INDIAN MEDIA LITERACY: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF TELEVISION EXPERIENCES FROM ITV TO IPTV
Television in India passes fifty years’ service. We have a lot of studies available on its various impacts and status. The television began in India amazingly. It was an idiot box once. But the scene is changed. It is a most wanted pet in almost all parts of the nation. Both towns and villages keep the ‘box’ as a special part of socio cultural life. As all historians point out, television began as a medium for instruction, now it is termed for information, entertainment, and infotainment and for commercials. The instructional purpose is minimized and other areas developed in a large way. The extended use of television creates a new enthusiasm and cultural entity. Positive and negative impacts are identified by researchers and critics. City folk and village people swallow what they get from media; especially from television is the new custom. The hidden agenda behind media content is not a concern to the normal television watchers. We have to critically evaluate the present situation and media environment.
To analyse the historical development of television in India
To internalize the role of instructional television in India television scene
To identify impacts of television in social life
To evaluate role of television commercial in promoting consumerism
To analyse the influence of television over children
To find out the relevance of media literacy among Indian learners
To create critical thinking regarding media content
To emphasize the importance of media education
Television in India
While searching the grass roots of developments in television transmission in India, the researcher may fall in a face- to – face with a myth and of course a reality. The birth of television in India is considered as the birth of an “unwanted child”. An international exhibition was conducted in Delhi. It was a leading concern dealing with electronics demonstrates the function of a closed circuit television. After the exhibition, the firm was trapped in a dilemma whether the television sets return back or put it in India. Considering the impracticable and uneconomic effort to carry the equipment back, the firm preferred to offer it as a gift to the government of India. India government had no other alternative. So the government machinery planned out to utilise the sets on an experimental basis. As early as 1956 the government of India was in contact with international organisation like the UNESCO. A proposal regarding establishment of a pilot television centre for educational, scientific and cultural purposes was designed. The emergence of television in India became a reality on September 15, 1959 with one hour experimental service twice a week. The main purposes of this initiative were “educate, inform and entertain the masses” In his inaugural speech Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the President of India stated “hope television will go a long way in broadening the popular outlook and bringing people in line with scientific thinking”. The words of the great visionary became a practice of modern India. Television is the most influential medium in our current society. Secondary School television The senior secondary school students of Delhi enjoyed the strength and weakness of a unique medium in teaching learning process through the Secondary School television project. The project started on experimental basis in October 1961. Students of Class XI were taught Physics, Chemistry, English and Hindi. Teacher presenters made syllabus-based lectures on different topics. The programmes telecasted in school hours which became part of school activities. Television became an amazing equipment to help them in learning. The telecasts helped the school authorities to meet shortage of laboratories, space, equipment and scarcity of qualified teachers in Delhi. According to Paul (1968) ‘by and large, the television schools did somewhat better in the test then did the non-television schools’. Delhi Agriculture Television (DATV) Project India’s agrarian society faced a shift from traditional agricultural practices to the modern style using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. To popularize the new method, mass education and campaign became a need. To assure the dissemination of information regarding the new agricultural policy and its practice, government of India introduced a television instructional programme: Delhi Agriculture Television (DATV) Project. Communicating agricultural information to the farmers was the paramount target of the project. The project concept is localized by naming it as Krishi Darshan. The project initiated on January 26, 1966 on experimental basis for the 80 selected villages of Union territory of Delhi. Community viewing of television and further discussions among themselves were the major strength of the project. Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) is one of the pioneer experiments in Indian television scenario where television is used for social causes. The experiment became a tool for mass education through various programmes designed exclusively for the project. The programmes concentrated on education, agriculture, health and family planning. It was the first experiment to telecast educational programmes direct from satellite to receivers The earth stations at Delhi and Ahmedabad telecasted four hours programmes every day. Programmes are classified into two: Educational Television (ETV) and Instructional Television (ITV).Educational television programmes designed for school children. Such programmes focused on education. Broadcasted 1.5 hours programme on working days at school hours. Students are exposed to these programmes as part of the school activity. The television hours were used for teacher empowerment in holidays. Varieties of content developed to train teachers through the facilities provided by the project. Almost 10000 primary school teachers became part of the training programmes. Adults are exposed to Instructional television. Majority of the adults were illiterates. The village folk assembled around television sets in evenings. The project broadcasted 2.5 hours programmes in every evening. It was a prime time channel to the adult stake holders. Programmes focused health, hygiene, family planning, nutrition, improved agricultural practices and events of national importance. The experiment practiced in 2400 villages spread over six selected regions in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Kamataka. Besides the villages, certain towns also got the programmes through earth transmitters. ETV and ITV used local languages like Hindi, Oriya, Telungu and Kannada. All India Radio personnel planned and produced programmes at the production centers setup in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Cuttack. A committee included central and state government representatives, experts from universities, teacher training colleges and social workers helped the production team. Special committees on education, agriculture, health and family planning formed to support the production groups. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) set up its own Audio -Visual Instruction Division to plan and produce programmes for SITE. SITE is a result of a recommendation by the UNESCO expert mission in 1967. As per the request of government of India, UNESCO undertook a feasibility study for a project in satellite for communications. The feasibility study conducted between November 18, 1967 and December 08, 1967. Following the UNECO report, three Indian engineers visited USA and France in June 1967 to get first hand exposure to the technical aspects. Government of India set up the National Satellite Communications Group (NASCOM) in 1968 to lead possible utilizations of synchronous communication satellite. The group consisted cabinet ministers, representatives of ISRO and All India Radio. The NASCOM recommended using ATS-6 satellite for communication purposes. AT-6 is a second generation satellite developed by NASA for an experiment in educational television. To practice the recommendation, Department of Atomic Energy made an agreement with National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) of US for the loan of a satellite for one year in 1969. As per the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries, the objectives of the project were divided into two parts—general objectives and specific objectives. The general objectives of the project were to: Gain experience in the development, testing and management of a satellite-based instructional television system particularly in rural areas and to determine optimal system parameters
Demonstrate the potential value of satellite technology in the rapid development of effective mass communications in developing countries Demonstrate the potential value of satellite broadcast TV in the practical instruction of village inhabitants
Stimulate national development in India, with important managerial, economic, technological and social implications. Using the facility SITE commenced its operation on August 01, 1975. The experiment became a great success. Villagers received the project whole heartedly. For the entire year people gathered around television sets and watched programmes eagerly. In the midst of demands from Indian villagers, journalists and others NASA shifted its ATS-6 satellite away from India. Thus the project concluded in July 31, 1976 remaining sweet memoirs of television realities. Technologically the experiment put forward an insight and the demands took a positive initiative to develop own satellite for communications. After tiresome jobs, ISRO developed Indian National Satellite system. In August, 1982 India launched satellite. Kheda Communication Project Kheda is a small district in central Gujarat. The district comprises more than 1000 villages. These villages became one of the important milk producing centers in India as an impact of ‘white revolution’. For empowering the rural community, an instructional television project was introduced. The experiment is named as Kheda Communication Project. Social evils were addressed in this special television experiment. The project was in operation under the charge of the Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad. The Development and Education Communication Unit (DECU) of Space Application Center (CAS) is involved in the conception, definition, planning, implementation and socio-economic evaluation of space applications. To implement the experiment, 650 community television sets had installed in 443 villages. The television sets were owned by the community and maintained by the state government. The sets kept in the buildings of the Milk Producer’s Co-operative Society, schools or the Panchayath ghar. The low power transmitter established in Pij village, about 50 KMs south from Ahmmedabad. This transmitter connected to a local studio, a satellite earth station in Ahmedabad and the local Doordarshan studio. By these arrangements, Kheda Communication Project enhanced to broadcast both local productions and national satellite television programmes. Dooradarshan and the Space Application Centre produced programmes for over an hour every day. Programmes focused on alcoholism, caste discrimination, minimum wages, family planning, gender discrimination and cooperatives. Television serials, folk drama, puppet shows and other popular formats used for local productions. Villagers worked for the project as actors, script writers, directors and visualizers for the programme production teams. Constant interaction with the people was the distinct characteristic of this project. Programmes designed in charotari, a dialect of Guajarati. One of the early serials Chatur Mota (wise elder) on dowry and widow remarriage became an “extremely popular serial”. In the weekend series for women, the most successful were Dadi ma Ni haton (wise women’s talks), Hun Ne Mara Ae (I and my husband) and Jagi Ni Jus to (When I wake up and see).
The focus of Kheda Communication Project was:
Exposing the oppression and bondages in the present social and economic system in such a way as to heighten understanding.
Mobilizing the community and the individual himself to break away from these bondages.
Promoting self-reliance among the individuals and the community.
The project commenced its operation in 1975 and closed in 1990. UGC-Higher Education Television Project (HETV) The concept of education became more hi-tech during the age of developments in television sector. Classrooms transformed into a wider range by the utilization of television medium for classroom transaction. The University Grants Commission started educational television project, on August 15, 1984. The project was popularly known as ‘Country wide Classroom’. Update, upgrade and enrich the quality of education while extending their reach were the aims of this unique educational project. Collaboration of INSAT assured technical perfection. A one-hour programme in English on a variety of subjects is presented. The objectives are general enrichment for undergraduates, educated public and the teachers as well. To ascertain high quality of programming, the inter-university Consortium for Education Communication (CEC) established. Audio-visual media Mass Communication Research Centers were set up by the UGC at different institutions. The chain of about 20 centers helped UGC to produce educational programmes for this project. Besides producing programmes at these centers, some programmes are imported from other countries. Such programmes are edited to co-op up with the Indian realities and needs of our students. University students, teachers and other learners are the stakeholders of this project. IGNOU-Doordarshan Telecast Distance learners are the sections of pupils who enjoy least opportunities to share educational content. Most of them are drop outs or employees who could not continue regular study. Though technological advancements are on the run of its top gear, these sections of learners are not a concern of the formal educators. Printed study materials are the only common access of content to them. To fill the gap, educational television designers introduced the audio-visual mode of contents. To support Distance learners the IGNOU-Doordarshan telecast programme started in May 1991. Initially they were telecast on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6.30 to 7.00 A.M through the national network of Doordarshan. The programmes provided tele-counselling to students of open universities in remote areas. Owing to the encouraging response from viewers, the frequency of this project was increased to five days a week. Jhabua Communication Project Jhabua is a remote hilly hinterlands region in Madhya Pradesh. The Jhabua district is noted for its large extension of tribal folks. Approximately 85% of population belongs to tribal communities. Majority of them remain illiterate. The literacy rate is 15%. The district is blessed with abundance of natural resources. But poverty is the face value of these peoples. They are the poorest ones of the state. Infant mortality rate is high. Transportation and communication facilities are very limited. Agriculture is the main source of revenue. To cater the development needs of the under developed sections of Jhabua region, a television experiment is introduced. The Development and Education Communication Unit (DECU) of Space Application Center (CAS), Ahmedabad launched Jhabua Development communications Project (JDCP) in the mid-1990s. Educational and entertainment values are merged in programmes. The edutainment programmes concentrated on live issues like agriculture, natural forestry, health, education, watershed management and local governance. The project assured active participation of local people of Jhabua villages. Jhabua Development communications Project is an evening television exposure. Every evening they got two hours programmes. This primetime edutainment venture trained village functionaries like teachers, angawady workers, panchayath members, hand pump operators etc. Interactive mode is used. Talkback terminals were utilized for training programmes. Twelve talkback terminals are installed in the block headquarters. The functionaries interacted with the Ahmedabad station officials and resource persons, asked question, provided feedbacks and reported on the progress of the project. Technically Jahbua Development communications Project utilized interactive satellite-based broadcast network. The project is supported by 150 direct reception instruments like dish, television sets, VCRs and other equipment. DECU uplinked programmes to the satellite from Ahmedabad and received at the Jhabua villages. Under the guidelines of DECU, the state government, Jhabua district administration, local panchayath governance and the Non-Government Organisations joined hands to implement the project. The project is a new milestone in the history of India’s development communication. Gyan-Darshan At the age of techno capitalism and convergence, educational system cannot stand apart from the needs of the upcoming generation. The government of India authorities realized the situation. Green signal for an exclusive educational channel illuminated. Ministry of Human Resource Development, Information & Broadcasting, the Prasar Bharati and IGNOU joined hands to launch the India’s educational television channel. Gyan Darshan (GD) opened its eyes on 26th January 2000. IGNOU became the nodal agency for up linking / transmission. Initially Gyan Darshan was a two-hour daily test transmission channel for students of open and conventional Universities. This duration increased in February to nine hours a day. The time slot transmission was further increased due to good response up to 16-hours by 1st June. By 1st November it turned out to be 19-hours channel. Within one year of its launching, 26th January 2001, it became 24 hours transmission channel for educational programmes. “The programming constitutes 23 hrs. Of indigenous programmes sourced from partner institutions and one hour of foreign programmes. Transmission of 12 hrs. Each for curriculum based and enrichment programmes is being made. The programmes of IGNOU, Central Institute Educational Technology (CIET) –National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) including National Open School are telecast for four hours each, Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) programmes for three hours, CEC-UGC programmes for two and a half hours and one hour each for TTTI and Adult Education.” (IGNOU Profile –2002) The signal for Gyan Darshan transmission are uplinked from the Earth Station (augmented as one plus one system for redundancy) set up at IGNOU Head Quarters, New Delhi, and downlinked all over the country through INSAT 3C on C Band Transponder. Reachability is the major hindrance that Gyan Darshan faces today. Gyan Darshan assures its presence in all Open Universities and most of the prominent conventional Universities /schools. But the programmes are not designed to transmit it in class rooms. It could not be a regular class room activity as secondary school television. The programmes of this channel are a supplementary material to enrich the know-how of the academic community. To reach to the door steps of learners through cable TV network is the only way to satisfy the needs of the channel. To cater the interest conscious effort is needed. At present Gyan Darshan covers about 90% in Kerala, most parts of Tamil Nadu, a few pockets in the North East, Nashik, Ahmedabad and Pune through the cable transmission. ViCTERS India became one of the pioneer edges of satellite based educational hub by its launching of EDUSAT. The exclusive educational satellite -EDUSAT for schools- explored positively at first by the educational department of Kerala by installing ViCTERS (Virtual Classroom Technology on Edusat for Rural Schools). The satellite assisted educational project was inaugurated by A P J Abdul Kalam, the President of India on 28th July, 2005 in Thiruvananthapuram. The project is being executed by IT@School Project of Government of Kerala. The channel’s operations are mainly intended to meet the demand for an Interactive Satellite based Distance Education system. ViCTERS offers interactive virtual classrooms that enable the school students as well as the teachers to directly communicate with the subject experts and educationists. It also ensures the dissemination of ‘high quality education’ to the students and teachers from the original source. The channel is equipped with arranging expert classes using the EDUSAT facilities. ViCTERS modes of operanti fall in interactive and non- interactive. The Interactive mode of ViCTERS is used for video conferencing. The mode is used for teacher empowerment programmes. This is the India’s first broadband interactive network for schools. The interactive mode is equipped with 116 Satellite Interactive Terminals (SITs). The main users of the facility under Thiruvananthapuram Hub are IT@School Project, Directorate of Collegiate Education, Directorate of Technical Education, CDAC, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, Directorate of IT Lakshadweep & CIMR. The non-interactive mode of ViCTERS is the complete educational channel. The channel is first of its kind in the country. The total education channel was inaugurated by Chief Minister of Kerala V.S Achuthananthan on 3rd August 2006. The channel telecast 17 hours programmes a day from 6 AM to 11 PM. ViCTERS telecasts specific curriculum based programmes, regional, national and international programmes on education especially on Science and Technology. The programmes are unique because of its efficiency in catering students’ and teachers’ needs. Almost all programs are aired on demand, sensitive to school curriculum and even timetable. According to the channel officials, the channel reaches out to as many as 12,500 schools and about 50 lakhs children. It covers almost entire households in the State. Target Group of ViCTERS is the educational community including teachers, students and parents. The Studio complex of ViCTERS was inaugurated on 10th February 2009 by Dr.Madhavan Nair, Chairman of ISRO. The up linking station and the state of art studio facility are located at the State Project Office premises of IT@School Project at Poojapura, Thiruvananthapuram. The Studio complex is equipped with modern post production units including Edit Suites, Graphic & Animation, Payout station etc. The channel is now available throughout the State through local cable and DTH networks, Receive Only Terminals and also via Live through internet at www.victers.itschool.gov.in, enabling the students, teachers and general public to watch the channel ‘LIVE’ through internet from any part of the world. Teletext Teletext is a communication system wherein text and graphics are transmitted as digitized signals through air broadcasting or cable channel for display on television set. The television functions like a computer terminal to retrieve textual information and graphics from remote database. The information is stored in centralized databases, sequenced and indexed in the form of pages of text or graphics. The signal can be transmitted over one-way cable or by air. The digitalized text messages or pages of information are continuously broadcasted in cycle. A viewer can access to all these messages on a given channel in cycle or through control unit. Major applications of teletext are: Teletext uses the television for information display, which is almost universally present in homes or community centers. Thus it has the potential to become mass media for imparting education to students in general and deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers in particular. Teletext provides the educational content in a very concise and effective manner and thus makes learning appealing, interesting and less burdensome. Further, the facility of quick updating keeps it is viewers informed of the recent happenings. It can be a very good media for career counseling along with providing information about courses-in-demand, hot careers, job opportunities, etc. Teletext uses in the area of education, agriculture, weather forecasting, farm management, libraries, and industries etc. would provide effective management of services. First form of Teletext was developed in the early 1970s by engineers at the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and ITC (then known as IBA), the regulating body of commercial networks in the United Kingdom. General specification regarding teletext was published in United Kingdom in 1974. First teletext service was put into practice for general public use only in 1976. Parallel to England’s teletext system, France proposed its own system – Antiope. This system introduced and used in 1977. Antiop was designed to transmit data over telephone lines. It failed to make use of many of the characteristics of the television signal. France’s another teletext service, Mintel overcame the limitations. During late seventies Canada developed a teletext service Telidon. It designed to produce high-quality graphics. This facility needed a complex decoder. The decoder was not commonly available to the consumer market at that time. The teletext system transformed World System Teletext (WST) by 1984. More than 30 countries now use the enhanced version of WST worldwide, utilizing decoders installed in television receivers. The service is available in five levels, with each level showing an increasing array of enhancements and graphics sophistication. The higher levels require more complex decoding devices with progressively larger memories capable of storing great numbers of teletext pages; thus, receivers capable of decoding levels three, four and five may cost somewhat more than their less-sophisticated counterparts. (NCAM, 2002) Teletext in India The Indian version of teletext service ‘INTEXT’ (Indian teletext) started on November 14, 1985 by the Doordarshan Delhi. Similar to other teletext system, the INTEXT data are organized into pages in the form of text and graphics. The information is pooled and transmitted on a few predetermined lines in vertical ’blanking’ interval of television signals. The content developed in the form of magazines. Each magazine contains about 100 pages. The first page contains the contents of the magazine like news items, sport events, financial trends, timings of arrival and departure of important trains, weather forecast, city engagements, All India Radio and Television programmes to be telecasted, etc. Teletext is a powerful medium for educational instructions; no such much explored experiments have been reported in India. The Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) The Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is new technology to provide multiple channel television content over the internet. The ‘IPTV solution uses the Internet Protocol (IP) to deliver live television programming as well as a variety of video content over broadband cable networks. Microsoft claims to have developed an advanced technology to compress the television signals so that they occupy one third of the bandwidth currently used in cable-based television delivery systems. Using Microsoft’s IPTV solution over the 60,000 km of fiber optic cabling that the company has installed in India… A technical note at Microsoft’s web resource on its television initiatives states that the IPTV system will allow live television channels as well as video-on-demand and other value added services to be delivered over networks at an average rate of around one megabit per second. The service provider can use internet protocol based Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexers (DSLAM) to route the rich video content through a special Digital Subscriber Line Modem to a subscriber’s television set via a set top box. DSL or its latest asynchronous avatar ADSL, is technology that allows television, telephone and internet traffic to coexist on the same cable. Reliance’s early teaming up with Microsoft will give it an edge in leveraging all those colored fiber optic cables lining the roads in major cities and motivate cable television operators to make the switch to this broader-band alternative. The company is building up its own development muscles, centered round the Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City in Navi Mumbai and this will come in handy to customize the Microsoft IPTV technology for ‘desi’ application. For the Indian consumer, the good news is that this country is now at the global cutting edge of internet based infotainment solutions: the huge entertainment market year-the world’s largest-makes this ideal testing ground for developers like Microsoft, of new delivery technologies. The not-so-good news is that IPTV will join the growing list of options dangled before harassed customers: first there was the half-baked Conditional Access Systems (CAS). Then came Direct to Home (DTH) the satellite to television set solution. (Courtesy: Anand Parthasarathy. The Hindu, October 13, 2003) Mediated Culture While we march from instructional television to internet protocol television a lot of change had happened. Technologically prestigious advancements are noted. We became one among the internationally appealing media markets. Gently the reflections happened in our attitude also. How does a child taught to ask for a particular brand of chocolate or tooth paste? Why do college students in Assam and Kerala tend to wear pretty much the same types of clothes? Why do they prefer same brands? Why do they tend to listen to the same types of music? Enjoy the same movies or television shows? Because they are exposed to many of the same media messages and images! Ours is a media driven society. With the emergence of cheap newspapers, magazines, paperback books, radio and television a new form of art made its debut, catering to the undeveloped tastes of massive. Its content is unsophisticated and simplistic. Confession magazine, popular time soap opera, reality shows, people participatory programmes like talkshaws and phone-ins, games show, comic strip and western movie are its typical forms. Thanks to new economic policy and liberalization, commercial revenue cumulated in media houses. Media managers are in war to invite maximum revenue to their own house. To attract advertisement providers, media giants are forced to make programmes as the ‘commercial bosses’ like it. This media output is an important part of popular culture. A term used to label such mass mediated art is the German word kitsch. It diminishes both folk and elite as it deprives its audience of interest in developing tastes for more genuine art forms. As media scholar David Buckingham tells, “The media do not offer us a transparent window on the world. They provide channels through which representations and images of the world can be communicated indirectly. The media intervene; they provide us with selective versions of the world, rather than direct access to it.” Moreover, it is mainly a tool for economic exploitation of the masses. Media Literacy The ability to read and write is commonly meant by the term literacy. Media literacy occupies a different meaning. It is a set of intellectual skills to think and act critically. Media literacy refers to the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media messages of all kinds. Analysis involves the critical scrutiny of media messages in order to understand the media’s role in popular culture. Creation involves choosing what to say in messages and how to say it effectively. As they analyse media products, they become more aware of the values, beliefs, and biases. Then the products exhibit the aesthetic considerations while they are at the end of a production. It will be reflected in the ways in which design was used to convey the message, shape meaning, sway opinion, and influence behavior. Step by step they learn to become increasingly discerning consumers of the media. They also learn the difference between an immediate reaction to a media message and a critical/questioning response to a media message. Instead of falling in to first impression and reflexes, they are resisting a purely emotional reaction and using their analytical skills to form an opinion. There are some other definitions to media literacy or media education. The Media Awareness Network of Canada describes media literacy as, “The process of understanding and using the mass media in an assertive and non-passive way. This includes an informed and critical understanding of the nature of the media, the techniques used by them and the impact of these techniques.” “It is no longer enough to simply read and write. Students must also become literate in the understanding of visual images. Our children must learn how to spot a stereotype, isolate a social cliché, and distinguish facts from propaganda, analysis from banter, and important news from coverage.” (Ernest Boyer, 2006) Media literacy is defined by The Ontario Curriculum, as “an informed and critical understanding of the nature of the media, the techniques used by them, and the impact of these techniques. Also, the ability to understand and use the mass media in an active, critical way.” (Grades 1-8: Language, 2006, p. 156) “Media education is the process of teaching and learning about media; media literacy is the outcome – the knowledge and skills learners acquire…. Media education therefore aims to develop both critical understanding and active participation. It enables young people to interpret and make informed judgments as consumers of media; it also enables them to become producers of media in their own right. Media education is about developing young people’s critical and creative abilities.” (Buckingham, 2001) Developing media literacy skills is not a usual routine of our curriculum. In non-formal education also it is not a well-practiced area in our environment. Why do we strive for media literacy? What are skills expected through media literacy programmes? Here is a list of Media literacy skills can help children, youth and adults: Understand how media messages create meaning Identify who created a particular media message Recognize what the media maker wants us to believe or do Name the “tools of persuasion” used Recognize bias, spin, misinformation and lies Discover the part of the story that’s not being told Evaluate media messages based on our own experiences, beliefs and values Create and distribute our own media messages Become advocates for change in our media system ( Introduction to media literacy P1, Media Literacy Project) Concepts regarding media literacy are under discussion. It will wary from time to time and region to region. But the impacts of media have some similarities all over the world. Cultural specific connotations are there in developing media content. Such specific issues should be considered while prepare media literacy curricula. Generally molded key concepts are universally accepted. Media Literacy Through Critical Thinking Student Workbook by Chris M. Worsnop lists five key concepts: Key Concept #1: All media are carefully wrapped packages. This key concept states that all media are constructions. That means that all media texts are carefully put together, just like roads, cars, and buildings. Sometimes what we like best about a text is the fact that it is so well manufactured. We love special effects in movies, for instance. At other times, we tend to forget that the media are carefully constructed, and we assume that texts are natural. We know that the shot in the rock video was probably rehearsed a dozen times and may even have been filmed many times before it looked just right, but we often forget that we know it. Key Concept #2: Media construct versions of reality. Did you see the Titanic sink? Have you heard Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech? Your answer to these questions might be a loud and confident “yes,” but Key Concept #2 tells you to think again. You may think you have experienced these events because you have seen a movie or a television program about them, but those are only versions of the events shown from one point of view. What we see in the media is almost never the real stuff. It is a version of reality. Often the media version is very close to the real event, but sometimes people who witnessed the event will tell you that the media version of it was nothing like the real event at all. Key Concept #3: Media are interpreted through individual lenses. The way that you make sense out of media texts may have you “thinking about it again” as you find different meaning or interpretations in media texts. Sometimes you’ll find yourself entering into a kind of negotiation with a text as you seek a satisfactory interpretation. You may “swing back and forth” from one opinion to another, trying to discover the meaning of the text or your own personal reaction to it. Key Concept #4: Media are about money. This key concept points out that media cost money to make. Like all businesses, the media industries are trying to make a profit. Even the news broadcasts! Good media students don’t forget that the media are trying to sell something: ideas, products, or even a way of life. It’s entertainment, for sure, but it’s also selling a product nearly all the time. Key Concept #5: Media promote an agenda. Media texts, like people, express values, an ideology, or a set of social and political beliefs. Often the attitudes of the media text are a reflection of the attitude of the person or people who made it. When you experience a media text, you can tell what its producers stand for, what they believe in, and what view of the world they are trying to present to you. (Media Literacy Through Critical Thinking Student Workbook. Produced by NW Center for Excellence in Media Literacy) Where does it possible? Media literacy education act as a watch dog or gate keeper in a media driven society. Overflowing media content which promotes consumerism and brand addictions is the current trend among youth. Mediated culture creates a novel world of exchanges. Media Literacy Project of United States of America perceives the avenue as media literacy education helps to develop critical thinking and active participation in our media culture. The goal is to give youth and adult greater freedom by empowering them to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media. In schools: Educational standards in many states — in language arts, social studies, health and other subjects — include the skills of accessing, analyzing and evaluating information found in media. These are media literacy skills, though the standards may not use that term. Teachers know that students like to examine and talk about their own media, and they’ve found that media literacy is an engaging way to explore a wide array of topics and issues. In the community: Researchers and practitioners recognize that media literacy education is an important tool in addressing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use; obesity and eating disorders; bullying and violence; gender identity and sexuality; racism and other forms of discrimination and oppression; and life skills. Media literacy skills can empower people and communities usually shut out of the media system to tell their own stories, share their perspectives, and work for justice. In public life: Media literacy helps us understand how media create cultures, and how the “media monopoly” – the handful of giant corporations that control most of our media – affects our politics and our society. Media literacy encourages and empowers youth and adults to change our media system, and to create new, more just and more accessible media networks. To practice media literacy education the following points should be considered: Media construct our culture. Our society and culture – even our perception of reality – is shaped by the information and images we receive via the media. A few generations ago, our culture’s storytellers were people – family, friends, and others in our community. For many people today, the most powerful storytellers are television, movies, music, video games, and the Internet. Media messages affect our thoughts, attitudes and actions. We don’t like to admit it, but all of us are affected by advertising, news, movies, pop music, video games, and other forms of media. That’s why media are such a powerful cultural force, and why the media industry is such big business. Media use “the language of persuasion.” All media messages try to persuade us to believe or do something. News, documentary films, and nonfiction books all claim to be telling the truth. Advertising tries to get us to buy products. Novels and TV dramas go to great lengths to appear realistic. To do this, they use specific techniques (like flattery, repetition, fear, and humor) we call “the language of persuasion.” Media construct fantasy worlds. While fantasy can be pleasurable and entertaining, it can also be harmful. Movies, TV shows, and music videos sometimes inspire people to do things that are unwise, anti-social, or even dangerous. At other times, media can inspire our imagination. Advertising constructs a fantasy world where all problems can be solved with a purchase. Media literacy helps people to recognize fantasy and constructively integrate it with reality. No one tells the whole story. Every media maker has a point of view. Every good story highlights some information and leaves out the rest. Often, the effect of a media message comes not only from what is said, but from what part of the story is not told. Media messages contain “texts” and “subtexts.” The text is the actual words, pictures and/or sounds in a media message. The subtext is the hidden and underlying meaning of the message. Media messages reflect the values and viewpoints of media makers. Everyone has a point of view. Our values and viewpoints influence our choice of words, sounds and images we use to communicate through media. This is true for all media makers, from a preschooler’s crayon drawing to a media conglomerate’s TV news broadcast. Individuals construct their own meanings from media. Although media makers attempt to convey specific messages, people receive and interpret them differently, based on their own prior knowledge and experience, their values, and their beliefs. This means that people can create different subtexts from the same piece of media. All meanings and interpretations are valid and should be respected. Media messages can be decoded. By “deconstructing” media, we can figure out who created the message, and why. We can identify the techniques of persuasion being used and recognize how media makers are trying to influence us. We notice what parts of the story are not being told, and how we can become better informed. Media literate youth and adults are active consumers of media. Many forms of media – like television – seek to create passive, impulsive consumers. Media literacy helps people consume media with a critical eye, evaluating sources, intended purposes, persuasion techniques, and deeper meanings. Intermediate concepts The human brain processes images differently than words. Images are processed in the “reptilian” part of the brain, where strong emotions and instincts are also located. Written and spoken language is processed in another part of the brain, the neocortex, where reason lies. This is why TV commercials are often more powerful than print ads. We process time-based media differently than static media. The information and images in TV shows, movies, video games, and music often bypass the analytic brain and trigger emotions and memory in the unconscious and reactive parts of the brain. Only a small proportion surfaces in consciousness. When we read a newspaper, magazine, book or website, we have the opportunity to stop and think, re-read something, and integrate the information rationally. Media are most powerful when they operate on an emotional level. Most fiction engages our hearts as well as our minds. Advertisements take this further, and seek to transfer feelings from an emotionally-charged symbol (family, sex, the flag) to a product. Media messages can be manipulated to enhance emotional impact. Movies and TV shows use a variety of filmic techniques (like camera angles, framing, reaction shots, quick cuts, special effects, lighting tricks, music, and sound effects) to reinforce the messages in the script. Dramatic graphic design can do the same for magazine ads or websites. Media effects are subtle. Few people believe everything they see and hear in the media. Few people rush out to the store immediately after seeing an ad. Playing a violent video game won’t automatically turn you into a murderer. The effects of media are more subtle than this, but because we are so immersed in the media environment, the effects are still significant. Media effects are complex. Media messages directly influence us as individuals, but they also affect our families and friends, our communities, and our society. So some media effects are indirect. We must consider both direct and indirect effects to understand media’s true influence. Media convey ideological and value messages. Ideology and values are usually conveyed in the subtext. Two examples include news reports (besides covering an issue or event, news reports often reinforce assumptions about power and authority) and advertisements (besides selling particular products, advertisements almost always promote the values of a consumer society). We all create media. Maybe you don’t have the skills and resources to make a blockbuster movie or publish a daily newspaper. But just about anyone can snap a photo, write a letter or sing a song. And new technology has allowed millions of people to make media–email, websites, videos, newsletters, and more — easily and cheaply. Creating your own media messages is an important part of media literacy. Our media system reflects the power dynamics in our society. People and institutions with money, privilege, influence, and power can more easily create media messages and distribute them to large numbers of people. People without this access are often shut out of the media system. Most media are controlled by commercial interests. In the United States, the marketplace largely determines what we see on television, what we hear on the radio, what we read in newspapers or magazines. As we use media, we should always be alert to the self-interest of corporate media makers. Are they concerned about your health? Do they care if you’re smart or well informed? Are they interested in creating active participants in our society and culture, or merely passive consumers of their products, services, and ideas? Media monopolies reduce opportunities to participate in decision making. When a few huge media corporations control access to information, they have the power to make some information widely available and privilege those perspectives that serve their interests, while marginalizing or even censoring other information and perspectives. This affects our ability to make good decisions about our own lives, and reduces opportunities to participate in making decisions about our government and society. Changing the media system is a justice issue. Our media system produces lots of negative, demeaning imagery, values and ideas. It renders many people invisible. It provides too little funding and too few outlets for people without money, privilege, influence, and power to tell their stories. We can change our media system. More and more people are realizing how important it is to have a media system that is open to new people and new perspectives, that elevates human values over commercial values, and that serves human needs in the 21st century. All over the world, people are taking action to reform our media system and create new alternatives. Media literate youth and adults are media activists. As we learn how to access, analyze and interpret media messages, and as we create our own media, we recognize the limitations and problems of our current media system. Media literacy is a great foundation for advocacy and activism for a better media system. (Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 2 Media Literacy Project medialiteracyproject.org). Based upon these concepts and philosophy various attempts are practiced in different parts of the world. Many media activists influenced by these themes at a large. International Experience in praxis Several attempts are popular among developed nations media ecology. Different initiatives run wide ranges of programmes to establish media literacy among youth and children. Both across curriculum activities and co-curricular activities are available. Only the best practiced and universally applauded initiatives are mentioning here. Media literacy through critical thinking is a package developed by NW Center for Excellence in Media Literacy. The work books and other documents developed by the center is provided strictly for educational purposes and as a public service by the NW Center for Excellence in Media Literacy, based in the College of Education at the University of Washington. Their goal is to improve the training, research, and service opportunities for both adults and teens across Washington State who are interested in media literacy education and have particular interest in addressing teen health issues from a media literacy perspective. The Media Literacy Project is a leading effort in United States of America to promote media literacy among children. The project founded in 1993, cultivates critical thinking and activism. “We are committed to building a healthy world through media justice” says the Media Literacy project leaders. As a nationally recognized leader in media literacy resources, trainings, and education, MLP delivers dynamic multimedia presentations at conferences, workshops and classrooms across the country. The project’s media literacy curricula and action guides are used in countless classrooms and communities. The training programs have empowered thousands of people to be advocates and activists for media justice. The project is organizing campaigns such as Siembra la palabra digna. This is an Anchor Organization for the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) center communities of color, poor communities, rural communities, and immigrant communities in the creation of local, regional, and national media policy. Realising the realities around, the ministry of education, Ontario put forward a unique experience in media literacy. The experts of Ontario rightly realised that critical-thinking and critical-literacy skills are tools students need in order to develop into active, responsible participants in the global community. They believe that professional collaboration and ongoing learning help teachers develop a deeper, broader, more reflective understanding of effective instruction. They practice the principle ‘catch them young’ by providing opportunities of media literacy exercises in junior classes. In the junior grades, students look for relevance and meaning in what they are learning. In today’s media-saturated world, media literacy is highly relevant. Students need to learn to view media messages with a critical and analytical eye as well as how to interact with media responsibly. By exploring the hows and whys of the media, students develop an increased understanding of the media’s unprecedented power to persuade and influence. “Media Literacy”, builds on the research findings and best practices in Literacy for Learning: The Report of the Expert Panel on Literacy in Grades 4 to 6 in Ontario. It provides a framework for the expectations in the Media Literacy strand of the Language curriculum (2006). It emphasizes the importance of developing a critical awareness of the media and describes effective ways of teaching about and using media. Media literacy instruction can be woven into all areas of the curriculum not only the learning expectations in all the Language strands (Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, and Media Literacy) but also other curriculum subject areas. India beats Most of our children abounded with media messages emerged from newspapers, magazines, TV, Radio and from the new media. The affluent flow of messages influences their life from various directions. Media syndrome is a major issue of city folk and even in villages, though the intensity is lesser. Increased exposure to the media is associated with multi-faceted problems like increasing obesity, body dissatisfaction, aggressive behavior and many more amongst Indian children. They are growing fast mentally and physically whom psychologists are termed now as ‘The New Kid’. It is pathetic to realize that our children are not treated by the media world considerably. India has least number of kids’ channels. Out of total only 3 percent of channels are kids’ channels (17). In a country which has 550 TV channels, 77,600 newspaper types in multiple language, 595 movie releases (including Hindi, regional and Hollywood releases) and so many FM channels have we ever wondered what space have we given in a such a wide canvas to our children. According to FICCI-KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2011 “Hitting the High Notes” the Indian media and entertainment industry grew from INR 587 billion in 2009 to INR 652 billion in 2010. The growth is registering an overall growth of 11 percent. The industry includes TV, Radio Print, cinema and gaming. The educational and entertainment needs of a very vast population i.e. children is disregarded in this race. The kids’ genres of channels are not offering much better performance is yet another reality which we face. The children watch programmes produced for Adults. The reality shows, the soap operas, the highly sensualized news stories are definitely not meant for children. But they anyhow are watching them with great interest. In such an environment, there is a wider chance to implement media literacy programmes in schooldays. Children reach school at the age of 5 in India. Curricular and co-curricular experiments are possible in India environment. Sophisticated media consumers and the fact that they experience so many medium at home would seem to be as a good reason to include it in the curriculum than to exclude it. At national level, Central Institute for Education and Training, NCERT, New Delhi began an effort to make media literacy campaign. Their target audience is the secondary and senior secondary students. The institute started Media clubs in schools. Government of Kerala introduced journalism course in Higher Secondary Schools is the first attempt in India to consider at a large. The course introduced in August 2000. Higher Secondary Education began the course in seven schools, now the course runs in 75 schools. The growth indicates the social demand for the course. The major drawback of the curriculum is that it does not cover the critical thinking. If the curriculum is revisited in a style, which promotes critical analysis of the media sector, the effort will be the first one in India media education history at school level. Non- Governmental Organisations like Media Act in Thiruvananthapuram and Media Analysis and Research Center in Kozhikode tried their own efforts in media literacy sector in Kerala. These are not well framed and organized forms of activities. Lack of closely knitted curricula and research oriented documents pull back such efforts from the mainstream. Reference: A Guide to Effective Instruction Grades 4-6, Volume One: Foundations of Literacy Instruction for the Junior Learner, 2006. Ontario Ministry of Education. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer. A Guide to Effective Instruction Grades 4-6, Volume Two: Assessment, 2006, Ontario Ministry of Education. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer. A Guide to Effective Literacy Instruction A Multi-volume Resource from the Ministry of Education, Volume seven, Media Literacy, 2008, Ontario Ministry of Education. Alternative and Activist Media by Mitzi Waltz Edinburgh University Press 2005, 22 George Square, Edinburgh. A Snapshot of Indian Television History, http://www.indiantelevision.com (accessed on 12 Aug02). Communication Technology for Distance Education, Post Graduate Diploma in Distance Education programme, Course ES-318, 2008, IGNOU, New Delhi. Critical Theories of Mass Media: Then and Now, Paul A. Taylor and Jan LI. Harris, 2008, Open University Press, McGraw-Hill Education. Distance Education: What? Why? How? By B Satyanarayana and Sesharatnam, C., 2000 Booklinks Corporation, Hyderabad (India). Evaluation Report On Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE), 1981, Planning Commission, India http://planningcommission.nic.in IGNOU Profile 2002, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New –Delhi, India. Interaction of Media, Cognition and Learning, by Salomon, G. 1979, Jossey-Bass, London. Interactive television and instruction by Lochte, R.H. 1993, Educational Technology Publications, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Introduction to Media Literacy, Media Literacy Project, medialiteracyproject.org P2 Mass Communications and Media Studies an Introduction by Peyton Paxson 2010, the Continuum International Publishing Group Inc., 80 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038. Media Literacy Resource Guide: Intermediate and Senior Divisions by Ministry of Education 1989, Queen’s Printer for Ontario. Media Literacy Resource Guide, Ontario Ministry of Education. (1989). Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer. Media Literacy Through Critical Thinking Student Workbook by Chris M. Worsnop Edited by KC Lynch, Produced by NW Center for Excellence in Media Literacy. Mediamarx blog articles by Ratheesh Kaliyadan, www.mediamarx.blogspot.com NCAM (2002). International Captioning Project, History of Teletext http://www.ncam.wgbh.org Planning for Satellite Broadcasting: The Indian Instructional TV experiment by Chander, Romesh; Karnik, Kiran, 1976, UNESCO http://www. unesdoc.unesco.org Principles of Mass Communication by Ratheesh Kaliyadan, 2010, Media Analysis and Research center, Kozhikode, Kerala, India. School Television in India by Paul N. 1968, All India Radio, New Delhi. ‘Some unique characteristics of television and some implications for teaching and learning’, Bates A.W., 1981, Journal of Educational Television, Vol. 7, No. 3. Television India, 1991, Audio Research Unit, Director General Doordarshan, New Delhi.