Science and the Media Seminar at INSA
The one-day seminar on Science and the Media was held at INSA, New Delhi, on 5 August, 2002. The seminar had four sessions with over 14 invited speakers and about 70 participants. Several issues were discussed, based on which the following action points emerged. It is our wish that INSA, in association with other science academies, take up these points and promote and support them.
1. The dialogue between practicing scientists and practicing journalists must increase. To this end, short term internships for journalists in scientific laboratories and university departments would be of great use so that they will learn to appreciate the activities, understand them in greater measure and will be able to cover science in the media better. Likewise, it was wondered whether the reverse is also possible, namely whether scientists can spend a week or two in publishing or newspapers houses.
2. A list of scientists be made ready and available by INSA to journalists, so that whenever a news story breaks, these scientists can be contacted for checking the veracity and importance of the story.
3. Concern was expressed about the facts that a successful science program on TV, such as Turning Point, is no longer transmitted largely because of commercial reasons. Thus the suggestion was made that INSA, in association with various other Government Departments such as DST, DBT, DOD, CSIR, ISRO, DAE etc., could put together an annual grant of approximately Rs.5crores and reintroduce science programs on a weekly basis on commercial television. (The approximate cost of production of a 30-minute program in science is estimated to be any where between Rs.6 to 8 lakhs). This money can be shared by a variety of agencies so that each one does not feel the pinch the same way. The program could be sponsored by INSA, or by the group of science academies in India. It was noted that it was one such seminar or meeting in Bangalore that led to the launching of the science education journal "Resonance" by the Indian Academy of Sciences.
4. INSA may wish to consider popular science lectures in schools and colleges across the country by creating a small action group. The model suggested by some people was that of SPICMACAY- society for the promotion of Indian classical music and culture among youth. Spicmacay is a non-profit voluntary organization, largely using students, which has gone on now for thirty years bringing the best of music, arts and dance to various cities across the country, free of charge, thus enthusing and interesting youth in arts and music. Such an effort for science, by INSA, would help promote interest and careers in science among youth.
For more information, contact Mrs. Usha Mujoo-Munshi, firstname.lastname@example.org