Media summit discusses technology, youth
ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, the All Pakistan Newspaper Society inaugurated a two-day South Asia Media Summit.
Media executives from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka spoke about how the industry must change in response to rapid developments in both technology and media culture.
Each session of the conference, held on the occasion of APNS’s 60th anniversary, was named after a different James Bond film.
According to Sarmad Ali, President of APNS, the media is like Ian Fleming’s famous spy, using new tools to counter new challenges as they emerge.
“Like Bond, the media has to remain up-to-date and vibrant,” he said.
Subhash Chandra, the chairman of the Essel Group and Zee network, was the keynote speaker on the occasion.
He spoke about some of the ways in which younger readers and new media are changing the industry.
Regarding social media, he said, “There is a chain of learning there that connects multiple media. Readers see something on handheld devices first, then learn about it from electronic and print media. Then they discuss it on social forums.”
Mr Chandra said that in the future, media organizations will not be able to work in only one medium. Newsrooms will have to find ways to develop single stories for print, online and handheld media.
“There is a continuous learning process in our industry,” he said, “and feedback from and interactions with our readers help us develop.”
Defining “speed and accuracy” as vital components of an organization’s success in the new media environment, he used the example of readers rejecting newspapers, blogs and websites in which they catch repeated mistakes or inaccuracies.
Ali Hassan, General Manager of Dawn, agreed that credible information was vital, and suggested that social media both helped and hindered this quest.
Champika Liyanaarachchi, editor of Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror, spoke with other executives about reaching younger audiences.
Her paper, she said, was “for the youth”, and its one year of continuous growth “shows that young people still want to read. We need to give them the right material.”
At an earlier panel – “You Only Live Twice” – executives from Interflow, Orient McCann, APNS and the Times of India discussed the relationship between advertising and editorial content.
Ravi Dhariwal, CEO of the Times of India, said: “News is for the readers – we cannot compromise on that.”
The policy of his newspaper, he said, is not to protect their advertisers from negative coverage.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf was the conference’s chief guest on Wednesday. He thanked APNS for promoting contact among South Asian countries, and said that the “completely free” media of Pakistan has contributed to strengthening democracy.
“I would like to assure this distinguished gathering that the current democratic government will continue to protect the freedom of the media, and will facilitate it in every way possible,” he said.