ICA Manipal Regional Hub 2023 

Richard D’Souza
Kemmannu News Network, 03-06-2023 15:35:57

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Manipal, June 2nd, 2023: Manipal Institute of communication organised the “ICA Regional Hub” 2023 in collaboration with international communication Association from 26 May 2023 – 30 May 2023 at MIC Campus, Manipal, MAHE.  


The ICA Manipal Regional Hub was the only regional hub in South Asian Region and hen  ce aimed to integrate communication scholars from South Asia under the larger umbrella of ICA and strengthen the development of a global research culture in the region.  The conference was open to academicians, practitioners, and students of media, communications and its related fields who are from Southern Asia or whose scholarships engaged with the region. The conference welcomed papers reflecting the theme of Reclaiming Authenticity in Communication and invited communication scholars to examine how authenticity has become a variable, rather than a constant, in public discourses and popular culture in the South Asian context, 

The presence of dignitaries, an impressive lineup of scholars from across the globe, an array of carefully selected, well-researched and well-presented papers on the subject, all came together to help Team ICA Manipal to conduct this huge endeavor. The conference was acclaimed for its 5 panels, 5 plenary sessions, 7 paper presentation sessions and an ICA Regional Chapter session.  This five-day event offered opportunities to the participants to interact with academicians, scholars and experts from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Canada, and USA.  

The inaugural function witnessed the presence of Dr. B S Satish Rao, Director of Research at MAHE, who spoke about the thriving research culture at MAHE.  

The Keynote Address was delivered by Dr. Rohan Samarjiva, Founding Chair of LIRNEasia, a pioneering ICT Policy and Regulation Think Tank. Dr. Samarjiva provided an interesting comparison of legal and regulatory environment in South Asia in the context of Inauthenticity of content in Internet regulation. 

 During the opening plenary session, Professor Surabhi Dahiya from IIMC Delhi shared her recent research on Indian media houses and provided valuable insights into her forthcoming work on entrepreneurial journalism. 

 On subsequent days, we had the privilege of hosting Dr. Darshana Sreedhar Mini, Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin Madison, and Dr. Srivi Ramasubramanian, Professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University, as our esteemed plenary speakers. 

 Today, we are honored to have Dr. Shafiqur Rahman, Professor from South Carolina State University as our valedictory speaker. He will deliver an address on ’Need and Promotion of Media Literacy in Digital Ecosystem of South Asia’.  

We are proud and delighted to share that as part of the conference, we co-organized two international collaborative panels with Indonesia and Nigeria.These panels brought together experts from diverse backgrounds to discuss key topics and foster global connections.  

The Animation and Design panel, featuring Dr. Balaji AC from Manipal Institute of Communication, Rajesh Dharan from Fingent Technology Solutions, and Satish B from Avataar.ai, offered unique perspectives on the Convergence of Animation, Design, and AI.  

The ICA Manipal – Nigeria collaborative panel, chaired by Dr. Padma Rani from Manipal Institute of Communication, saw the participation of Dr. Nirmala Adhikary from Kathmandu University, Professor Vinod Pavarala from the University of Hyderabad, and Dr. Pradeep Nair from the Central University of Himachal Pradesh. The panel discussion emphasized the relevance of indigenous communication scholarship in socio-economic development, contextualizing and reaffirming its significance. 

Another significant panel, "Status of Press Freedom in South Asia: Challenges and Opportunities," was chaired by Lekhanath Pandey from Tribhuvan University, with panelists including Dr. Bhanu Bhakta Acharya from the University of Ottawa, Dr. Kulveen Trehan from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Prof. (Dr.) Bushra Hameedur Rahman from the University of Punjab, Pakistan, and. Ujjwal Acharya from CMR Journalism Academy, Nepal. The panel provided valuable insights into the current landscape of press freedom in the region. 

The "Emerging Scholars Panel: Prospects, Processes and Dilemmas of Pursuing Doctoral Research" served as a platform for young scholars to discuss and synchronize the challenges and solutions encountered in their research journey. Chaired by Dr. Nimmagada Bhargav from Manipal Institute of Communication, the panel comprised young researchers from across South Asia, fostering a supportive and collaborative environment. 

Lastly, the panel on "Digital Inclusion and Exclusion in South Asia: Scholarly Perspectives," chaired by Professor Sanjay B P from Manipal Institute of Communication, featured esteemed panelists including Dr. Stephen McDowell from Florida State University, Dr. Bhanu Bhakta Acharya from the University of Ottawa, Dr. Md. Golam Rahman from Daffodil International University, and Dr. P. Vigneswara Ilavarasan from IIT Delhi. Their discussions shed light on the complex dynamics in the vast landscape of digital inclusion and exclusion in the region. 

Furthermore, Dr. Padma Rani represented the ICA Indian Chapter at the pilot program of the Regional Chapters of ICA, presided by Dr. Noshir Contractor, President of ICA. This platform provided an opportunity to showcase the achievements, share best practices, and address the challenges faced by the Regional Hubs. In an exciting announcement during the discussion, Dr. Padma Rani revealed that the ICA India Chapter is set to be operational by early 2024. 

In addition, we conducted 7 paper presentation sessions with more than 40 papers over the course of three days, delving into diverse aspects of communication, media, and journalism through the lens of authenticity. These sessions fostered profound and thought-provoking discussions on topics such as journalism and media coverage, the interplay between legacy and digital media, community broadcasting, film, advertising and branding, political communication, emerging communication technologies such as AI, health communication, media literacy, and more. The wide range of subjects explored truly encompassed the richness and breadth of the conference. 

We firmly believe that ICA Manipal Regional Hub has undoubtedly enriched the academic community, not only through the addition of scholarly works on Communication, media, and Journalism but also as a pivotal platform for representing and amplifying South Asian voices and narratives. In this way, the ICA Manipal Regional Hub transcends its role as a mere conference and lays a solid foundation for the decolonization of the communication sphere. By promoting diverse perspectives and fostering inclusivity, we contribute to a more equitable and inclusive academic landscape. 


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