Taylor's School of Media and Communication (SOMAC) organized a student workshop on media and democracy in conjunction with Journofest on May 31, 2023. Emeritus Prof. Dr. Francis Arakal Thummy from Amity University, Gurgaon, India was invited to discuss the democratic landscape in India and Malaysia. The objectives of the 'Media and Democracy' Workshop revolved around fostering a comprehensive understanding of global democratic trends and the role of the media within these frameworks. The first aim was to critically analyze the condition of democracies worldwide, with a specific comparative focus on the systems of India and Malaysia. This comparison also included investigating the views of Malaysian citizens on their democratic system.
Another major objective was to delve into the role and impact of media owners on democratic processes, as they can significantly influence the course of democratic discourse. This led to the further goal of examining the state of journalistic freedom in Malaysia, thereby evaluating its media landscape as a watchdog or a lapdog. Collectively, these objectives aimed to provide a nuanced understanding of the intertwined relationship between media and democracy. 30 SOMAC students attended the workshop and acquired great insight into the current state of democracies worldwide, which focused on the democratic systems of India and Malaysia. They analyzed these systems and compared them, which enabled them to develop insights into the strengths and weaknesses of different democratic frameworks.
In addition, the students delved into the influence of media owners on democratic discourse by examining how media ownership can impact the course of democratic processes and the representation of various perspectives. The students gained insights into the potential biases and agendas that can shape media content and influence public opinion. The concept of journalistic freedom in Malaysia was also explored and discussed, promoting transparency, accountability and democratic values.