The SIGNIS India Annual Seminar began today at Chennai’s Don Bosco College of Arts and Science. The first talk, contending with the theme of the year ‘Communicating Hope and Trust in Our Times’, was on the present-day media and Hope and Trust Stories. The discussion began at 2:30 pm after the audience was conveniently acquainted to the conference, and its theme, and to the general atmosphere of Chennai.

The  panel discussion was studded with media experts on ‘Today’s Media and Hope and Trust Stories’. The panel discussion consisted of three experts. One of them was Prof. Bernard D’Samy. Prof. D’Samy is the Director of LISSTAR (Loyola Institute of  Social Science Training and Research), Chennai. He talked about conflict and the emergence of resistance as part of every society. Every institution, even the Church, has to face resistance. That it goes uncontrolled, is a problem the media has to solve. But Prof. D’Samy has a solution to this resistance in relation to hope and trust stories in media. ‘Proper guidance and taking care of those ideas from the grass roots can give trust and hope people,’ he pointed out. The second speaker was Dr. Arul Aram, former Chief Sub-editor of The Hindu and an associate professor at Anna University. Dr. Aram talked about the problem of language of conveyance. He said, “The language of common people in trains and buses are universal languages and those have clarity. At the same time, the languages of media are confusing.” The final panelist was Dr. Gnani, a writer and a scholar. He talked about the fabricated reality media serves in a media saturated era. He linked it to the problem of power concentration, or something we call ‘ownership’. The power of mass media is a tool used by a privileged few who can manipulate or distort news according to their will. He firmly believed that decentralization will be beneficial to the society, for ‘in today’s world the education system is forcing everyone to by-heart answers. It doesn’t give the opportunity to search for reality.’

The panel discussion was a very satisfying and informative experience to the audience. The very presence of the speakers were enough to inform the audience of their knowledge on the topic. The three distinct provided for a critical analysis of the concept of Hope and Trust stories in media.