MEDIA AND PUBLIC POLICY

By Nalin Mehta (class of 2021)

Offered to: Class of 2020 and 2021

Prerequisites: None

Office Hours: Drop-in sessions and/or by appointment

The media and entertainment industry stands at the junction of major trends in society, politics and the economy. The Indian media, with an estimated worth of over INR 1.75 trillion, and fuelled by growing consumption, even during the Coronavirus lockdown, has registered strong growth rates in the past five years, a trend which is expected to continue. Yet, given its strategic location at the very centre of society and the political economy, media industries are a business unlike any other with tremendous social consequences. They lie at the heart of debates about identity, nationalism and globalisation acting not only as a lightning conductor of political and cultural forces but also influencing them.

The 'Media and Politics' course provides students with an overview of the social, political and commercial dynamics that shape the Indian media and its emerging contours. It also introduces them to ideas about the media, its role in society and how media technologies have evolved and impacted societies globally. It studies the Indian media within this global context to provide perspective while also delving into micro-aspects of Indian media – nationally and regionally – and its impact.

It is focused, in particular, on the social role, evolution, current state and future direction of Indian television, newspapers, advertising, telecommunications, digital media, OTT platforms, regulation and public policy. This will include key touch-points such as the symbiotic relationship between media and sport and other social practises which are intertwined with media businesses.

The Indian story will be discussed specifically in the context of conceptual ideas about media, communications and their evolution in tandem with the rise of media technologies historically. This includes comparative global trends – from the United States to China -- on-going debates over linkages between print and politics, the relationship between liberal democracies and media, the uses of media in totalitarian states and the centrality of media in shaping global cultural forces like sport and music. It will also touch upon global conversation in academia and industry about the future of digital media, especially through mobiles and their impact on issues like citizenship, economic growth and development. This course is ideal for those interested in understanding modern India, political economy, emerging trends in media and its exploding opportunities.