By Cecilia Ologunagba
New Delhi – Mr Kumar Suresh, Director General, Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), says no fewer than 1,600 mid-career journalists from 128 developing countries have benefited from its Development Journalism (DJ) course since 1969.
Suresh disclosed this on Sunday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent attending the 70th session of the DJ course in New Delhi.
He said IIMC, established in 1965, had a global foot print of upgrading the skills of journalists from developing countries since 1969 to report economic and development issues.
“We do not select participants based on country, we select based on the number of applications we receive and they are countries which are very prompt in applying.
“Those are the countries with large numbers of candidates; what we do is that we find out those that are qualified and we select them, those countries are also prompt in spreading the information about the course,’’ he said.
According to Suresh, the Indian Government has been offering scholarships for students and officials not only in Development Journalism, but also in other courses.
“The scholarship is organised under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme and Special Commonwealth African Assistant Programme (SCAAP) programmes of Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
“IIMC is one of the centres for ITEC programme, offering Mass Communication and India is one of the countries with independent media in the world.
“They cannot forget IIMC; it changes their entire perspective,’’ he said.
He said that the Institute was on the verge of becoming a National University of Mass Communication adding that the 70th batch participants would acquire professional skills that would equip them to discharge their duties in a better way.
Suresh also said that India had a lot of things in common with countries like Nigeria as their challenges and developmental issues were almost the same.
“We both had colonial past, we share that bound of the liberation struggles, we are developing countries and we also face similar challenges.
“We share some common family values and Nigerians feel at home in India; it is like their second home.
“I believe this is a great learning experience for the participants; it is a very important learning and the kind of feedback I get from my students is so positive,’’ the director-general said.
NAN reports that DJ course holds twice every year, each for a duration of 17 weeks – from August to November and from January to April.
No fewer than 24 journalists from 16 developing countries are currently attending the August to November session.