Today’s dreams depend on tomorrow’s media

[Originally published on the Global Media Forum website, under the Youth Newsroom section in August of 2014]

Media’s role in driving development stressed at Bali Global Media Forum opening

With a strike of the Balinese gong, Indonesia’s Minister of Communication and Information Technologies Titaful Sembiring officially opened this morning’s Global Media Forum — a traditional opening for a three-day discussion on the role that the fast-changing media landscape will play in our collective future.

The forum aims to contribute to the ongoing international debate about the importance of media and information and communication technologies for peace and sustainable development. With its overarching theme of “The Role of Media in Realizing the Future We Want For All”, the forum will focus on the many ways media benefits development with the ultimate aim of including media as a standalone component of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Hubert Gijzen, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Jakarta Office, spoke of the widening gulf between societies that are resource-rich and those struggling with shortages. “The world we are living in today is alarmingly out of balance. This relates to the severe imbalance between people and planet Earth, as reflected in the concept of sustainable development. Equally worrisome is the serious imbalance among people.”

The media is crucial to meeting these challenges, said Mr Gijzen, as a lynchpin for intercultural dialogue, protection and promotion of human rights as well as upholding the values of sustainable development. However, he said that this viewpoint was not shared by all and when it comes to setting priorities to guide global development over the next 15 years, media may be left out unless those that recognize its value are vocal.

“It is not a given that full recognition of the media’s relevance will be captured in the final post-2015 Development Agenda. Therefore this forum will continue the discussions that started during the World Press Freedom Day Conference organized by UNESCO in Paris in May 2014.”

Arief Rachman, Executive Chairman of the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, put in perspective the role that media has played as a catalyst for unity and harmony in his country. “There are more than 17000 Islands in Indonesia, 783 languages and 5 major religions. We all still live peacefully. You know why? Media!”

Closing the ceremony, the Minister of Communication and Information Technologies spoke of the quintessential requirement of Indonesians to share information and knowledge, stating that “in Indonesia, we are drowning in information and therefore the people need to be made literate and empowered to access information so they can lead lives with sense of adequacy and decency.”

The country recently went to the polls to elect its new president in an emotionally charged election. “Indonesia, like the UN, now has a post transitional development agenda to complete. We are grateful that in our country, our media and the voice of the people have never been marginalized,” he said. “In fact, the media and the people now are in the driver’s seats of nation building.”

The contribution described by the Minister is one that the media can make in societies in which they are allowed to operate unhindered; and if the goal of this forum is realized, this could become a norm.

Written by – Rehmatullah Sheikh


The Folly of Exam Scores

As the CBSE 12th grade results were announced today, something I wrote a year ago comes into relevance. #CBSEResults

Beneath The Froth

Source - Created by Polish artist – Pawel Kuczynski

“I started studying from the beginning of the year; I revised daily, attended extra classes and even went to coaching institutes in order to excel in my examinations. I am very happy with the outcome, all my hard work paid off,” – says the UAE topper in the CBSE board exams to a newspaper.

The results of the 12th Board examinations (CBSE) were announced on 29th May, 2014 and to the amusement of many, these were some of the best scores in the recent years. The student quoted above scored a staggering 98.2%. The toil of the thousands of students had finally come down to a number, that, though expresses in absolute the achievement of the individual,  will always be inevitably held relative to the performance of his or her immediate peers and the school at large. The final reports on the performance of students…

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This is absolutely spellbinding.


This is an extraordinary night sky video made by the US photographer Thomas O’Brien out of half a million images he took over a period of seven years and stitched together using the LRTimelapse software. It is hypnotic, haunting and strikingly beautiful. And do check out Thomas O’Brien’s website, his time-lapse films and his Flickr account.

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Inaugural Blog Day ends, and I’m off the mark

Inaugural day of my blog comes to an end. Meant for an assignment but planning to take it up seriously, was long overdue anyway. Just realised how complicated wordpress looks like. Which further makes me realise how much time I’ve wasted on things that I could have instead invested in understanding this portal and authored more posts.

Better late than never, though.

Hello, WordPress. Looking forward to many encounters with the hot coffee beneath the cool froth.