Today’s hyper technological environment is characterized by media convergence, the deepening of globalization, the rise of hate speech across different platforms and the advent of post-truth era. These necessitate new innovative approaches to the discipline of media and communication studies. While the communication revolution has made great strides in how we connect with the world and its impact in the society, groups and individuals have found different ways of misusing it.
An important challenge for communicators and media professionals globally is how to counter the attempts to divide humanity on the basis of race and identity, spread intolerance and xenophobia. Senior Gandhian Natwar Thakkar on what should be the nature of media and communication education notes, “The communication education to my mind should integrate the values of pluralism, mutual respect and inclusivity. It should not be a vehicle to sensationalize or incite passion but a lesson to practice self-restraint and principles of nonviolence in all aspects.”
However, if we critically look at the discipline of media and communication studies, we will find how violence and conflicts seem to take precedence in the discussion and theorization of communication. On the other hand, nonviolence and peacebuilding seem to have less space in the study of media and communication. In this context, it would be prudent to explore on how nonviolence and peace can get equal space along with dimensions of violence and conflicts in the overall research, theories and pedagogies in media and communication studies.
So, as media and communication studies needs to change with the changing contemporary society, it would be critical to analyze and explore on how nonviolent communication should find space in the discipline. Nonviolent communication is a holistic communication approach which underscores the significance of human interconnectedness. It encompasses our intrapersonal communication, communication with others, communication in the society at large, communication with nature and communication with other living beings.
Using the strategies and elements of nonviolent communication, we can contribute towards a communication ecosystem that is peaceful and contributes to our happiness and well-being. It encompasses not just our own internal communication but has a wide canvas involving the communication ecosystem in our societies.
There is critical need of integrating nonviolent communication not just as a stand-alone paper in the discipline of media and communication studies but in different disciplines like advertising, public relations, communication for development, news reporting and documentary making. In this backdrop, Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS), New Delhi and the Media Studies and Journalism Department of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) are organizing an international E-Conference on ‘Integrating Nonviolent Communication in Media and Communication Studies’.