The objectives of the Centre are to educate the public and act as a watchdog to raise ethical standards in the media in order to improve democratic governance and social cohesion in Kerala and to enable marginalized groups to access and utilize the media, including the new social media, in an ethical and equitable manner.
The Centre has hosted a number of talks by leading journalists.
In the future, it will undertake will undertake the following main activities
At a function organized at the K.M. Bashir Memorial Hall by VMFT, Sri. V. N. Vasavan, Hon. Minister for Culture, Co-operation, and Registration released the Multilingual booklet on the life and times of Vakkom Moulavi, as well as “Media under the Lens, a research study report on the representation of migrant workers in regional media during the COVID crisis. The publications were received by veteran writer and journalist, Prabha Varma. Dr. Muse Mary George and Dr. M. R. Thampan, former Director of the State Institute of Encyclopedic Publication, both delivered congratulations.
Sri M.N. Vasavan praised VMFT’s accomplishments, saying, “VMFT is fulfilling the vision of Vakkom Moulavi by upholding secularist values and pioneering programs.”
VMFT is planning a series of events around the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vakkom Moulavi and the Multilingual Booklet will be widely circulated. It is also organizing discussions around the media study report with journalism and college students.
“VMFT released the migrant study report along with the booklet on Vakkom Moulavi. It shows this Trust has a purpose in the existing period. It touches on the roots and history through the booklet and announces its significance in the current time through the study report. Migrating in order to find a job is very common these days, and Kerala has a large migrant population, so there is a need to address their issues. I hope this is such an initiative and I am happy about it,” said Muse Mary.
The welcome address was given by Dr. Kayakulam Yoonus, Secretary VMFT. In his speech, he lauded the efforts and sacrifices made by Vakkom Moulavi for challenging society. Er. A. Suhair, Chairperson of VMFT, introduced the publications. V. K. Damodaran, president of VMFT, presided over the function. Ms. Swathy Lakshmi, Research Assistant, delivered the vote of thanks.
Former Information and Communication Minister M. M Hassan inaugurated the ‘Swadeshabhimani Media Study Center’ under the auspices of the Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust in August 1, 2015. Kerala Kaumudi Editor M.S. Ravi presided over the meeting in which Santhosh Kumar (Director, Cultural Department), Mark Abraham (Malayala Manorama), E. Basheer (Media), P.S. Ramshad (Samakalika Malayalam), A Suhair and Dr. Kayamkulam Yoonus spoke to the participants.
Mr.Siddharth Varadharajan, former editor of The Hindu led the discussion with a perceptive talk on “Critical Issues in Indian Journalism – Which Road do We Take?” The four pillars of journalism- business model, editorial independence, professional standards and public support – have been greatly weakened in India. Even if the media is financially viable and upholds professional standards and editorial independence, without the trust of the public, it cannot fulfil its role. The reality is that the Indian public’s trust in journalism has decreased substantially over time. This weakening of the bond between the media and the public has created a very dangerous situation in a democratic society. He pointed out the effects of paid news and news favoring government which undermined editorial independence.
Swadeshabhimani Media Study Centre could serve as a platform by journalists to exchange opinion to discuss the standards of reporting and the new professional standards required by digital journalism.
The seminar was organized in recognition to the contributions of Smt. Haleema Beevi, one of the pioneering women journalists of Kerala in the first half of the 20th century. Her many contributions were highlighted by Dr. Kayamkulaum Yoonus in his welcome speech. Media Academy Chairman Shri. R. S. Babu in his inaugural speech, stated that it is necessary to create friendly and comfortable work environment for women journalists. Smt. Saraswathy Nagarajan, Sub-editor, Hindu pointed out the challenges faced by women journalists in daily life due to which women journalists are unable to achieve higher positions in their career. Smt. K. Beena, a known writer and journalist, also gave a clear picture about the challenges and prejudices in Kerala, due to which very few women journalists are assigned in newsrooms. Dr. O. G Sajitha, Director of Programs at the VMFT, highlighted the necessity of having more women journalists who could effectively address the issues related to women and more marginalized sections of the population, including tribal and coastal people.
Swadeshabhimani Media Study Centre organised a career guidance and workshop session in Animation, VFX and Video editing at MAAC Academy Thiruvananthapuram on April 6, 2019. Prof. S Sasikumar, Managing Director of MAAC Academy, Shri. Amruth and Shri. Savin, both faculty members conducted the sessions, which introduced various software and tools for animation to generate interest among the participants. The sessions also included live examples of augmented reality and virtual reality. Awareness was given on new technological advancements in the area and current and emerging areas.
The Media Academy organised Kerala Media History Journey with a slogan of “regaining media ethics and values” from February 21 to March 1, 2019. Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust arranged a reception for the Kerala Media History Yathra at Vakkom, the birthplace of Vakkom Mohammed Abdul Khader Moulavi on February 22, 2019 at the local Government Higher Secondary School. Chairman of Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Er. A. Suhair honoured Shri. R. S. Babu, Media Academy Chairman and Dr. Sebastian Paul, MP by presenting a memento of the Swadheshabhimani newspaper. Mrs. Sheeja, Principal of the school, Shri. K. Manoj, Director Trivandrum Press Club Institute were also part of the programme. The team of media experts and journalism students who accompanied the Media History Yathra visited Vakkom Moulavi’s home as a tribute to the legend on the day.
The Swadeshabhimani Media Study Centre organised a workshop for the journalism students on Photography, Digital Journalism and Documentary on February, 10 2018. The trainers were Mr. B. Jayachandran, Chief Photo Editor of Malayala Manorama, Mahesh Harilal, Former Photographer of Malayala Manorama, Manu E Mohan, Post Graduate from National Institute of Design. In addition to the members of Swadeshabhimani Media Study Center Young Journalists Club, journalism students and teachers from Christ Nagar College, Thiruvananthapuram, St. Xavier’s College Thumba and Mar Ivanios College participated in the workshop.Digital journalism was covered by Mahesh Harilal, covering rules about photographic compositions as well as features of the DSLR camera and various rules about photographic composition.
Manu E Mohan highlighted the importance of a good photograph in digital journalism and its ability to touch the mind of the reader.B Jayachandran, Chief Photo Editor of Malayala Manorama handled an interactive session, explaining with examples of photos he took during various important events. Emphasizing the need for preparation before taking a photo, he explained about focus, photography sharpness tips, and how to use the LCD preview. The preparation is both mental and about using the instrument. One has to click on when the right moment comes. We need photographers and photo editors who can visualize the coming moments ahead.
As the world changes, so does the media, but there is no active discussion in Kerala about the rapid change in the media industry. A one-day media study session was held on 18 March, 2017 under the auspices of the Swadeshabhimani Media Study Center and Independent Media Initiative, an independent media group.
Dhanya Rajendran, chief editor of the online news portal News minute.com presented the topic “Opportunities and Challenges in Digital Media”. She pointed out that anyone can become a journalist, but if news is reported without identifying sources and analyzing facts, there is a great danger to society. False news is rapidly spreading in the society, as smartphone users are becoming freelance journalists. Devadas Rajaram, Assistant professor of Asian College of Journalism talked on the subject “The Uncharted Media World.”
Participants in the discussions included : Rajiv Devaraj, New 18 Editor; Abi Tharakan, Editor of Asianet Online News; Asha Jomis, technology journalist; Anupama Mohan, social media activist and Sabin Iqbal of Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust. .