Journalists and social activists in the Taj city celebrated Hicky's Day paying tributes to the fighter-journalist James Augustus Hicky who launched India's first newspaper, the Bengal Gazette, on January 29, 1780.Recalling the contribution of Hicky, the founder of journalism in India, speakers at a seminar on late Sunday evening said, the media's direction and policy frame were set by him as reflected in his 'anti-establishment writings'.The theme of the seminar was "Social Media emerging as a challenge to conventional media?"Speakers noted that social media had "democratised the once monopoly controlled Indian media".The audience now could hit back, react, produce, distribute and influence public opinion directly through available digital platforms which were affordable, accessible and effective, media activists said.
Hemant Anand, director of the popular afternoon daily DLA, said, "the social media was still evolving and projecting its distinct identity, but rather than being a threat or a rival, the mainstream media was being supplemented or complemented by it."Digital interactivity is the chief hallmark of the social media propped up by the technology of convergence, social media activist Ajay Tomar said.With bandwidth restrictions now liberalised, the reach and access had widened. "Capitalist control over the mainstream media did not matter any longer," Prof N.K. Ghosh observed.