressed the importance of training for journalism students at the online media event.

Encouraging students to be passionate about journalism International photographer Michelle David said, “Journalism is a way of life.”
Former Governor of Chhattisgarh Dr Shekhar Dutt stressed the importance of training for journalism students. “Do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do. If you do, you will go deep in every aspect that you are seeing and observing. There is a big difference in seeing and observing. A good journalist should observe and then analyse,” he advised them.
Growth of YouTube
Senior journalist and author Harish Chandra Burnwal said this age is the golden period of journalism. “Last year saw the launch of several national and regional television channels,” he said. He highlighted the exponential growth of YouTube channels and cited the success of independent journalists like Punya Prasun Bajpai and Abhisar Sharma. “The business of journalism has grown because of social media which has given opportunities.” Among the challenges he listed disinformation, fake news, intolerance, radicalisation and trolling journalists who write news that sections of citizens do not like.
Importance of credibility
Editor of Deepak Parvatiyar recommended SWOT [Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats] analysis of journalism. “Let professionals do journalism. They have the skills and can distinguish between paid content and real news.”
On the closure of many newspapers, Parvatiyar said, “We live in an era of disruptions. They impact all, not just the media which has lost two thirds readership. More than 10 per cent newspapers have shut down. Many national newspapers have turned regional. Print journalism is sacrosanct because it is in black and white. Digital journalism gives scope to corruption because creators and users can make many changes to the content.”
He spoke on the importance of credibility. “Only journalists with credibility will succeed. There is only one mantra for credibility – verify your data. If you don’t confirm facts, you lose credibility and the trust of your audience irrespective of the platform.”
Journalist Lubna Asif said, The challenge of journalism is not to look at news from the prism of caste or religion. It should be fair and unbiased. Democracy and journalism go in tandem. If they do, both will flourish. “Many industrialists have taken over several media houses and they publish news that suit them and their business profitability,” she said.