In an indication that the Narendra Modi government is mulling a regulatory framework to govern the way journalism and mass communication is taught in institutes across the country, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has begun work on setting up what is being called a “Communication University”.
While the broad contours of the proposed university are still being worked out, top government sources told The Indian Express that the idea behind the move is essentially to standardise the way subjects relating to journalism and mass communication are currently taught in journalism schools.
The idea also has its roots in the previous UPA regime, when the then I&B Minister Manish Tewari had talked about holding a common exam for journalists — on the lines of the one conducted by the Bar Council — and issuing licences to those who qualify to pursue the profession. Tewari had said this would bring a certain amount of standardisation across the media space.
This time, however, the suggestion has come from the Prime Minister himself. During a recent presentation made by senior I&B officials, when he was being informed about the ministry’s plans to declare the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Film and Television Institute of India and Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute as institutes of national importance, Modi is learnt to have suggested that the ministry should think of a larger umbrella body to oversee and regulate the way all institutes dealing with media studies operate.
Taking the cue, the I&B Ministry has now begun work “to conceptualise and bring all diverse institutions dealing with print media, radio, animation, TV and other sub-sectors of the industry under a single establishment serving the nation”.
“Currently, there is no determination of the criteria for what all is being taught in journalism and mass communication courses. In streams like medical and engineering, bodies like AICTE and MCI regulate curriculum yardsticks for all that is taught. The Communication University is being thought of as a body that would standardise and regulate the curriculum for journalism and related subjects,” said a top government source.
Government sources said senior I&B Ministry officials held a meeting with several IIT professors to discuss the issue. “In February, we are planning to have a thorough brainstorming session in the Capital, in which we are planning to invite prominent educationists and practitioners to discuss and debate this proposal. The IIMC has already been tasked with inviting experts from these fields,” said a ministry source.