AMCAP | Association of Media & Communication Professionals - Lahore

AMCAP Conference 2023



 February 08-09, 2023

 University of the Punjab, Pakistan


The relationship between journalism and society is symbiotic; both are influenced by each other. With the gradual developments, the relationship has become more inalienable, dynamic, and complex. In postmodern societies, structures, functions, methods, and processes of journalism appear myriad therefore, the term journalism(s) (referring to different journalism(s) like tribal journalism, sports journalism, peace journalism, philanthropic journalism, citizen journalism, climate journalism, etc.) seems to be more inclusive and encompassing. The concept of society as a collection of individuals united by certain relations assumes the role of journalism as an institution for consensus and solidarity in society leading to the common good. The ideas of consensus and solidarity are also envisioned by Mary Parker Follett and endorsed by Allama Mohammad Iqbal. Follett maintains that for the proper functioning of a democratic state, the will of the particular society - in this case, the media as an institution – must always be subordinate to the will of the greater society, ‘collective will’ (in Iqbal’s words ‘collective ego’), as it always works for the common good. Group processes and dynamics lead to ‘collective ideas’ and ‘collective feelings’ resultantly shaping and contributing to ‘collective will’ and solidarity.  Digital media technologies as public platforms enabling groups to come up with ‘collective ideas’ and ‘collective feelings’ are constantly redefining the nature and function of media/journalism(s) in societies.

This technological development poses many questions and offers many points to ponder upon the relationship of journalism(s) and society, starting from basic to complex ones; how to learn the dynamics of creating ‘common will’ in virtual/physical groups; social (media) movements for solidarity and civil society; challenges of digital media, mechanical/organic solidarity and unity of the social process; roles and responsibilities of journalism(s )in the increasingly polarized society; trends of media mergers and concentration of ownership; the question of the survival of legacy and small-scale media in the wake of digital media technologies. These aspects invite us to revisit the relationship between journalism(s) and society in the digital age.

Journalism is supposed to play a role in keeping an informed discourse on matters of public importance, but it has lost its credibility, through propaganda, mis/disinformation disguised as news.  The political and economic interests of the media owners have made the media tools of political advocacy, which has given rise to more fragmented and divided societies. The voices of the marginalized sections and issues are subdued due to media conglomerates' support of existing structures perpetuating the voices of the privileged. At the same time, it has challenged the privileged role of the media as gatekeepers of news and entertainment. The active audience selective behaviors have forced the content creators to look and relook into the contents and delivery of the contents. Digital platforms also have an edge due to both professional efficiency and cost-effectiveness through constant innovations. Conventional print and electronic media are losing audiences to digital platforms. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in content and audience handling in a targeted manner is posing a threat to mass communication models of the conventional media.

Likewise, the next frontier in journalism is data visualization with many advanced technologies, a far more advanced way of storytelling than conventional text and video formats used by traditional media. Due to the increase in audiovisual content and growing AI conversions, even the illiterate segment can handle digital media well. Revenue sources of advertisement and subscription have shifted to the digital environment. Unlike the traditional media's role in creating only awareness, digital media is in the serious business of targeted engagement and sales. The crunch of the economic fall is witnessed in the downsizing of the media industry, making journalists more insecure in their jobs.

The challenges to both traditional electronic and print media along with new digital news business models require new thinking while taking into account the injustices, intolerances, and divisions in a society where individuals have highly limited attention spans in extremely fluid cyberspace. In these highly uncertain and fragile media environments, we can either anticipate the future of media or create it. This is our choice.

The conference proposes that these challenges need to be directed toward how we want our future to be. This is only possible when we are working on the challenges holistically, revisiting the traditional concepts to envision bright futures. We have to equip ourselves to meet the challenges of the rapid technological and economic changes along with an ethical lens into our choices and actions. What the conference proposed was to build social consensus, by giving a fair chance to every voice to be heard (equality), integrating different voices, providing warring group mechanisms for mediation (solidarity), and without making anyone lose their own voice (freedom). To create ideas reflecting common will, and common good for common goals, the academia, and media practitioners along with the policymakers sat together and work in harmony to build consensus.

AMCAP-PU International media conference 2023 titled, ‘Revisiting relationship between journalism(s) and society in the digital age for common good’ offered three plenary sessions to address the scenarios described above. The themes of the plenary sessions were as follows:

Plenary 1: Media for Solidarity

Plenary II: Survival of Journalists in the Digital Transition (A special session by Human Rights Chair)

Plenary III: Dealing with Ethical Dilemmas in Media/ Journalism


Besides three plenaries, there were four special sessions conducted:

Working Group: Learning from Pedagogies: Practices and Possibilities in Media Education

Audio-films Session: Worldview of Iqbal as Presented by Ibne Safi

Interactive Session with Professionals: Making Careers in Media

Post-Conference Consultancy Session: Beyond the Threshold: Leading Media Academics to Bright Futures

Two parallel sessions of Working Groups consisting of teaching faculty members of media departments from public and private sector universities across Pakistan shared their best teaching experiences and thoughts to strengthen media academics. Audio-films session of Ibne Safi, inspired by the worldview of Allam Iqbal, sought to make the world of Ibne Safi and his everlasting characters from the Imran Series and Jasoosi Duniya accessible to the citizens of the digital world.  In Interactive Session, gurus of media fields shared their insights and experiences to guide media students for their future pathways while Consultancy Session offers an opportunity to interact with foreign and local experts to discuss issues, challenges and prospects in media academics.


·         Association of Media & Communication Academic Professionals (AMCAP)

·         Department of Journalism Studies, University of the Punjab

·         Institute of Education and Research, University of the Punjab


Prominent Guests

Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman

Governor of Punjab

Prof. Dr. Niaz Ahmad Akhtar

Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Punjab

Prof. Dr. Shahid Munir

Chairperson of Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC)

Prof. Dr. Umaru Pate

School of Postgraduate Studies, Bayero University Kano, Nigeria


Prof. Dr. Nico Carpentier

Extraordinary Professor at Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic)

Prof. Dr. Francois Heinderyckx

Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)