The 15th national conference of Network of Women in Media, India attended by 150 women journalists from 17 states and union territories across India concluded on 9th February 2020 in Bengaluru, the city where it all began and was packed with discussions, workshops, exhibition, cultural program and get-togethers at the Indian Social Institute and Indian Institute of Agricultural Technologists.
Women journalists from Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Odisha participated in the three-day conference between 7th-9th February 2020.
The theme of the conference was “The Media, Citizenship and Identities” and there was an exhibition of posters, banners and slogans from the recent uprising against CAA-NRC-NPR and clampdown on universities at the venue.
Important discussions on gender, climate change and disasters and the role of media as mediator; citizenship, identity and migration; journalism, culture and identity; six months of the Kashmir blockade; the ethics of ‘fixer’ journalism; culture and arts in times of trouble were accompanied by an impressive performance a musical conversation by singers M D Pallavi and Bindhu Malini as they examined gender through stories of women across continents and generations.
Feminist, film maker, writer and speaker, Madhu Bhushan spoke in the panel on Citizenship, Identity and Migration giving insights on citizenship and vulnerabilities and example of nomadic communities. The problem with the process of considering citizenship as per NRC is the uncertainty for those segment of people like the nomadic communities and other marginalized communities which do not have the concept of documentation of their citizenship- they may be landless and without an address. In such circumstances will these communities belong or not belong ?
In the panel were Aakar Patel,columnist on the bureaucratic limits of citizenship processes, Malini Bhattacharjee, Professor, Azim Premji University, Nagma Shaikh, Karnataka Muslim Mahila Andolan, Ramachandra Guha Historian, Ravi Varma Kumar, Lawyer and Professor, NLSUI, Teresa Braggs, communication student and Vijeta Kumar Professor at St.Joseph College.
The women journalists participated in different learning workshops on “ Getting Ready for Global Media Monitoring Project 2020” facilitated by Ammu Joseph and Padmaja Shaw; “Media Entrepreneurship: How to Start and Sustain it” facilitated by Meera K, Sandhya Mendonca, Dhanya Rajendran and Aparna Vedpuri Singh; “Digital Branding and The Newsroom” facilitated by QUINTYPE; “ Regional Language Journalism Through Digital Media: Tips and Tools for Practitioners” facilitated by Rajesh Hanbal and Cynthia Stephen and “ How to Deal with Legalities and Defamation Threats When Writing Something Controversial” facilitated by Sunanda Mehta.
The workshop on media entrepreneurship offered learnings from four women media entrepreneurs Meera (Citizen Matters), Aparna (Women’s Web), Sandhya Mendonca (Raintree Media) and Dhanya Rajendran (The News Minute) who have successful business in media. The workshop highlighted the need to focus on both journalism aspect as well as the business aspect of the venture.
The conference brought together "women" journalists as media person and as women experiencing different socio-political circumstances within India to share their journey, strengths and aspirations and resulting in the birth of a unique sisterhood. A sisterhood that strengthens every woman that it touches.
The national conference was organised by the Bengaluru chapter of Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI). Read more about the organization and its work on the website http://www.nwmindia.org/