“Communication during the pandemic is going to be more digital, creative and exciting”, said, Devendra Tak, the National Manager and Communication Head of Save the Children.
Save the Children
Save the Children works across 20 states of India and in 120 countries, on issues related to education, health, protection and humanitarian/ disaster risk reduction needs of children, especially for those who are the most deprived and marginalized.
“40 per cent of the Indian population are children and people should think not only about their future but also about their present. Save the Children is a 100-year-old organization. It started in 1919. This organization is working for underprivileged children by ensuring their rights on health, education, protection etc.”, sad Tak.
In India, this organization is working with many governmental and non-governmental organisations. “We need to work with children as well as their teachers and parents. It should be always two-way communication and children are also going to be part of these change”, said Devendra.
Devendra also added some names of children from the organization, who overcame odds of lives. Tak added, “Sumit is a child from this organization, who made a rap song to increase social awareness in his community. There are other children also, who also work to build up awareness for menstrual hygiene, human trafficking, Covid-19 hygiene etc.”
His Journey, His Book We are the Champions
Devendra Tak started his career as a print journalist and worked with The Independent, Business India and The Indian Express Online. He is also the author of the book We Are the Champions along with Rashmi Bansal. This book recounts the struggle of 15 unprivileged and marginalized children, who not only struggle against multiple circumstances but also help other children to improve their lives. This book is now in the 59th position in the bestseller list in Amazon and Kindle and also rated as one of the top 20 books on civil rights in 2020 globally. Tak also worked on communication as a media manager for CIVICUS and as communication and development consultant at UNICEF. He was awarded the REX Global Fellowship in 2012.
Mode of Communication
Tak also presented a PowerPoint presentation, where he emphasized on communications and the modes of communication. According to him, there is not just pandemic but infodemic as well. He said, “Nowadays, media has become very business-oriented. It has become a money-making machine. There are very few media houses which are still able to cover the purposeful and meaningful stories and not driven by only the interest of money. It is a challenging time for media to highlight child rights in media”.
Through the presentation, he showed some statistical data that convey that Indian media is the most untrusted media. He also specified some thumb rules for the media during the pandemic. According to him, too much information is not a solution. Two-way communication needs to be there.
The Challenges of Digital Media
“The older generation is more dependent on broadcast media and print media and for them using digital media is a bit of a challenge,” Tak opined while talking about internet accessibility. He further added, “Marginalized people are affected by the lack of information mostly because they lack internet access and other media tools. Through digital media, we can reach out to most numbers instantly but there are communities, which are inaccessible too.”
Tak also said, “Communication must be very simple and short. The platforms and modes of communication might change with time but the messaging should be the same as before. We should understand the use of emerging communication platforms and tools very effectively”. He also added that communication should be sensible.
Lastly, he said, “Just doing a story is not the primary task for a journalist. Journalism helps the community to grow and help the country to become strong. Somewhere down the line, we lost the track of that vision and it is the time to come back to reality and be responsible and be change-makers as journalists.”
Tak also spoke about the strategies print and digital media should follow in the post-Covid-19 situation, saying, “Media today has become very business-minded, it’s all about money. There are very few media houses, which are still able to cover purposeful and meaningful stories and not be driven by only the interest of money. So, it’s a challenging time to highlight child rights in the media and build communication tools.”
Speaking about whether the psychology of the audience will change in the post-Covid-19 scenario, he said, “Psychology of the audience has already changed after Covid-19 came. People are more conscious and hygienic. People even started to greet each other in the Indian way. Social norms and regulation have also changed and people started understanding the meaning of codependency.”
The author, Titas Biswas is associated with Adamas University Media School.