It was in early 1975, while on return flight from Pune that Jamal Kidwai, then Secretary Information & Broadcasting Ministry, discussed with me the need for setting up a ‘good media studies center’ in the country. He did this, as he was familiar with my work in setting up the communication departments at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) and at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). That is how the idea of Mass Communication Research Centre (currently, AJK MCRC) at Jamia Millia Islamia was conceived and it came into being in the next two years. It was in 1985 that A.G Krishmamurthy, the creator of Mudra Advertising Agency, discussed with me the need for a ‘truly professional and industry-oriented Communication School’ and thereafter Mudra Institute of Communication (MICA) came into being. There were occasions around the time as a visiting professor at more than a couple of Universities at home and abroad when I was convinced of the need for an India specific educational institute for media and communication in their larger context. Then there was my report in 1985 on ‘Perspectives into Media Scene of 2001’ which brought the vacuum in the demand-supply position of trained media professionals, particularly in the regional languages. That was one of the motivations for founding the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) in 1990 as an independent and holistic research agency.
However, I always felt that no professional media school can truly take shape without first building a bank of own case studies, research expertise, a lab to analyse media trends and, more importantly, long range concerns relevant to the development of India. Adding to such concerns, the recent media boom and a paradigm shift in the very media operations of the country have prompted an intellectual quest and development of a media industry outlook. Further, my recent visit to Annenberg School of Communication (University of Southern California) to sign an MOU for collaboration between that School and CMS has reminded me of the urgency of creating a different genre of ‘media institute’ in India.
This internal call was energised by the research and training infrastructure that has been built up in CMS during the past 20 years. With this background we are now emboldened to launch an educational academy with a difference in the range of its concerns and objectives. The emerging media scenario beckons with opportunities for creative expression and growth. The technological advances have changed the very nature of media and people’s media consumption habits. As early in 1993, we recognised the need for a ‘convergence view’ of media and communication and advocated appropriate national policies for positioning India at the forefront of new developments. CMS launched several pro-active initiatives for exploring Cable TV, DTH, CAS, broadcast regulations and social impact of electronic media.
We earnestly hope that the newly set up CMS Academy of Communication & Convergence Studies will distinguish itself both as media educational center and as a pro-active national body contributing to the development of a vibrant media in India. CMS is constructing a dedicated Communication & Convergence Studies Academy at NOIDA, on Delhi – Uttar Pradesh border and it will be functional for the first academic session from August 2009.
We seek your participation, as parents, students, faculty, in developing this media and communication Academy that thinks for tomorrow’s media.
N Bhaskara Rao, Ph.D.