By Anil Augustine, Atlanta, GA; Dr. Mathew Joys, Las Vegas, NV
The 6th annual International Media Conference 2019, an annual gathering of the media professionals from across the world, hosted by The Indo American Press Club, as well as the IAPC Houston and Dallas Chapters, and coordinated by the national IAPC leadership, was held at The Double Tree Hilton at Greenway Plaza, Houston, TX from October 11th to 14th, 2019.
About 500 patrons from North America participated in this professional development and networking event. Eminent personalities belonging the media, film, socio-political fraternities of global fame and prominence led the seminars, workshops and training sessions at this premier event of the Indo-American Diaspora. Delegates deliberated on the role of Media, especially while facing the vast challenges of effective reporting and communicating objectively.
Ms. Shani Prabhakaran from Malayala Manorama; Ms. Dhanya Rajendran, Chief
Editor of NewsMint; Ms. Shreekala M.S. from Mathrubhoomi, Dr. Arun
Kumar from 24X7TV; Mr. A.J. Philp, Freelance Journalist based in New Delhi; Saji Dominic from Reporter Channel; Anupama Venkitesh, News Director of Global Reporter;
and, Mr. Saneesh Elayadathu of News18, along with dominant visual media
colleagues and panelists of the diaspora led the deliberations.
Adv. Jayashankar, a renowned environmental activist & Legal expert Adv. Harish Vasudevan, Noted Bolly star and gender activist Ms. Reema Kallingal were among others who made their perspectives heard at the conclave.
The Media Conference was inaugurated with the traditional lamp-lighting ceremony by IAPC Founding Chairman Mr. Ginsmon Zacharia, Director Mr. Kamlesh C Mehta, Secretary Mathewkutty Easo, Director Board Secretary Dr. Mathew Joys, IMC Convener Mr. James Koodal, along with Fort Bent County Judge. Mr. K.P. George and Court Judge
Ms. Julie Mathew, Esq.
In his opening remarks, Ginsmon Zachariah, Founding Chairman of the IAPC said, “IAPC basks on the now almost a yearly tradition of successfully anchored International Media Conference being this was the 6th annual meet, the esteemed platform has organized in the major Cities of The North America. Esteemed and renowned media dignitaries of India, Canada and the North
Americas attend this annual event and deliberate on relevant themes for the ethnic Indian American media personnel.”
IAPC has envisioned for itself, a significant role in recognizing and nurturing the true potential of journalists and media professionals in the United States and Canada, while collaborating with media fraternity across the globe, Dr. Mathew Joys of Las Vagas, Secretary of the Director of Board, IAPC, said.
In his inaugural address, Judge. K.P. George lauded IAPC for not restricting their reach within Indian diaspora but effectively and assertively reaching-out contributing to the adapted homeland was distinctly noticed. Ms. Julie Mathew, Esq, stressed that free-media-speech is the hallmark of social justice and democracy, without which no democratic Nation could possibly sustain.
His Excellency Surendra Adhana, Deputy Consul General of India in Houston, while lauding the efforts and contributions of IAPC,m called upon the members to work towards enhancing the Indo-US relationship.
On the inaugural day, four seminars were conducted on the first day of the Media Conference. The first being on the topic “Privacy in the Digital Age,” which was organized by Dr. Mathew Joys of Las Vagas, NA and Anil Augustine from Atlanta, GA.
Led by Adv. Jayashankar, Ms. Shani Prabhakaran, Mr. A.J.Philip, Ms. Dhanya Rajendran, Ms. Reema Kallingal and Adv. Shyam Kuruvilla, the seminar was a wakeup call to all who assumed that it’s only the duty of the State to protect its citizens; rather it’s the sole duty of the
individuals themselves to behave responsibly and prudently in lives on-the-web as well, protecting themselves thereby protecting the Nation!
The panel discussion on “Opportunities for Indo-American Professionals in Mainstream US Media” was moderated by Roy Thomas and the facilitator was James Kureekattil. The noted Emmy Award winner Mr. Jobin Panicker of ABC News, Dr. Chandra Mittal of Houston Mr. Kamlesh Mehta of South Asian Times, Mr. Frixmon Michael of Dallas, Mr. Harish Namboothiri were the panel participants.
The Session on topic “How to protect & secure the diaspora wealth back home in India.” was led by Mr. Biju Chacko of New York and Dr. Byju Thomas of Canada. The panelists included, Adv. Harish Vasudevan, Mr. Saji Dominic, Dr. Arun Kumar, Mr. Jacob Easo, and Mr. Ginsmon Zacharia, New York.
The Panel on “How to counter Cyber Crimes” was moderated by Mr. Suresh Ramakrishnan of Nerkazhcha Newspaper and was facilitated by Mr. Santosh Abraham of Philadelphia chapter of IAPC. Ms. M.S. Shashikala, Dr. Arunkumar, Mr. Saneesh Elayadathu, Adv. Jayashankar, and Adv. Harish Vasudevan contributed to alively discussion on the topic
The theme for the final day of the IMC 2019, led by the professional guests, was “Change is Inevitable!” Panel discussions on “Change – perspectives on socio-cultural-political perspectives” was led by eminent media dignitaries of the Indian Diaspora and prominent media professionals from India, who made their thoughts heard and noticed vide their active participation at the 8 seminars conducted across the conclave.
Ms. Rima Kallingal, renowned Cine artist and social-change-activist agent assertively countered a question from the audience ridiculing the picturization of “Child birth” scene towards exploiting the mean commercial prospects of it was effectively counter-argued by placing the question – “If audience have no problems/complaints watching the evil-rape, why not the sacred-life-giving-inviting occasion of delivery?” was a true social eye opener!
As well the thought of relevance by debate panelist Ms. Dhanya Rajendran, of NewsMint – “Why worry, about a matter of which we women have no worry about!” And they both together, did not hesitate to assert the point “To watch a child-birth scene in real-life one gotta be ” ‘HuMaN’ enough!” noticeably were the thought provoking feminine perspectives honoring the womanhood’s selfless vocation!
Captioned “Partiality and political bias in professional reporting.” was the topic of another panel by renowned representatives of diaspora media Dr. Arun Kumar, of 24 X 7 News channel, Mr. Saneesh P. Elayaduthu, of of News18, noted independent journalist Mr. Saji P. Dominic and political observer, dominant secular panelist & debater Adv. Jayashankar, graced the discussions. All participants were congenial in admitting the fact that impartiality is the one thing that doesn’t exist in contemporary media profession and the essential factor that economically sustain the industry is the vested corporate partiality and affinity to political thought streams of the respective media houses. The candid expressions of the panel participants were much appreciated by the audience.
“The significance of the Presence and Influence of Women professionals in Media” another panel discussion anchored by the leading senior journalist Ms. M.S. Shreekala of Mathrubhoomi Daily, Ms. Shani Prabhakaran of Manorama News, Ms. Anupama Venkatesh, News Director of Global Reporter USA, Ms. Dhanya Rajendran of NewsMint, New Delhi, and Mr. Saneesh Elayadath, of News18, participated jovially.
What transpired between the audience and panelist was well educating from a gender specific perspective. Ms. Dhanya, Ms. Anupama, Ms. Shaani, and Ms. Sreekala, gracefully expressed the challenges as women they faced in reporting unbiased, truthful deliverance of their profession as feminine reporters. Mr. Saneesh Elayadath, admitted on to the fact that male media professionals are edged with the gender social advantage men are having courtesy to the naive bias society credit men with by default, unknowingly!
“Survival at the times of Social Media” was moderated by Dr. Arun Kumar, of 24 X 7, Adv. Harish Vasudevan, Mr. Seshadri Kumar of Fort Bend Independent, Houston and Mr. Joseph Ponnoli, Digital Security Analyst Houston were the panelists. At a time when every individual is equipped with the Tech-resources and potential to become a Reporter; conventional media counterparts are helplessly forced to adapt to the new norms of citizen journalism, depending on Social media itself, is the contemporary reality traditional reporting has come in terms-with. This essential reality of accepting to “change” was the distinguished realization the Conclave equipped the participants with.
The post-lunch session was on professional development on “Corporatization of Media profession.” The popular blogger “Ballatha Pahayan” Shri. Vinod Narayan, and Shmt. Dhanya Rajendran, Chief Editor of NewsMint, co-anchored the session. Shri. Saneesh Elayadathu, of News18, and noted independent journalist Mr. Saji P. Dominic, joined the panel discussing the thoughts and facts in perspective eminently.
“Protecting the wealth and properties of the Diaspora back home,” a discussion by panelists – Ms. Shreekala M.S., of Mathrubhumi, renowned secular activist Adv. Jayashankar, renowned environmental activist & HC practicing legal expert Adv. Harish Vasudevan, and Mr. Easo Jacob an American resident, was quite informative. The controversial riverbank development in Cochin – The Maradu flats construction was the highlighted issue. The panelists very assertively put across the precautions diaspora members are expected to ensure while investing in real estate properties, back home.
“The women in Indian Cinema” anchored by Shmt. Shani Prabhakaran, Shmt. Reema Kallingal, Shmt. Dhanya Rajendran, and Shri. Saneesh Elayadathu, discussed about the contemporary circumstances denoting the relevance and essentiality of initiatives such that of Women Collective in Cinema (WCC) and “MeToo” was well narrated and debated. The perspectives notebaly ignited heated arguments and assertive statements between and among audience as well the panelists.
The panel discussion on “Governmental interference and impact in Indian & American PRESS freedom” led by Adv. Jayashankar, Dr. Arunkumar, Shri. Hari Namboothiri, and Shri. Joseph Punnooli, focused on Media as a profession and press as a responsibility was always challenged to be controlled by the ones in power, is a reality of all the times. Information/Data being the “new oil” this intangible resource is of absolute value to all stakeholders of the perspective – legit media professionals as well Govt. admins alike. Advocate Jayashankar was candid in asserting the contribution of the professional morality, courageous journalists upheld during the challenging years of American civil war, the historical Indian political emergency and the contemporary global self-centered Nationalistic political crisis media professionals are faced-up with.
IAPC true to its tradition, recognized eminent Media Personnel and Community leaders for their achievements and contributions. Mr. Naveen Shaw CPA was awarded the prestigious Karmashreshta Puraskar for the first time, recognizing his business success and support to Indo American Press Club. Mr. Thomas Mottackal was recognized with the Entrepreneur of the year Award and Ms. Annie Koloth, of NJ was recognized with “The Woman of the year 2019 Award.”
IAPC’s Sathkarma Award for humanitarian and Charitable services was presented to
Mr. Manoj Barot, Head of Global Narayan Seva SANSTHAN USA for Promoting and expansion of SEVA activities of NSS in USA, UK, AFRICA, HongKong, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Canada. Mr. Jobin Panickar of ABC /WFAA TV Channel was recognized for Media Excellence Visual. Mr. Seshadri Kumar of Fort Bend Independent and India Herald was recognized for Media Excellence in Print Media.
Mr. Saju Kannampally, Chicago is the pioneer in Online streaming of events instantly all over the world for more than 10 years through his KTV, and he was recognized with Media Excellence Online.
Mr. George Mannickarottu, Houston is active legend in social and Malayalam Literacy activities or more than four decades. His enormous work on compiling the History of Malayalam Literature in America, and his nine other books on various topics enabled him to be recognized for the SahithyaPrathibha puraskaram.
Along with these Community Awards the following awards were also presented to eminent personalities: Attorney Thomas Daniel (Professional Excellence Award), Krishna Vavilala
(Community Services Award), Sam Abraham (Business Success Award), Ramesh Lulla (Business Success Award), and, Thomas Koshy, Voice of Asia news weekly (Publishing Excellence).
For the new generation, IAPC has initiated an Essay Competition, while a Photography Contest was held for adult members of IAPC. The winners were recognized for their skills and excellence at the Media Conclave.
The music extravaganza presented by the world renowned “Singing Priest” Rev Dr. Poovathinkal was well appreciated by the audience. An evening of cultural extravaganza performed by eminent film artist Ms. Divya Unni and students from Dr. Shrikala’s dance school in Houston, TX, themed “The Nature” were much appreciated by one and all.
The Houston community was well attended and represented by community leaders and chapter members of IAPC Houston Chapter. The 6th IMC of IAPC concluded with an ever prominent professional/vocational node of the importance of having to adhere, uphold and practice the cornerstone principles of the media profession – Obligation to report the truth, Loyalty to citizens, Guardianship of the essence in democracy, ethics, values and morality of the journalistic profession!
The Indo-American Press Club seeks to foster closer bonds and cooperation among an extensive network of journalists across the nation, who are committed to professionalism and have the well-being of the larger society.
The Indo-American Press Club founded in 2013, consists of a cohesive and vibrant group of journalists, media professionals and freelancers working or associating with print, broadcast and online media outlets in North America. With hundreds of members in dozens of local Chapters across North America, IAPC has come to be an effective and credible platform for Indian American journalists and media professionals to associate and network with a sense of belonging. For more details, please visit: https://www.indoamericanpressclub.com/