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Areas of Work:

Teaching Media Policy and Law – A Faculty Workshop (South Zone)

A workshop on media pedagogy organized by ALF and CCMG to be held on the 24th and 25th of April, 2012 at National Law School of India University, Bangalore

Teaching Media Policy and Law

Current Issues in Media Environment and Challenges to Law

The landscape of the media, including the grammar of media forms themselves, has become increasingly complex due to intense transformations at the commercial, technological and cognitive orders of the media industries. But even as these changes imprint various facets of contemporary India, the field of media/communication studies has been unable to systematically engage with this transformation. This is principally because the standing emphases — thematic, conceptual and theoretical — in the teaching of mass com, journalism, media studies and media law are delinked from a critique of the evolving milieu.

To what extent does the umbrella term ‘policy literacy’ provide an entry point to start bridging the gap between media pedagogy and the media milieu? What are the appropriate forums to discuss and advocate issues concerning the broad field of media policy and law in India?

In some countries media regulators are taking an active interest in this direction–some like OfCom having a specific remit to promote media literacy[1]. In other cases, national, sectoral trade bodies have sought to address the pedagogical challenges arising out of the current media milieu. And in still other cases, international peer associations in the field of media studies have tried to take on this challenge–either by platforming the complexities of such concerns[2] or by transforming select concerns into concrete activities[3]. In parallel to all this, there have been attempts within academic institutions to bridge the silos of pedagogy and policy, although their trajectory and track record in India have been found wanting[4].

Background of the Workshop

The roots of the proposed interaction amongst faculty lie in the project Mapping Media Policy and Law underway at CCMG, JMI and ALF[5]. Driven by the core objective to promote Media Policy & Law as an academic field in India, this collaborative initiative has provided the opportunity to

· Rethink post-graduate syllabus of papers pertaining to themes in media policy and media law;

· Develop modules of classroom instruction and student exercises on such themes;

· Aggregate necessary documents/resources required to implement such modules & workshops;

· Conduct these modules in regular teaching programmes at CCMG and select other post-graduate courses[6].

After various cycles/iterations of developing, implementing and refining these pedagogical modules over the last 2 years, the project felt the need to broaden the constituency of its initiative. This need was buttressed by two other factors: first, recognising other initiatives at curriculum development/reform within the country; and second, recent debates in other quarters, be it research platforms[7], professional forums[8] and wider field of media education[9]. Thus, broadening this initiative beyond CCMG, JMI and ALF was as much to widen the ambit of pedagogical engagement with media policy and law (MPL) as to share experiences of teaching and curriculum with, and by, faculty from different parts of the country. This led to planning two workshops with post-graduate faculty, one each in the northern and southern regions, teaching various aspects of media policy and media law.

Scope of the Workshop

The workshops are to draw in faculty located in different disciplinary and institutional settings—i.e. mass comm/journalism departments, media studies departments & law schools, offering post-graduate degrees, diplomas or integrated LLBs. The first such workshop at Bangalore seeks to bring together change-agents in different academic settings in southern India to reflect on existing post-graduate teaching on themes connected with media policy and law. More specifically, the workshop aims to

· Understand the varying scope and subject matter of media policy & law as a field of inquiry and teaching;

· Review trends in teaching of Law and Media especially from the standpoint of media policy & law;

· Platform experiences of developing pedagogical experiments and teaching tools;

· Devise mechanisms to share teaching resources, tools and expertise;

· Think of ways to continue such structured interactions at periodic levels

Key Questions


How is media law variedly interpreted in the teaching of Law, Mass Comm/Journalism and Media Studies/Policy?
How has the near absence of policy studies (in other fields) in India impacted the teaching media policy?


Why does the doctrinal trap persist in the teaching of (media) law in Mass Comm/Journalism courses?
Why and how do (media) students outside law schools engage with case law?
What is the relevance of social science frameworks in courses like Mass Comm., Journalism and Law?


What concerns underlie recent experiments in pedagogy and creating teaching resources in media policy/law?
Has the spurt in media advocacy and legal activism imprinted curriculum themes and classroom emphases?
Has international collaboration or comparative research shaped approaches or issues in teaching media law/policy?


What could provoke a shift from an instrumental to an institutional perspective in teaching media policy/regulation?
What are the entry points to integrate themes in media policy/regulation in Law and Mass Comm/Journalism curriculum?


What is the efficacy of available teaching tools in the fields of media policy and media law?
What are the barriers to accessing and disseminating relevant teaching resources?

Structure of Workshop

Day 1: 24th April

1. Inaugural Session (9:30 am. to 11:30 am)

Welcome Address – Professor (Dr.) R. Venkata Rao, Vice Chancellor, NLSIU, Bangalore

Introduction to Workshop – Siddharth Narrain, Legal Researcher, Alternative Law Forum

Introduction to MPL Project -Vibodh Parthasarathi, Associate Professor, CCMG, Jamia Millia Islamia

Introduction to Ford Foundation’s Initiative – Ravina Aggarwal, Program Officer, Advancing Media Rights and Access Program, Ford Foundation

Keynote: “The Need for Paradigm Shifts in Media Pedagogy”, Sashi Kumar, Chairman, Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai

Chair: Professor Biswajit Das, Director, CCMG, Jamia Millia Islamia

Tea Break (11:30 am to 11:45 am)

2. Trends in Teaching (11:45 am to 1:15 pm)

The first session will lay out trends in the teaching of (media) law and media (studies) in India. The objective is to trace the expansion in teaching programmes, identify key shifts in pedagogical practices and changing emphasis in curriculum, including its links with responses to changing environment of media policy/law

“Teaching Law, Thinking Justice”, Professor Amita Dhanda, Dean of Academics, Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad

“Trends in Media Education in India”, Professor Biswajit Das, Director, CCMG, Jamia Millia Islamia

“Media Curricula in India: Some Preliminary Thoughts”, Professor (Dr.) Srikrishna Deva Rao, Registrar, National Law University, Delhi

Chair: Prof. Ravindran

Lunch Break (1:15 pm to 2:15 pm)

3. Media Forms & Political Contestations (2:15 pm to 3:45 pm)

This session will explore the relationship between media forms and political contestations, especially over forms of the state. What are the various questions of free speech that arise in different contexts over the years, whether it be in the newsprint cases of the 60s and 70s or the rising clamour around political and social censorship today? The panelists will explore the research canvas while also delving into pedagogical concerns.

“Unruly Ideas and Unlawful Associations: Themes in a Legal History of Press Freedoms”, Kalyani Ramnath, Visiting Faculty, National Law School of India University, Bangalore

“Notes on Circulation”, Daniel Elam, Northwestern University, USA

Chair: (Dr.) Srikrishna Deva Rao

Tea Break (3:45 pm to 4 pm)

4. Understanding Regulatory Governance (4 pm to 5:30 pm)

Despite the expansion in the teaching of both media and law in India over the last decade, themes in Regulation and Governance, common to both subjects, appear under- and/or un-addressed in curriculum of each. This session will platform initiatives to develop curriculum/workshop modules in on these themes and weigh the possibilities of synergising efforts across media and law courses.

“Teaching Lawyers Regulatory Theory: What a Media Regulation Course Can Do”, Chinmayi Arun, Assistant Professor, National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

“Is a Medium Neutral Media Regulation Policy Viable?”, Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Professor of Law, Azim Premji University, Bangalore and Founder, Centre for Law and Policy Research, Bangalore

“Mapping Media Policy Shifts: Grappling with Re-Regulation”, Aradhana Sharma, Project Fellow, Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

Chair: Ravina Aggarwal

Day 2: 25th April

5. Approaches to Pedagogy (9:30 am to 11.45 am)

This session brings together a diverse range of teaching practices, with the panelists sharing their perspectives on dealing with student engagement and evaluation practices.

“Teaching Media Laws and Policy: Different Possibilities”, Padma Rani, Associate Professor, Manipal Institute of Communications, Manipal

“Teaching Cyberpolitics: Grappling with Pedagogical Issues”, Kannamma Raman, Reader in Public Administration, Department of Civics and Politics, Pherozeshah Bhavan and Research Centre, University of Mumbai

“Experiments in Media Law and Pedagogy”, K.V. Nagesh, Assistant Professor, Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai

“A Review of the Curriculum and Pedagogy of Media Law and Ethics in Communication Schools in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry”, Shuaib Haneef, Assistant Professor, Department of Mass Communication, Pondicherry University

“The Students versus Larry Flynt: Popular Culture as a Pedagogic Approach”, Danish Sheikh, Legal Researcher, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore

Chair: Prof. Amita Dhanda

Tea Break (11.45 am to 12 pm)

6. Teaching Tools – I ( 12 pm to 1 pm)

In an environment where information is available in abundance, the idea of pedagogy constantly calls for re-examination. While government and private organisations are increasingly creating/putting-out information/archives and most educational institutions have been quick to provide students access to such information, it is vital for teachers to creatively engage with these sources as learning tools.

“Moot Point: Mooting as a Tool to Teach Media Law”, Geetha Hariharan and Sahana Manjesh, IV Year, B.A., LL.B. (Hons.), NLSIU, Bangalore

“Adhoc Learning in an Online World”, Sushant Sinha, Indian Kanoon, Bangalore

Chair: Chinmayi Arun

Lunch Break (1 pm to 2 pm)

7. Teaching Tools – II (2 pm to 2.45 pm)

“Educate Media: Empower People”, Dr. Madabhushi Sridhar Acharyulu, Professor of Law and Coordinator, Center for Media Law and Policy, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad

“Connecting Beyond the Classrooms: Social Media in Higher Education Spaces”, Biju P.R., Assistant Professor and HoD, Department of Political Science, Government Brennan College, Thalassery, Kannur, Kerala

Chair: Chinmayi Arun

8. Interdisciplinarity (2.45 pm to 4 pm)

How do educators counter the doctrinal trap that confinement to a particular discipline might result in? This session will engage with pushing the traditional boundaries of the discipline of media law and policy beyond the study of doctrine, exploring how insights of other disciplines may be used to enrich the pedagogy of this field.

“Some Reflections on the Alternative Approaches to the Pedagogy of Media Law and Policy”, Professor Gopalan Ravindran, Head, Dept. of Journalism and Communication, University of Madras

“Reframing Media Law: Interdisciplinary Challenges”, Lawrence Liang, Legal Researcher, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore

Chair: Vibodh Parathasarathy

Concluding Remarks

[1] Salomon, E. (2009) ‘The Role of Broadcasting Regulation in Media Literacy’, in D. Frau-Meigs & J. Torrent (Ed.) Mapping Media Education Policies in the World, UNESCO, New York (pp.197-209) p207-208

[2] ‘India and Communications Studies’, Pre-Conference at ICA-Chicago, May 20-21, 2009 (see

[3] For instance, see the IAMCR-led Global Media Policy initiative

[4] For a recent overview of these trends in India, see B. Das & V. Parthasarathi (2011) ‘Media Research and Public Policy: Tiding Over the Rupture’, in R. Mansell & M. Raboy (Ed.) The Handbook on Global Media and Communication Policy; Blackwell, London (pp.245-260)

[5] Kindly see Project Design presentation, Annexure 1

[6] Sikkim by CCMG , St. Josephs and Mount Carmel College in Bangalore by ALF.


[8] Foundation for Media Professionals & Network of Women in Media, India

[9]UNESCO’s recent initiative In particular, see B. Das (2009) ‘Media Education as Development Project’, in D. Frau-Meigs & J. Torrent (Ed.) Mapping Media Education Policies in the World, UNESCO, New York

Areas of Work: