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Current State: Published
Rethinking Media Laws

Certificate Course in Cultural Studies. The aim of this course is to think through the concepts of media and regulation, the different registers of media, the various objects of media that are regulated and the notions of authorship, text, textuality and interpretation that play an important role in regulating media. Regulation is a process. Various actors are involved in the process of regulation. One such actor is the state and the governments. Through this course, we will examine the role of the state and government in regulating the media. Between the two elements of media and regulation, we will introduce the space of the city as a site where media is regulated. We experience regulation everyday in the cities through prohibition on accessing pornography in cyber cafes, raids on street hawkers selling pirated movies and software, etc. The course will be conducted over 15 sessions and will include film screenings, a field trip and regular classes. Classes will be held every Saturday from 2-5 PM and one other day in the week at a mutually convenient day and time. Course materials will be put online. There will be some compulsory readings for each class and some recommended readings that students can read at their own pace and time. Students are expected to submit two assignments as part of the course for which they will be evaluated. Certificates will be awarded to the students at the end of the course. The course begins on Saturday, August 4 2007 from 2-5 PM at Christ College and will end by 29th September 2007.

Course Sessions

Module I: Introduction – Media and associated concepts
2 sessions
Instructor – Zainab Bawa
Key concepts and questions for the sessions:
• What is media? – media as transmission and media as site of production
• Different registers of media
• What lies between media and regulations? – media and mediation
• Concepts of authorship and reception of media
• Thinking through the concepts of text and textuality
• Thinking through the concept of speech acts
• Question of site – what does site for production of media mean? Is the site physical or ephemeral?
Readings for the Module:
1) Noam Chomsky – excerpts to be suggested
2) D. H. Lawrence - Lady Chatterley’s Lover
3) A newspaper report (to be suggested) on a recent film ban

Module II: Why regulate the media?
3 sessions
Instructor – Zainab Bawa

Screening of the film ‘Elephant’ (2003) by Gus Van Sant

Key concepts and questions for the sessions:
• Regulation and Censorship as control of behaviour, especially sexual and moral behaviour
• Colonial history of regulation in India
• Why does the state control media?
• Concepts of Content and Form of media
• Forms of censorship – religious, social, moral, etc.
• Globalization, liberalization and regulation of media
• Between 1993 and 1997 – introduction of cable television and a period of several cases of censorship
• What is being initiated through censorship?
Readings for the module
1) Edward Said – excerpts from culture and imperialism

Module III: Objects of Regulation - Pornography
2 sessions
Instructor – Nishant Shah, Ph.D. Student, Center for the Study of Culture and Society
Key concepts and questions for the sessions:
• What makes an object ‘pronographic’?
• Registers of pornography
• Aesthetics of pornography
• Sites of pornography in the city – the cyber café, prostitution, etc.
• Introducing the site of the city where pornography is regulated
• The triangle – city, regulation and pornography
Readings for the module: To be recommended

Module IV: City and Media
2 sessions
Instructor – Zainab Bawa
Key concepts and questions for the sessions:
• Drawing the connection between city and media
• The notions of Fantasy and Real – drawing the connection between city and media
• City as a site where media is controlled and contained
• City as produced in the media – concept of ‘the city in crisis’
• Affect and the City
• The age of the Malls and multiplexes in the City – what happens to media and regulations?
• Flash mobs
Readings for the Module: To be recommended

Module V: Crisis in Media – the cable TV networks and piracy
2 Sessions
Instructor – Zainab Bawa
Key concepts and questions for the sessions:
• Why regulate cable television? – watching the interplay between city, economy and local politics through Cable wars fought in Mumbai
• Laws governing cable television – role of government in regulation
• The triad – city, government and regulation
• What is copyright?
• Context of Copyright – United States and the rest of the world
• What is piracy?
• Is copying good or bad?
• The City and Copyright – regulating street economies and hawkers selling pirated materials

Activity: What is the one location in the city that come to your mind when I say media? Can you create an advertisement/short film/a write-up for Lonely Planet on any one location in the city which comes to your mind when I say media? How would you introduce that location to the rest of the class?

Readings for the module: To be recommended

Module VI: The City in Crisis – Mumbai train blasts and the ban on blogspot
1 Session
Instructor – Zainab Bawa
Key concepts and questions for the session:
• What is Crisis?
• Crisis and Regulation
• Introducing blog as media
• Context of blogspot ban
• Government and regulation – concept of legitimacy of government
Readings for the module: To be recommended

Module VII: Bangalore – the making of the IT City
1 session
Instructor: Nishant Shah
Readings for the module: To be recommended

Film screening: Good Copy Bad Copy - consolidating the learning from modules V, VI and VII

Module VIII: New digital technologies
1 session
Instructor: Namita Malhotra, media practitioner and lawyer at the Alternate Law Forum (ALF)
Key Concepts and questions for the session:
• What is digital technology?
• Digital technology as media form
• Digital technology – copy, cut, paste, edit – introducing the idea of creative commons
• Screening: ‘Kaun mile kisko’ created by Namita Malhotra
• Technologies for new digital technology – how these are produced and circulated in the city
• Technology, media and regulation – introducing the relationship
Readings for the session: To be recommended

What is media?
The first two sessions of the course will deal with understanding what is media and concepts related to the media such as text, textuality, authorship, etc.

What is/are regulations?

Objects of regulation

The City as a Site for Media Regulations

Cable Television and Piracy

Internet Censorship and Cyberterrorism

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