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An Opportunity for Dalit students to get into Asian College of Journalism (ACJ)

by mudasser — last modified 2010-04-09 14:44

An email sent to Mr. Paul Divakar by Mr. Chittibabu Padavala,The Hindu national desk, Chennai seeking support from NCDHR to identify and promote Dalit students who are intrested in Media and Journalism.

An Opportunity for Dalit students to get into Asian College of Journalism (ACJ)


Respected Mr. Paul Divakar

I request you to kindly support our campaign to get more Dalits into Journalism. Asian College of Journalism (ACJ) is a premier journalism college in India and its 9-month intense journalism training is respected in Media industry as well as universities abroad as a qualification for higher studies. They also have a fledgling media research and alternative media components.

I am a Dalit and studied in ACJ and now work in The Hindu national desk, Chennai. I am asked by Mr. Ram (Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu) and Mr. Sashikumar, both founders of the ACJ and trusties of Media Development Foundation that runs the college, to help them in finding more Dalit candidates to study at ACJ.
 
From my experience I can assure you that most of the faculty at ACJ are not only non-discriminatory but also have a tendency to go out of their way to help and support Dalit students. This has been the experience of all the Dalit students who studied at ACJ. Now, the college authorities decided to remove, for Dalits alone, even the application fee, making entire study at ACJ completely free (already the expenses for attending interview are reimbursed, other fees waived and a very moderate and insufficient monthly stipend of 4, 000 per month is provided).
 
I am writing this letter with the authorisation from the college, though their endorsement is advanced and not responsible for the specific things I write here. 'We' here mean a group of Dalit journalists working in the mainstrem media on regular basis.

Priyadarshini( Real Estate Channel but soon to be in The Hindu), Sudipto Mondal( The Hindu, Mangalore), Chittibabu Padavala( The Hindu, Chennai), Nageswara Rao Thamanam( Sunday Andhra Jyothy), Karthikeyan Damodaran (The Hindu, Mangalore). Various Media studies scholars including ( Bala Subramanyam of Madurai Kamaraj University) and many others are part of this campaign. There are also a huge number of non-dalit media practitioners and activists in this campaign. I am keeping this list very short but participants are much more in numbers.

Our commitment is to see more professionals in media organizations and media research and alternative media from Dalit community. It is part of much wider and deeper concern with the media's positive, at least indispensable, role in maintaining informed and sensitive representation of dalits in media. 

  
My specific set of requests to you is the following:

 
1. Please identify and encourage eligible candidates (graduates (pass) with the basic English reading/writing skills expected of a graduate) and support them to apply for studying at ACJ. This diploma from ACJ is one reliable and respectable route for a Dalit to enter into Mainstream English media in this country. 
 
2. Kindly display the information about ACJ Dalit scholarship information on the websites your organizations keep.
 
3. Help us by sending personnel and volunteers from your organizations when we hold orientation classes, counseling, coaching for prospective candidates in the areas you work.
 
4. We are also planning to conduct pre-exam, pre-course commencement coaching at ACJ. The college already accepted to provide college space for conducting such programs for the benefit of Dalit students. If you can help this, through financial help to get students, teachers, resource persons and by giving your own precious time- as leading activists of the country - to tell the candidates and the journalists what you expect from journalists and dalit journalists and what has been your experience with the media in your decades-long social activism and what further help you offer and what help you demand from us.

I am requesting you to frankly and seriously respond to this request from this very small community of dalit journalists in English mainstream media.
 
Looking forward to your constructive and helpful response,
 
Chittibabu Padavala
 

For all the details  please contact Chittibabu Padavala at

 
afchittibabu@gmail.com


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